DHANGADHI, April 16: Rupandehi Challengers and Biratnagar Kings have advanced to the first qualifier as the top two teams from the league round in the ongoing Dhangadhi Premier League T20 cricket Tournament on Sunday.
Veteran Shakti Gauchan-led Rupandehi Challengers defeated Biratnagar Kings by 61 runs to produce its fourth consecutive win and confirm top finish with eight points with a match still in hand.
Despite the defeat, Biratnagar Kings captained by Sharad Vesawkar also booked its ticket for the first qualifier with six points after losing its last league match against leader Rupandehi.
Rupandehi Challengers and Biratnagar Kings will battle once again in the first qualifier of the tournament to secure a place in the final.
The losers of that match will still have a chance to reach the final via second qualifier, where they will play against the winner of the eliminator match between the third and fourth placed teams of the league round.
Meanwhile, both Kathmandu Goldens and Kanchanpur Iconic, which defeated CYC Attariya by six wickets to produce its second victory of the tournament, have equal four points.
However, Kathmandu Goldens advanced to the playoff as the third-placed team having better run rate than Kanchanpur Iconic.
Now Kanchanpur Iconic will have to depend on the outcome of the last league match between Rupandehi Challengers and Paras Khadka-led Dhangadhi Team Chauraha which has just two points.
Chauraha's defeat to league leader will send Kanchanpur Iconic to the play-off but a victory is likely to reignite its chance as the fourth team to reach the playoff.
However, it must finish the campaign with better run rate than Kanchanpur to book a place in the playoff.
Meanwhile in the first match of the day played at SSP Cricket Ground, Dhangadhi, Rupandehi Challengers won the toss and chose to bat first before making a total of 132 runs losing eight wickets in 20 overs.
Antim Thapa stroked the highest 45 runs for Rupandehi Challengers smashing five boundaries and one six facing 42 balls. Earlier Rupandehi Challengers couldn't start the innings in a positive note after its openers Harishankar Shah and Shankar Rana built up just an 11-run partnership for the first wicket.
However, Antim shared a 21-run partnership with Krishna Karki for the fourth wicket and a 47-run partnership with Puspa Thapa for the seventh wicket helped the team make a respectable total.
Rupandehi Challengers also received 18 runs as extras from Biratnagar Kings. Krishna Karki and Puspa Thapa contributed 22 and 17 runs respectively to help Rupandehi make a respectable total.
Biratnagar Kings' Sushil Knadel and Dipendra Airee claimed two wickets each. Similarly, Pawan Sarraf, Kishore Mahato, Sandeep Lamichhane and Sharad Vesawkar took one wicket each for the Biratnagar-based outfit.
In reply, Biratnagar Kings was packed for 71 runs after player-of-the-match Shahab Alam displayed impressive bowling as he claimed four wickets giving away just 19 runs. Biratnagar Kings' Aakash Thapa (8), skipper Vesawkar (34), Pranit Thapa Magar (0) and Anil Sha (3) were dismissed in Shahab's deliveries. Likewise, Dipesh Shrestha (3-13) and Krishna Karki (3-13) shared other six wickets between them to limit Biratnagar Kings within the lower total.
In the other match of the day, Kanchanpur Iconic won the toss and invited CYC Attariya to bat and packed Gyanendra Malla's side for just 85 runs. After Kanchanpur Iconic's Avinash Karna and Sunil Dhamala shared six wickets between them, CYC was limited to the lower total. Attariya based outfit's opener Roshan Nepali was ducked in Avinash's delivery while he also sent Surendra Chand (10) and Avinash Bohora (7) to the pavilion. Similarly, Sunil sent Dilip Nath (11), Pradeep Singh Airee (19) and Yogendra Singh Karki (1) to the pavilion. CYC's Gyanendra Malla contributed just five runs facing off 10 balls while Gyanendra Kuwar made 15 runs off 14 balls.
In reply, Kanchanpur Iconic met the target in 10 overs losing four wickets. The wining side made a solid start to the innings as its opener Sagar Pun and Sunil Dhamala built a 37-run partnership for the first wicket. Sagar stroked 22 runs smashing two boundaries and one six facing 18 balls while player-of-the-match Sunil made 28 runs hitting one boundary and two sixes. Hasim Ansari and skipper Binod Bhandari contributed 22 and 16 runs respectively. CYC's Binod Lama claimed two wickets while Gyanendra Kuwar added another wicket.