Namaste Pokhara Premier League
Published On: December 26, 2019 09:25 AM NPT By: Republica | @RepublicaNepal
Both Titans and Blasters will face-off again in the Eliminator to be held on Thursday. Blasters had secured the second position in the league after winning three in first four matches. The winner of the Eliminator match will face Chitwan Rhinos for the final trophy on Saturday.
POKHARA, Dec 26: Biratnagar Titans defied expectations, helped by Pakistani Muhammad Zaid Alam’s all-round performance to defeat Butwal Blasters within the required scenario and steal its place in the Eliminator during the last group match of Namaste Pokhara Premier League (PPL) played at Pokhara Stadium’s cricket ground in Pokhara on Wednesday.
Titans had to chase the target of 134 runs in 12.2 overs for the team to qualify for the play-offs ahead of Kathmandu Golden Warriors, which the winning team completed astonishingly in 11.4 overs. Both the teams will face-off again in the Eliminator to be held on Thursday. Blasters had secured the second position in the league after winning three in the first four matches. The winner of the Eliminator match will face Chitwan Rhinos for the final trophy on Saturday.
Zaid Alam scored a 10-ball 24 runs opening the batting helped by Lokesh Bam’s 5-ball 13 runs setting up the match for the Titans. The team was at 31 runs for no loss at the end of two overs. They never looked back as the batsmen kept looking for big shots as Blasters bowlers and fielders crumbled under pressure. Indian batsmen Punit Mehra scored 17-ball 32 runs which included three fours and a six. Pakistan batsman Noman Khan chipped in with brisk 22-ball 35 runs which included five boundaries. Likewise, Pushpa Thapa gave it a finishing touch, scoring unbeaten 18 runs off eight deliveries that included three boundaries.
Kamal Khatri, making his debut, picked up a wicket of Mehra conceding 17 runs off his two overs. Similarly, Nitesh Thapa picked two in his two overs in the match. Avinash Bohora struggled, conceding 42 runs off his 3.4 overs and picking up a wicket of Zaid Alam. Likewise, Harsh Tonk chipped in with a wicket.
Earlier, Titans won the toss and elected to field first. Blasters rested its captain Sompal Kami and Lalit Singh Bhandari ahead of the Eliminator match.
In overcast conditions, Blasters lost its first wicket -- Aftabudding Ahmed -- for golden duck in the first ball of the match delivered by Kishore Mahato. Soon it was reduced to three wickets for 47 runs. However, Tonk and Shivam Singh steadied the innings. Tonk went on to score 44-ball 67 runs which included six boundaries and five sixes. Similarly, Singh chipped in with 26-ball 37 runs which included three boundaries and a six. The stand-in captain Siddhant Lohani struggled his way through 21-ball 11 runs. None of the other batsmen were able to reach double-digit scores.
Player-of-the-match Zaid Alam was pick of the bowlers registering four wickets whereas Mahato supported with two wickets. Likewise, Dipesh Shrestha and Shahab Alam shared a wicket each.
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