Warriors roar past Tigers; Rhinos record second win


Kathmandu, December 22

Biratnagar Warriors became the first team to earn playoff berth, while Pokhara Rhinos recorded second victory in the TVS Everest Premier League here at the TU Stadium today.

Warriors thrashed Chitwan Tigers by 71 runs for their third win in a row and accumulated six points to become first team to confirm top four berth. Similarly, Rhinos outplayed Kathmandu Kings-XI by six wickets to sit third with four points from three matches behind Bhairahawa Gladiators, who also have four points. Lalitpur Patriots (two) and Kings-XI (two) are fourth and fifth respectively, while Chitwan Tigers are yet to open their accounts.

In the day’s second match, Warriors scored a mammoth 174-8 in their allotted 20 overs after they were invited to take the first strike. Tigers were packed for 103 runs in 18.2 overs.

Warriors’ innings revolved around the innings of Babar Hayat and Anshuman Rath after opener Aasif Sheikh (21) was stumped by Dilip Nath off Praveen Gupta in the sixth over with 35 runs on the board. Aasif Seikh scored 21 off 22 balls hitting three boundaries.

The Hong Kong national team skipper Hayat and his teammate Rath shared a 107-run partnership off just 62 balls for the second wicket to guide the team towards huge total. Hayat scored 81 off just 42 balls that included five boundaries and six sixes. Ruthless Hayat hammered his counterpart Dipendra Singh Airee for four consecutive sixes and a four in the 13th over which yielded 30 runs.

Rath, who single-handedly guided Warriors to victory in the previous match against Rhinos, scored 40-ball 41 hitting five fours. After departure of Rath, the pair of Hayat and Warriors skipper Paras Khadka, who scored 16 off just eight balls hitting two sixes, added 27 runs for the third wicket before Pramesh Kumar dismissed both the batsmen in the 19th over.

Warriors lost six wickets in the last 10 balls with Praveen Gupta claiming four wickets including a hat-trick in the last over. Gupta had Pranit Thapa Magar (two) stumped by Nath in a wide delivery in the fifth ball and Pushpa Thapa (naught) was caught by Sandeep Sunar in the next  ball and he had Karan KC (two) caught by Pramesh Kumar in the final ball.

Gupta, who returned with 5-23, became first bowler to take a hat-trick and complete a five-wicket haul in the event. Pramesh Kumar claimed 2-25, while Yogendra Singh Karki took 1-39.

In reply, the Tigers’ batsmen were never in contention once opener Dilip Nath was bowled by Karan KC in the fourth ball of the first over. They kept on losing wickets at regular interval and were reduced to 70-7 in 13 overs. Bhim Sharki top scored with 20-ball 24 hitting one each four and six, while Pramod Gupta remained unbeaten on 13. The 30-runs stand for the eighth wicket between Sharki and Gupta was the highest of the Tigers’ innings. Sandeep Sunar (16), Kamal Singh Airee (13) and Sabez Khan (12) also scored in double figures.

Basant Regmi was the pick of the Warriors bowlers claiming 4-11, while Avinash Karna took 2-20. Karan KC, Anshuman Rath and Puspa Thapa pocketed one wicket each.

Warriors’ skipper Khadka praised Hayat’s exceptional batting and bowlers’ efforts. “Hayat batted exceptionally well in the difficult pitch and later on our bowlers did a good job to restrict the opponents. I am satisfied with the team’ performance and we will try to keep the momentum going on,” said Khadka.

In the first match, Kings-XI posted below-par 98-8 before Rhinos raced to 102-4 in 18.2 overs.

Rhinos’ skipper Shakti Gauchan’s decision to field first paid off as Bikram Sob struck twice in the first over. He removed opener Amit Shrestha in the first ball of the innings and also had skipper Farveez Maharoof caught by Sunil Dhamala for a duck in the fifth ball.

However, Sagar Pun, who top scored with 36 off 47 balls hitting two boundaries and a six, added 35 runs for the third wicket with Raju Rijal, who scored 17, before the latter was stumped by Binod Bhandari off Sushan Bhari in the 10th over. Pun also shared a 28-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Sompal Kami (10), who was trapped leg before the wicket by Bhari in the 15th over to reduce the Kings to 64-4. After that, Kings lost four wickets for 34 runs before being folded for a low score.

Rhinos’ Bikram Sob (2-11), Gauchan (2-20) and Sushan Bhari (2-19) shared six wickets among them, while Taj Wali and Israrullah took one wicket each.

In reply, Rhinos openers Sunil Dhamala and Israrullah punished Kings bowlers from the beginning and they shared a 38-run partnership. Dhamala, who scored 20 off 23 balls hitting two boundaries and a six, was the first to go, bowled by Sagar Pun in the sixth over.

Rhinos came under pressure after losing three quick wickets. Binod Bhandari (four) was caught by Sompal Kami off Bikram Bhushal in the seventh over, Asif Ali (three) was run out in the next over and Rajesh Pulami Magar (eight) was stumped by Raju Rijal off Sagar Pun.

But, the man-of-the-match Israrullah, who remained unbeaten on 45 off 48 balls hitting three fours and two sixes, and skipper Gauchan took the team home without further loss, handing Kings their third defeat in four matches. Gauchan scored run-a-ball 18 not out hitting three fours. Kings-XI’s Sagar Pun took 2-19 and Bikram Bhushal claimed 1-24.

“Our bowlers executed team’s plan of restricting Kings to below 100 after winning the toss,” said Gauchan. “We wanted to finish the game quickly to improve on run rate but we lost a couple of wickets in the middle and had to change the approach to finish it off comfortably.”

On Saturday, Biratnagar Warriors will play against Bhairahawa Gladiators, while Chitwan Tigers will take on Lalitpur Patriots.