Lalitpur grab first victory, Chitwan enter playoffsLalitpur Patriots post the biggest score of the tournament to beat Biratnagar Warriors while Chitwan Tigers make three wins in a row in the Everest Premier League.
Lalitpur Patriots earned first victory in the Everest Premier League, defeating Biratnagar Warriors by 37 runs after they posted the biggest total ever of the franchise Twenty20 cricket tournament at the TU cricket ground in Kirtipur.
In the second fixture of the day, Chitwan Tigers registered a thumping nine-wicket victory over Pokhara Rhinos to become the first team to enter playoffs with a winning streak.
Put to bat first, Lalitpur posted a massive score of 226-5 after Sri Lankan wicketkeeper batter Sandun Weerakkody and Afghani all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai cracked half centuries. In the run chase, Biratnagar were restricted at 189-8 after Omarazai grabbed four wickets inflicting them third defeat in as many matches.
The first win of the campaign after four matches kept afloat Lalitpur's hope of top four finish in the league rounds. They have three points with a win, two defeats and a washout game. They must win their last fixture against Chitwan Tigers on Sunday and hope for favourable outcomes in other matches to progress into the next stage. With two matches yet to play, Biratnagar hit the bottom of the standings and are yet to open their account.
In the third edition of the tournament in 2018, Pokhara Rhinos had scored 215 runs in total, the highest in the tournament, before Bhairahawa Gladiators made 216 with two balls to spare.
Lalitpur's Weerakkody smashed 73 runs off 43 and shared a 70-run partnership for the first wicket with captain Kushal Bhurtel who was dismissed for 32 runs. The 28-year-old Weerakkody struck 10 fences and three sixes and reached the half-century mark from 28 balls. He was caught by wicketkeeper Aasif Sheikh off Karan KC in the 15th over. Bhurtel hit four boundaries and two sixes in his 17-ball knock.
Omarzai, also the man of the match, played a quickfire knock of 24-ball 58 remaining unbeaten. The 22-year-old raced to a half century from 21 balls, also the fastest of the tournament. He smashed seven sixes. He hit three successive sixes to veteran spinner Basanta Regmi in the 16th over and Pratish GC in the following over.
Yogendra Singh Karki and Narayan Joshi were other major contributors, scoring 18-ball 27 and 4-ball 18 respectively. Joshi, who came to bat in the last over, hit three successive sixes in the over to Ramnaresh Giri.
Biratnagar captain Karan KC claimed two wickets while Sikandar Raza, GC and Dilshan Munaweera pocketed one each. KC conceded 43 runs in his four-over spell.
Chasing the target, Biratnagar seemed to be heading in the right direction and were 150-3 in 14.3 overs before a dramatic batting collapse as they lost next five wickets for just 30 runs.
Sri Lankan batter Dilshan Munaweera contributed 39-ball 59, the highest in the innings, that included four boundaries and a six before being dismissed. West Indies' Chandrapaul Hermaj played a quickfire 13-ball 28 and Aasif Sheikh 30-ball 37. The duo shared a 50-run stand for the first wicket before Hemraj was bowled by Omarzai. Sheikh and Munaweera played a 57-run partnership for the second wicket before the former was caught by Omarzai off Lalit Rajbanshi.
Apart from the trio, Sikandar Raza was the other batter to contribute in double digits scoring 24 runs off 12 as Biratnagar lost other players cheaply.
Omarzai pocketed four wickets in his four-over spell and gave away 42 runs. Lalit Raja grabbed two wickets.
In the late match, batting first Pokhara made a poor start to their innings and posted 123-7 before Chitwan made 124-1 in 16.4 overs.
The result lifted Chitwan on top of the table with six points from three matches while Pokhara are fourth with three points after a win, a draw and a washout each.
Pokhara lost top order batsmen cheaply and were restricted to 5-42 in the ninth over. Opener Richard Levi (17-ball 20) was the only batter among top five batters to reach double digit figures. But Bibek Yadav came to the rescue of Pokhara innings scoring an unbeaten 53 runs off 45 that included three fours and sixes each.
Yadav played a 56-run stand for the sixth wicket with Asela Gunaratne who was dismissed for 25 runs.
Chitwan bowler Kamal Airee and Shahab Alam picked two wickets each.
Chasing the target, Afghani wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad and Bhim Sharki played an unbroken partnership of 122 runs for the second wicket after opener Ishan Pandey was out for a duck. The man-of-the-match Shahzad hit 52-ball 63 and Sharki 42-ball 54. Shahzad cracked seven boundaries and two sixes while Sharki hit five boundaries and two sixes.
Bikram Sob picked the only wicket for Pokhara.
Bhairahawa Gladiators is set to play Kathmandu Kings XI and Biratnagar Warriors will vie against Pokhara Rhinos on Saturday.