Everest Premier League

O’Brien inspires Kings XI to knock Warriors out, faces Patriots in first qualifier

Published On: December 18, 2018 08:57 AM NPT

Tigers to face Gladiators in the eliminator

KATHMANDU, Dec 18: Irish all-rounder Kevin O’Brien produced another player-of-the-match performance as Kathmandu Kings XI knocked Biratnagar Warriors out of the Everest Premier League after defeating them by five wickets in the last group match played at the TU Cricket Ground in Kirtipur on Monday.

The 34-year-old played a measured innings of unbeaten 45 runs from 43 deliveries, which included two fours and three sixes, architecting the chase of 101 runs in 17.5 overs after fall of early wickets. He shared a partnership of 58 runs with Indian all-rounder Pradeep Sahu who made unbeaten 21 runs from 23 deliveries which included three boundaries. O’Brien smashed three sixes in the 17th over bowled by Warriors skipper Paras Khadka when Kings XI required 13 runs to win.

In the process, Warriors have been knocked out of the tournament after falling below Chitwan Tigers in the net-run rate. Warriors needed to stretch the match to beyond 18th over to make sure they qualify for the playoffs, but slipped down the points table after the blows provided by O’Brien.

Tigers remain on four points, tied with Warriors, with negative 0.185 net run-rate whereas Warriors’ dropped to negative 0.25 after the defeat.

Tigers will face Bhairahawa Gladiators on Wednesday in the eliminator match in which the winner will compete against the loser of first qualifier match played between Kings XI and Lalitpur Patriots.

The winner of the first qualifier will play the final whereas the winner of match between the winner of eliminator and loser of first qualifier will feature in the final.

Kings XI had lost five wickets for 48 runs at 10.1 overs when Sahu joined O’Brien at the crease. Khadka and Roelof van der Merwe enforced the most damages with two wickets each and youngster Robeen Chhetri chipped with a wicket for Warriors. Kings XI had lost the early wicket of skipper Rohan Mustafa for a duck whereas Amit Shrestha and Sagar Pun could only muster 14 and 10 runs. Naresh Budhayer and Raju Rijal soon followed with 7 and 1 runs respectively in a chase starting to look tricky for the home team of the EPL. However, O’Brien and Sahu rotated the strike and produced some huge blows towards the end of the chase to confirm the first qualifier place for the team which missed the playoffs place last season when it had finished fifth.

Earlier, Kings XI won the toss and elected to bowl first in a cold weather expected to help bowlers. Skipper Khadka could only make 21 runs at the top of the innings as the flood gates opened after being smartly caught at the mid-wicket boundary by Siddhant Lohani off Sahu’s leg-spin. Babar Hayat, Sumit Maharjan and Hari Bahadur Chauhan were the other double-digit scorers of the innings with the scores of 11, 25 and 22 runs respectively.

O’Brien, once again, led the bowling attack as well with three wickets of Anil Kumar Sah, Chauhan and Pushpa Thapa. Similarly, Mustafa, Sahu and Bikram Bhusal shared two wickets each to bundle Warriors out for 100 runs in the 17.5 overs. Jeetendra Mukhiya was the other wicket-taker of the innings in a commanding display of bowling by the Kings XI.

O’Brien said they thought about winning rather than about any such equation for Warriors’ playoff chances. “We simply wanted to win and finish top two on the points table. We never had that equation in mind,” said the Irish all-rounder after the match. Similarly, Warriors skipper Khadka rued about not getting enough runs on the board to secure qualification. “I think we were few runs short at the end. But that’s gone. We will come back stronger next year.”

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