Burl gives Kathmandu Kings flying startThe Zimbabwe all-rounder smashes 73 off 34 as Kings, also featuring Shahid Afridi, thump Lalitpur Patriots by seven wickets
An unbeaten half century from Zimbabwe's all-rounder Ryan Burl guided Kathmandu Kings XI to a convincing seven-wicket win over defending champions Lalitpur Patriots in the curtain Everest Premier League, a franchise twenty20 cricket tournament, at the TU cricket grounds in Kirtipur on Saturday.
Twenty-seven-year-old Burl played a quickfire knock of 73 runs off 34 deliveries for Kathmandu Kings, who were boosted by the presence of legendary Pakistani player Shahid Afridi in the squad. Kathmandu made 160-3 in 14.2 overs after Lalitpur Patriots, put into bat first, posted 157-8 in the match that saw light rainfall at an early stage.
Afridi, however, failed to live up to star billing and returned wicketless in his four-over spell conceding 32 runs. He was not lined up for batting on top order before Kathmandu Kings raced to victory.
Burl hit spinner Lalit Rajbanshi for 28 runs in the 12th over that included four sixes and a fence in the five balls he faced. "As soon as I saw the left arm off spinner, I told the striker (Raju Rijal) to give me one and I will go to strike. Sometimes it (big hits) doesn't come off and sometimes it does," said Burl after the match, adding that the noise from the crowd energises the players.
"I thank Kathmandu owners for giving me this opportunity. I think I was successful in repaying the faith put on me," said Burl who also bagged two wickets apart from three boundaries and seven towering sixes.
Lalitpur Patriots made a shaky start to their innings as they lost the first three wickets for seven runs on board with all three departing on medium pacer Jitendra Mukhiya's delivery. Opener and captain Kushal Bhurtel was out for a duck in the very first ball while his opening partner Sandun Weerakkody of Sri Lanka departed for two runs. Oshada Fernando departed for four runs. The three top order batsmen were dismissed by Jitendra Mukhiya.
But Pawan Sarraf anchored the innings, scoring 61 runs off 44 deliveries. He shared a 58-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Shankar Rana who contributed 14 runs. He then played a 62-run stand for the fifth wicket with Yogendra Singh Karki before being caught by Sher Malla off Burl.
Karki, who contributed 33 runs, was trapped leg before by Burl. Lalitpur Patriot's batter Ranjung Mikyo Dorji hit an unbeaten 17 runs and Narayan Joshi scored 12 runs.
Mukhiya, the pick of Kathmandu Kings bowling, grabbed four wickets in his four over bowling, conceding 18 runs. Gulsan Jha and Burl pocketed two wickets each. Captain Sandeep Lamichhane was the most expensive bowler for Kathmandu giving away 44 runs in his four over spell.
"The wicket was never easy for any spinner today," said Lamichhane after winning the game. "There was brilliant team effort from everyone and there are a lot of positives to take from this match. We want to continue the way we started."
About having Afridi in the squad, Lamichhane said: "His experience will be valuable for us. We will definitely try to take knowledge from him. It makes a lot of difference having someone like Afridi in the team and Nepali cricket as a whole."
Chasing the target, Kathmandu Kings also made a poor start after they lost opener Subash Khakurel for golden duck and Amit Shrestha was dismissed for four runs with 2-12 on board. They were both run out.
But the other opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Burl made sure that Kathmandu Kings open their campaign with the win. The Afghani wicketkeeper batsman Gurbaz scored 59 runs off 36 deliveries that included four fences and sixes each. He shared a 76-run stand for the third wicket with Burl before being stumped by wicktekeeper Weerakkody.
Raju Rijal scored unbeaten 19 off 13 runs and paired well with Burl. He and Burl shared an unbeaten 72-run partnership to guide Kathmandu Kings to victory.
Lalitpur Patriots captain Kushal Bhurtel said that they were 20 to 30 runs short in their total. "We could not play well with the bat and losing early wickets put us in a difficult situation," said Bhurtel.
There will be two matches on Saturday with Biratnagar Warriors taking on Chitwan Tigers in the early fixture and Bhairahawa Gladiators playing against Pokhara Rhinos in the next match.