Namaste Pokhara Premier League

Blasters beat Blues to qualify for Eliminator

Published On: December 23, 2019 11:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

POKHARA, Dec 23: Butwal Blasters raced to a seven-wicket convincing win against Expert Dhangadhi Blues to enter the eliminator round of Namaste Pokhara Premier League (PPL) at the Pokhara Stadium’s cricket ground in Pokhara on Sunday. Blasters chased the target of 141 runs in 16.4 overs.

Aftabuddin Ahmed continued his golden touch with bat smashing a 22-ball half-century. He played some of the breath-taking shots during his stay, smashing seven sixes and a four. He was especially brutal against Sagar Dhakal and Kamal Singh Airee who conceded 43 and 24 runs in their four- and two-over spells, respectively. 

Aftabuddin shared a partnership of 53 runs for the first wicket with Shankar Rana who did not contribute any run in the score while Aftabuddin was on the crease. Rana eventually scored 25 runs off 31 deliveries which included three boundaries. Likewise, Harsh Tonk raced to 40 runs in 21 balls which included three boundaries and four sixes. Tonk shared a partnership of 52 runs for the second wicket with Rana. Shivam Singh remained unbeaten on 15 runs off 11 deliveries to see off the chase.

Anil Kharel was pick of the bowlers scalping two wickets in four overs conceding 13 runs off it. Deepal Punia registered a wicket of Aftabuddin. Amit Yadav was wicketless in his two overs conceding 28 runs off it.

Earlier, Blasters bowlers made a remarkable comeback in the innings after Blues reached a good position despite losing early wickets. Blues had lost three wickets for 19 runs as returning captain Sompal Kami combined with left-arm pacer Lalit Singh Bhandari gave Blasters early breakthroughs. Rodrigo Thomas was clean-bowled by Kami whereas Bhandari sent back Subhendu Pandey and Sandeep Rajali for a combined run. However, Blues skipper Dipendra Singh Airee and Sandeep Jora shared a partnership of 87 runs to take Blues' score to 100 runs for the loss of three wickets. Airee scored 61 runs off 45 deliveries whereas Jora contributed 39 runs off 32 deliveries before getting run-out by Aftabuddin. 

Blues lost last seven wickets for 40 runs as Abinash Bohara created havoc in his 3.4 overs picking up four wickets. Player-of-the-match Bohara dismissed Punia, Kamal Singh Airee, Dipendra Singh Airee and Anil Kharel and also effected the run-out of Amit Yadav to dry up the runs and bring the momentum back at Blasters camp. Bhandari registered a three-wicket-haul. Tonk and Neetesh Thapa were wicket-less in their respective four overs in the match.

Blasters has confirmed its place in the eliminator with three wins in four matches whereas Blues have an outside mathematical chance if they win the match against Pokhara Paltan with good margin. However, Blues sits sixth on the table with lowest net run-rate of -2.364. Blasters will face Biratnagar Titans in the last group match on Wednesday.

Bhuvan Karki and Karan KC shared three wickets each as Chitwan Rhinos overcame Biratnagar Titans by 18 runs to register its fourth win in as many matches of Pokhara Premier League (PPL) held in Pokhara Stadium's cricket ground in Pokhara on Sunday. 

Rhinos survived Lokesh Bam scare to secure runs as the youngster blasted his way through 36-ball 62 runs batting at number 8. Bam had a sublime form smashing five boundaries and five sixes to keep Titans in the chase until his fall as the ninth wicket in 18.3 overs. Titans was eventually all-out for 128 runs in 19 overs. Bam shared a partnership of 77 runs with in-from Punit Mehra who scored 24 runs off 26 deliveries which included two boundaries. 

Similarly, Noman Khan chipped in with 18 runs off 16 deliveries which included two boundaries and a six. Rohan Mustafa picked up two wickets in his four overs conceding 21 runs off it whereas Sunny Patel continued his good form with ball conceding 10 runs off it and picking up a wicket of Muhammad Zaid Alam for a run.

Earlier, Titans won the toss and elected to field first. Rhinos' total was boosted by Aarif Sheikh and Sunny Patel’s unbeaten partnership of 54 runs off last 16 deliveries of the first innings. Sheikh smashed unbeaten 39 runs off 22 deliveries including three fours and sixes each, whereas Patel raced to 8-ball 27 runs which included a boundary and three sixes. Skipper Paras Khadka chipped in with a 38-ball 35 runs and Babar Hayat contributed 31-ball 25 runs. Rhinos scored 146 runs for the loss of four wickets in 20 overs. Punit Mehra, Zaid Alam, Kishore Mahato and Jeetendra Mukhiya shared a wicket each.

Rhinos are almost through to the final on Saturday with four wins. For Rhinos to lose top spot, it will have to lose very badly against Kathmandu Golden Warriors on Tuesday and Blasters to win by huge margin against Biratnagar Titans.


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