Paltan top PPL table, advance to final

Pokhara, November 3

Table-toppers Pokhara Paltan advanced to the final, while Chitwan Rhinos and Hulas Kathmandu Royals set the eliminator date after the league round matches of the Namaste Pokhara Premier League here today.

Four teams were tied on six points but the home team finished at the top of the standings on superior net run rate. Rhinos jumped two spots up to finish second and Royals came third. The two sides will clash on Sunday for a berth in Tuesday’s final.

Expert Dhangadhi Blues, who also earned six points, were eliminated along with Butwal Blasters (four) and Biratnagar Titans (two).

On Saturday, Paltan defeated Royals by four wickets to finish at the top of the table, while Rhinos beat Titans by four wickets to leapfrog Royals and Blues.

In the first match, Paltan skipper SharadVesawkar invited Royals to take the first strike and the home side dismissed the opponents for 103 runs in 19.1 overs. Paltan then raced to 104-6 with 25 balls to spare.

Royals skipper GyanendraMalla top scored for the team with 31 off 28 balls hitting three fours and a six, while opener Amit Shrestha was the second best scoring 17-ball 21 with the help

of three boundaries and a six. BasantRegmi struck a four and two sixes in his unbeaten 12-ball 19 that helped them reach the three-figure mark.

Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi was the pick of the Paltan bowlers with the figures of 3-18, while Mohammad Naveed, who removed opener Jaykrishan Kolsawal and Gaurav Tomar in the first two balls of the third over to put pressure on Royals, finished on 2-11. Rashaid Khan also claimed 2-17, whereas Bikram Bhusal pocketed one wicket.

In reply, man-of-the-match Mohammad Naveed struck five sixes in his 15-ball 36 to ease the run chase for Paltan, who were reduced to 69-5 at one stage. Ravi Inder Singh scored 22 off 24 balls, while openers Kushal Bhurtel (14) and Aasif Sheikh (16) also contributed in double figures. Young gun Rohit Kumar Paudel scored an unbeaten 15 off just seven balls hitting three boundaries.

Amar Singh Routels claimed three wickets but he went for 39 runs in his 17-ball spell, while Susan Bhari, Nandan Kumar Yadav and Pawan Sarraf claimed one wicket each.

In another match, Titans posted 145-5 in 20 overs before Rhinos reached 148-6 with three balls to spare. Sunny Patel was the hero for Rhinos after the Indian recruit took the team home with an unbeaten 51 off just 24 balls that included four each boundaries and sixes.

Chasing a modest target, Rhinos were reduced to 86-6 in 15 overs and needed another 59 runs from 30 balls. Man-of-the-match Patel combined with SonuTamang to seal the victory with the 62-run partnership for the unbroken seventh wicket. Tamang scored an unbeaten 11 off 10 balls hitting two fours. Aarif Sheikh scored an important 35 off 39 balls, while opener Anil Kumar Sah contributed 12-ball 13. Titans skipper Sandeep Lamichhane claimed 4-25 from four overs but he just could not save his team from fourth defeat in five matches.

Earlier, Titans openers Muhammad Zaid Alam and Sunil Dhamala made a flying start adding 87 runs in 3 overs. Alam top scored with 47-ball 51 hitting six boundaries and two sixes. Dhamala then combined with Pradeep Airee (11) to add 28 runs for the second wicket before Titans lost four wickets for 12 runs. Dhamala struck seven fours in his 45-ball 47.

Raju Pulami Magar (eight) and Pushpa Thapa (11) scored 18 runs in the final over to take the team to a fighting total. Both Magar and Thapa — who faced three and four balls respectively — struck a six each in their unbeaten innings. Raju Rijal also hit a six in his two-ball knock. Skipper Paras Khadka (2-29) and Smit Patel (2-27) shared four wickets between them, while Karan KC took one.