Rhinos complete stunning comeback to secure playoff place against Royals

Published On: November 4, 2018 08:08 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Naveed powers Paltan to PPL final

POKHARA, Nov 4: Indian all-rounder Sunny Patel, Chitwan Rhinos’ foreign player, completed a scintillating half-century in 24 deliveries to propel his team second on the table and into the eliminator round in the ongoing Pokhara Premier League (PPL) in Pokhara on Saturday.

Rhinos defeated Biratnagar Titans by four wickets and will face Kathmandu Royals on Sunday in a virtual semifinal as the winner of the match will tussle with Pokhara Paltan on Tuesday for the trophy.

Rhinos needed 43 runs from last four overs to make an emphatic come back in the match and tournament after losing first two games. Player-of-the-match Sunny smashed four boundaries and four sixes to remain unbeaten on 51 to finish the match in the 20th over and propel his team in the final. Sunny was aided by Aarif Sheikh who made 35 runs and Smeet Patel who made 21 runs contributing for the chase.

Titans skipper Sandeep Lamichhane bowled a splendid spell picking up four wickets including Paras Khadka in the third over of the match to put his team ahead at the moment. Rhinos were six wickets down for 86 runs at the end of 15 overs. Rhinos collected 62 runs in last five overs to complete an amazing comeback.

Rhinos lost the first match of the tournament by 70 runs against Butwal Blasters and lost the second match against Pokhara Paltan by five wickets before winning Dhangadhi Blues, Kathmandu Royals and Biratnagar Titans by 126 runs, 13 runs and four wickets respectively to secure the second position in the group table.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Muhammad Zaid Alam scored his third consecutive half-century of PPL as Titans scored 145 runs in 20 overs for the loss of five wickets. Zaid smashed six boundaries and two sixes during his 47-ball stay. He previously scored half-centuries against Butwal Blasters and Kathmandu Royals. Zaid was supported by Sunil Dhamala’s 47 runs. He scored seven boundaries during his 45-ball stay.

Indian bowler Smeet Patel and Khadka shared two wickets each to restrict Titans. Sunny Patel conceded only nine runs from his wicket-less four overs.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) fast bowler Muhammad Naveed picked up two wickets and smashed five sixes in a cameo of 36 runs to power Pokhara Paltan to the top of the league in Pokhara Premier League (PPL) in Pokhara on Saturday. Paltan will play in the final on Tuesday as Chitwan Rhinos and Kathmandu Royals will face each other on Sunday to determine the second finalist.

Naveed faced 15 deliveries to demonstrate his aggressive batting skills after picking up the crucial wickets of Jaykishan Kolsawala and Gaurav Tomar with the ball to give Paltan a thumping win in its last group stage match against Kathmandu Royals on Saturday.

Chasing the target of 104 runs Rohit Kumar Paudel stayed unbeaten on 15 runs completing the chase in 16th over. The Indian first class cricketer Ravi Inder Singh scored 22 runs from 24 deliveries whereas Aasif Sheikh and Kushal Bhurtel contributed 16 and 14 runs respectively. Royals’ Nandan Yadav, Pawan Sarraf and Susan Bhari shared a wicket each. Right arm fast bowler Amar Singh Routela scalped three wickets- Naveed, Ravi Inder Singh and skipper Sharad Vesawkar.

Earlier, skipper Gyanendra Malla top scored with 31 runs from 28 deliveries after Paltan won the toss and invited Royals to bat first. Fast bowler Rashid Khan continued his good form with the ball picking up two wickets. 

The left-arm spinner Lalit Rajbanshi was pick of the bowlers dismissing Amit Shrestha, Sarraf and Malla. Rajbanshi conceded 18 runs from his four overs. Shrestha scored 21 runs whereas Basant Regmi unbeaten hit 19 runs from 12 deliveries including a four and two sixes. Leg-spinner Bikram Bhusal picked a wicket.

Paltan, Rhinos and Royals have six points each upon completion of five matches each. All three teams won three and lost two matches during the group stages. Paltan finished top having superior net run rate to Rhinos and Royals. 

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