Mahendranagar United and defending champions Dhangadhi Team Chauraha entered the playoffs of the Dhangadhi Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament on a rain affected Saturday.
The first match between United and CYC Attariya was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to wet outfield condition caused by heavy overnight rain. The result benefited United who went into the playoffs with one match in hand. United have five points from four matches and will play league leaders Kathmandu Goldens on Sunday where a win can put them into the first Qualifier. Goldens are already in the Qualifiers with eight points from four wins.
Dhangadhi then edged Rupandehi Challengers by three runs in the second match that was reduced to eight-over-a-side. Batting first, man-of-the-match Sonu Tamang lifted Chauraha to 76-7. At one stage, it looked like Challengers would deny the local team a spot in the playoffs but Lalit Singh Bhandari bowled a crucial sixth over restricting the opponents to 73-5.
Sagar Pun kept Challengers in the chase after he hit Sompal Kami for 14 runs in a single over leaving his side needing 24 runs from 18 balls. But left-arm seamer Bhandari conceded three runs in the sixth over to put pressure back on the Challengers. Chauraha’s United Arab Emirates (UAE) recruit Rohan Mustafa bowled Pun and trapped Amar Singh Routela (0) leg before in consecutive balls conceding seven runs. Yogendra Singh Karki then held firm in the final over conceding four runs in the first five balls to seal victory for Chauraha.
Chauraha are in second spot with six points from five games and they can also find themselves in the first Qualifier, if Sunday’s both results go their way. Biratnagar Kings (4 pts) and CYC Attariya (3 pts) clash on Sunday with the fourth and final playoff berth at stake.
Pun top scored for Challengers with 33 off 16 with three sixes and three fours. Mustafa took 2-12. “The way our bowlers dealt with the target in the last three overs was excellent. Lalit, Rohan and Yogendra did really well in the closing stages,” said Chauraha skipper Kami said. “Sonu fired at the right time for us,” he added.
Chauraha tried a new opening pair of Ashfaq Ahmed and Mustafa but Dipesh Shrestha got rid of the former in the first ball. They then lost Sunil Dhamala (6) and Kami (2) to be 11-3. Tamang, who had played just 13 balls prior to the game, smashed 34 off 14 balls with four sixes and a boundary. Mustafa contributed with a 13-ball 15.
“I was under extreme of pressure as there was hardly any contribution in this tournament so far. It gives me good feeling to score runs and it helped the team to qualify,” said Tamang. For Challengers, Sushan Bhari Shrestha took three wickets and Dipesh had two scalps.