Bohora holds his nerves to hand United thrilling winAbinash Bohora bowled a decisive last over defending five runs as Rupandehi Challengers threw away a comfortable winning position losing to Mahendranagar United to stay alive in Dhangadhi Premier League title hunt on Thursday.
Abinash Bohora bowled a decisive last over defending five runs as Rupandehi Challengers threw away a comfortable winning position losing to Mahendranagar United to stay alive in Dhangadhi Premier League title hunt on Thursday.
In an Eliminator game — the closest game of the tournament so far — at the Fapla Cricket Ground, United made 115-9 in 20 overs. Binod Bhandari and Pradeep Airee led the fightback for Challengers steering the team to convincing victory before Bohora held his nerves to restrict the opponents to 114-9 from their 20.
Challengers were still in the driving seat despite losing Bhandari in the penultimate over from Sagar Dhakal who was hit for 13 runs as five runs were needed in the last over. But the drama unfolded in the final over from Bohora as the right arm medium bowler proved why he has been the latest pick in the national Twenty20 team.
Bohora began with a dot against new batsman and skipper Basanta Regmi who managed to hand strike back to Airee in the second. Another dot in the third left four to win from last three but Airee ran himself out in the fourth ball while stealing a double. New man Bikram Sob pulled Bohora to square leg only to hole out a catch to Rohit Kumar Paudel as three runs were needed from the last ball.
Regmi tried to play Bohora fine but only managed a single as the sensational victory ignited a wild celebration in the United camp. Their skipper Sharad Vesawkar lauded Bohora for keeping his side alive in the tournament. “More than being lucky, I think the boys put a splendid effort. Abinash is our key bowler and he made the difference for us in the last over. The guys are upbeat and hopefully we can make it to the final,” said Vesawkar.
United will now take on Gyanendra Malla’s Kathmandu Goldens in the second Qualifier on Friday. The winners of the match will play Dipendra Singh Airee’s CYC Attariya in the final on Saturday.
Hong Kong international Babar Hayat and Sandeep Sunar (14) gave Challengers a positive start as they remained in the heels of United in the beginning of the chase. Hayat added another 26 runs with Sumit Maharjan (10) but his dismissal triggered a mini collapse, reduced to 66-5 in 13.4 overs. Hayat made 28 off 29 with two sixes and a four.
Bhandari and Airee then rebuilt the innings with a 39-run sixth wicket partnership which ultimately went in vain. Airee also made 28 off 24 with four boundaries, while Bhandari’s 21-ball 23 included a six and a four. Man-of-the-match Bohora took 2-13 from four overs for United.
Challengers skipper Basanta Regmi was left dejected. “It is a bitter loss for us because we were fighting to stay alive in the tournament. But this is a good learning curve for us, especially the youngsters. This proves that having big name in the side doesn’t make you the strongest team,” said Regmi.
United didn’t have big contributors after their top order failed to convert the start. They were going well at 59-3 by the end of 10th over but Puneet Mehra pushed them to backfoot picking up three wickets in a single over. Mehra took key wickets of Aarif Sheikh (11), Rohit Kumar Paudel (two) and Siddhant Lohani (duck) reducing United to 61-6. Vesawkar and Amar Singh Routela helped the team cross triple figures with a 39-run seventh wicket partnership.
Vesawkar was unbeaten on 29 off 38 with two boundaries and Routela contributed 19 off 20 with a six and a four. Their two foreign recruits Subramanian Anand of Indian and Mohammad Naveed were other notable scorers. Anand made 20 off 13 with three fours and a six, while Emirate fast bowling allrounder Naveed hit two sixes in his 15-ball 18.
Left arm pace bowler Lalit Singh Bhandari was the pick of the Challengers bowlers taking 4-28 from four overs, while Regmi bowled effectively taking 2-7 from four overs including two maiden.
Mahendranagar United 115-9 in 20 overs (S Vesawkar 29 not out, S Anand 20, AS Routela 19; LS Bhandari 4-28, P Mehra 3-26, B Regmi 2-7) beat Rupandhi Challengers 114-9 in 20 overs (B Hayat 28, P Airee 28, B Bhandari 23; A Bohora 2-13, M Naveed 1-19) by one run
Man-of-the-match: A Bohora (United)