Biratnagar, Kathmandu enter playoffsBiratnagar beat Kathmandu to finish third while the latter’s fourth place finish was confirmed after Far West see off Pokhara’s challenge in their last league game.
Biratnagar Super Kings and Kathmandu Knights secured the remaining two playoff spots, finishing third and fourth on the last day of the league rounds of Nepal T20 League at the TU cricket ground in Kirtipur on Saturday.
National captain Rohit Paudel-led Biratnagar defeated former captain Gyanendra Malla-led Kathmandu by seven wickets to secure the third place at 10 points. Kathmandu finished fourth on eight points after Far West United, already out of the playoff race, edged past Pokhara Avengers by 41 runs to pour cold water on their top four ambitions.
Lumbini All Stars and Janakpur Royals with 16 points and 14 points respectively, have already entered the playoffs as table toppers and runners up in the six-team contest that sends the top four teams into the playoffs.
Both Far West and Pokhara finished on six points each, but the former ended up in the fifth due to a superior run rate.
Biratnagar and Kathmandu will now contest in the eliminator on Monday while Lumbini and Janakpur will compete in the first qualifier on Sunday. The winner of the qualifier will enter the final while the losing side will take on the winner of the eliminator to fight for the second team to compete in the eliminator.
In the early fixture, Kathmandu elected to bat first and posted a score of 154/6 before Biratnagar captain Paudel and Gauranshu Sharma slammed half centuries each in their run chase to take their team to the winning total of 160/3 in 18.4 overs.
Kathmandu’s opener Santosh Karki and Alex Blake contributed 34 runs each. Karki hit three boundaries and a six in his 34-ball knock before captain Paudel had him caught by Bibek Yadav. English batter Blake slammed two hits to the boundary and an equal number of sixes in his 29-ball knock before Nandan Yadav bowled him.
Kathmandu’s Sandeep Rajali scored a 24-ball 30, captain Malla a 13-ball 22 and Basir Ahamad an 8-ball unbeaten 17.
West Indies’ spinner Raj Nannan grabbed four wickets for Biratnagar in his four over spell conceding 13 runs and bowled a maiden over.
Chasing the target, captain Paudel scored 66 off 42 balls, the highest of the innings, studded with five hits to the fence and three sixes. The player-of-the-match also shared a 94-run stand for the second wicket with the US opener Sharma who remained unbeaten on 51 runs.
Sharma hit four boundaries. Paudel was run out. Hussain Talat played for a 12-ball 21, while Bibek Yadav scored 10 runs, remaining unbeaten, hitting a boundary and a six off the only two deliveries he faced.
Kathmandu bowler Abinash Bohara claimed two wickets in his 3.4 overs spell conceding 35 runs.
In the late fixture, opting to bat first, Far West posted a challenging total of 187/5 after captain Hashmatullah Shahidi and Binod Bhandari slammed a half century each and shared a 134-run partnership for the opening wicket. They bowled out Pokhara for 146 runs in 18.1 overs to complete their third win.
Far West’s Afghani captain Shahidi, also the man-of-the-match, smashed 67 off 51 balls, comprising six boundaries and two sixes. He got run out in the 15th over. Bhandari smashed 59 off 47 that included six fours and two sixes before being caught by wicketkeeper Upul Tharanga off Abhimanyu Mithun’s delivery.
Milinda Siriwardana (12), Rashid Khan (14) and Karan KC (not out 11) were the other contributors for Far West.
In the run chase, Pokhara captain Tharanga scored 36 off 23, the highest of the innings, while Pratish GC played a quickfire knock of 34 off just 11 balls. Siddhant Lohani (28 off 25 balls) and Bishal Bikram KC (15 off 13 balls) were the other major contributors for Pokhara.
Far West bowler Durgesh Gupta returned with figures of 4-0-29-3, while Shahidi and Prakash Jaishi picked up two wickets each.