Rhinos advance to final
Pokhara, December 24
Chitwan Rhinos advanced to the Namaste Pokhara Premier League final following their fifth consecutive victory here at the Pokhara Stadium today.
Rhinos defeated Kathmandu Golden Warriors by 60 runs to finish the league campaign as the lone unbeaten side and entered the final directly. Rhinos topped the table with perfect 10 points from five matches.
Butwal Blasters have made it to the playoffs with six points, while the Warriors will know their fate after Wednesday’s match between the Blasters and Biratnagar Titans. The Warriors are currently third with four points, while the Titans are fifth with two.
The Warriors will advance to playoffs if the Blasters win the match, while run rate will come into effect in case of Titans’ victory.
The second and third placed teams will face each other in the eliminator for a place in the final. Expert Dhangadhi Blues (four) and defending champions Pokhara Paltan (two) are already out of the playoffs race.
On Tuesday, the Rhinos posted 167-4 in their allotted 20 overs after being sent in, while the Warriors managed 107-9.
After losing Karan KC (one) with just two runs on the board, opener Rohan Mustafa and Babar Hayat added 119-run partnership for the second wicket to lay the foundation for big total.
Hayat top scored with a quick fire 70 off 47 balls hitting three boundaries and six sixes, while Mustafa remained unbeaten in 52-ball 58 that included six fours and a six. Aarif Sheikh and Sunny Patel contributed 15 runs each. Sheikh struck a six in his nine-ball knock, while Patel hit one each four and six. Sushan Bhari, Basant Regmi and Amar Singh Routela bagged one wicket each for the Warriors.
In reply, the Warriors were reduced to 18-3 inside four overs and they lost wickets at regular interval. Skipper Gyanendra Malla top scored for the side with 40 off 39 balls hitting three fours and two sixes, while Pawan Sarraf was the next best scoring 27 off 19 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six. Prithu Baskota, who scored 23-ball 18 hitting two fours, was the only other batsman to score in double figures.
Sunny Patel was the pick of the Rhinos bowlers taking 3-19, while Mustafa returned to claim 2-12 and that also earned him the man-of-the-match award. Karan KC, Bhuvan Karki, Ram Naresh Giri and skipper Paras Khadka grabbed one wicket each.