Tigers taste victory, Rhinos crash out

Kathmandu, December 14

Chitwan Tigers registered their first victory, while Pokhara Rhinos faced fourth successive defeat to crash out of the TVS Everest Premier League here at the TU Stadium today.

Tigers defeated defending champions Biratnagar Warriors by five runs in a high-scoring match that produced 387 runs, while Rhinos slumped to a five-wicket loss at the hands of Kathmandu Kings XI. The Rhinos were the most unlucky team in the tournament as they faced three losses despite putting up 150-plus scores and one in super over.

Lalitpur Patriots and Bhairahawa Gladiators have already sealed berths in playoffs with six points each, while three teams — Warriors, Kings and Tigers — are in race for two remaining spots. Warriors and Kings have four points each with the latter having played one match less, while Tigers opened their accounts with two points in their fourth match to remain in contention.

In the day’s first match, Tigers posted 196-4 in their allotted 20 overs before restricting Warriors to 191-8. John Simpson top scored for Patriots with a whirlwind 77 off 44 balls with the help of six fours and five sixes. Dipendra Singh Airee struck three boundaries in his 22-ball 32, while Sandeep Sunar scored 30 off 22 balls hitting six fours.

George Scott clobbered three sixes in his 10-ball 24, while opener Paul Stirling scored 15 off 23 balls. Karan KC, Basant Regmi, Peter van Meekeren and skipper Paras Khadka took one wicket each for Warriors.

In reply, Warriors fell short of target despite magnificent half century from Babar Hayat. The Hong Kong international hammered five fours and eight sixes in his 42-ball 90 but that could not save Warriors from their second loss. Aasif Sheikh scored 21-ball 30 hitting three sixes, while skipper Paras Khadka, who opened the innings with Anil Kumar Sah (12), struck two fours and a six in his 15-ball 19.

With Karan KC at the crease, Warriors had high hopes of collecting 18 runs from the last over to win the match and he did hit two sixes off Dipendra Singh Airee, who had earlier conceded 26 runs in an over, but just could not take the team home. KC remained unbeaten on 24 off 18 balls. Warriors needed 27 runs from the last two overs and the penultimate over bowled by Lalit Singh Bhandari proved crucial as he conceded nine runs and clamed two wickets.

Bhandari returned with the figures of 4-24 from his four-over spell and that also earned him the man-of-the-match award, and he was ably supported by Sagar Dhakal (3-24).

In another match, Rhinos posted 165-6 before Kings raced to 166-5 with four balls to spare. Rhinos made a blistering start with South African Richard Levi collecting 29 runs from the second over bowled by Jitendra Mukhiya. Levi struck three sixes in his 21-ball 38. Another opener Kyle Coetzer, watched by his parents from the stands, scored 37 off 25 balls hitting six fours.

Paul Coughlin struck one each four and six in his 38-ball 37 and Binod Bhandari’s poor form with the bat continued as he could manage just 17 runs although his 11-ball knock contained two sixes.

Kevin O’Brien and Bikram Bhushal took two wickets each, while Kings skipper Rohan Mustafa and Samshad Sheikh claimed one wicket each.

In reply, man-of-the-match O’Brien top scored for Kings with an unbeaten 54 off just 35 balls that included four boundaries and three sixes, while opener Mustafa — who led the side after Sompal Kami was ruled out of the tournament due to ankle injury — struck seven fours in his 31-ball 40.

Subramanian Anand hit two sixes in his 18-ball 27, while Sagar Pun (18) and Amit Shrestha (11) also scored in double figures for Kings.

Bikram Sob two wickets for Rhinos, while Sushan Bhari and veteran Shakti Gauchan claimed one each.