Chitwan Tigers registered their third straight victory to seal playoffs berth, while defending champions Lalitpur Patriots tasted win in the Bajaj Pulsar Everest Premier League here at the TU Stadium today.

Tigers hammered Pokhara Rhinos by nine wickets to become the first team in playoffs with six points from three matches. Batting first, the Rhinos posted 123-7 in their allotted 20 overs before the Tigers raced to 124-1 with 20 balls to spare.

Chasing an easy target, the Tigers lost opener Ishan Pandey for a duck with just two runs on the board before Mohammad Shahzad and Bhim Sarki took the team home without further loss adding 122 runs for the unbroken second wicket.

Player-of-the-match Shahzad remained unbeaten on 63 off 52 balls hitting seven fours and two sixes, while Sharki struck five boundaries and two sixes in his 42-ball 52 not out.

Earlier, the Rhinos needed an unbeaten half century from tailender Bibek Yadav to cross the three-figure mark. Yadav clobbered three each fours and sixes in his unbeaten 53 off 45 balls, while Asela Gunaratne contributed 25 and Richard Levi scored 20. Shahab Alam and Kamal Airee took two wickets each, while skipper Sompal Kami grabbed one.

In another match, defending champions Patriots defeated Biratnagar Warriors by 37 runs in a high-scoring encounter.

The Patriots posted 226-5 in 20 overs before restricting the Warriors to 189-8.

Opener Sandun Weerakkody top scored with a quick fire 73 off 43 balls that included 10 boundaries and three sixes, while Azmatullah Omarzai struck seven sixes in his unbeaten 58 off just 24 balls. Skipper Kushal Bhurtel, who shared a 77-run partnership with Weerakkody to lay the foundation for big total, scored 32 off 17 balls with the help of four boundaries and two sixes.

Yogendra Singh Karki contributed 18-ball 27 hitting a four and three sixes, while Narayan Joshi struck Ram Naresh Giri for three straight sixes in the last three balls of the innings on his way to scoring an unbeaten 18 off just four balls and Jaykishan Kolsawala scored 10-ball 13. The Patriots batsmen struck a total of 19 sixes and 15 fours. Karan KC took 2-43, while Sikandar Raza, Pratis GC and Dilshan Munaweera bagged one wicket each for the Warriors.

In reply, the Warriors put up a brave fight and top four batsmen got good starts also but the target was too much for them. Dilshan Munaweera top scored with 59 off 39 balls that included five fours and four sixes, while Aasif Sheikh struck six fours in his 30-ball 37.

Opener Chndrapaul Hemraj struck four boundaries and a six in his 13-ball 18 and Sikandar Raza scored 12-ball 24 hitting two each fours and sixes.

Player-of-the-match Azmatullah Omarzai was the pick of the Patriots bowlers taking 4-42, while Lalit Rajbanshi grabbed two wickets and Yogendra Singh Karki bagged one.

After the day's matches, the Tigers are at the top with six points, while Bhairahawa Gladiators are second on four.

Patriots moved to third with three points, ahead of the Rhinos on better run rate, while Kathmandu Kings XI are at the fifth position with two points from two matches. The Warriors are yet to open their accounts and they are on the verge of crashing out.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.