Paltan off to winning start

Pokhara, December 15

Defending champions Pokhara Paltan defeated Kathmandu Golden Warriors by nine wickets in the opening match of the Namaste Pokhara Premier League here today.

Batting first, the Warriors posted 115-8 in their allotted 20 overs before the home team raced to 119-1 with 35 balls to spare. Kushal Bhurtel and Ravi Inder Singh took the team home with 88-run partnership for the unbroken second wicket.

The Paltan made a mediocre start to their run chase with opener Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh (14) putting in 31 runs in 4.2 overs before the latter was trapped leg before the wicket by Sushan Bhari.

Bhurtel and Indian recruit Singh then hammered the Warriors bowlers all over the park scoring 88 runs in less than 10 overs. Bhurtel top scored with a quick fire 65 not out off 43 balls that included four boundaries and five sixes. Singh struck five fours and a six in his unbeaten 32-ball 38.

Earlier, Suboth Bhati top scored for the Warriors with 45 off just 29 balls with the help of four each boundaries and sixes, while Gaurav Tomar (13) and Sushan Bhari (10) were the only two other batsmen to contribute in double figures. Bhati rescued the team and helped the Warriors post respectable total after they were reduced to 45-5 in 9.2 overs.

Rashid Khan, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi and Kushal Malla took two wickets each for Paltan, while Prathamesh Dake and Sarabjit Ladda claimed one wicket apiece. Paltan’s batsman Bhurtel was named the man of the match and he earned Rs 10,000 from Nepal Telecom.

A total of six city-based franchise teams — Biratnagar Titans, Paltan, Butwal Blasters, Chitwan Rhinos, Warriors and Dhangadhi Blues — are taking part in the round robin tournament organised by Queens Event Management Pvt Ltd. Top team after the league will make it to the final, while next two sides will face each other in the eliminator for a place in the final.

The winners of the premier Twenty20 league will receive Rs 2.7 million, while the runners-up will get one million rupees. The best three players — man of the series, batsman and bowler — will get TVS motorcycles from Jagadamba Motors, while the most valuable player and emerging cricketer will be awarded with Rs 100,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.

Earlier, Gandaki Province Chief Minister Prithivi Subba Gurung, Member of Gandaki Province Assembly Deepak Koirala and National Sports Council Member Secretary Ramesh Kumar Silwal inaugurated the tournament.

On Monday, Biratnagar Titans will play against Dhangadhi Blues, while Butwal Blasters face Warriors.