Warriors ride on Rhinos as Kings XI lose again

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Dec 21, 2017-Biratnagar Warriors on Wednesday registered their second consecutive victory in the Everest Premier League (EPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament as Bhairahawa Gladiators condemned Farveez Maharoof’s Kathmandu Kings XI to their second defeat in a row.

In the first match that went down to the wire, Warriors chose to field first at the TU Stadium and restricted a strong-looking Pokhara Rhinos to 122-6 in 20 overs. They won the match with two balls to spare but not before losing seven of their batsmen in a see-saw battle. Warriors were awarded five runs in their chase as result of penalty against Pokhara Rhinos whose batsmen were adjudged to have ran onto the protected area of the pitch in the last over of the first innings.

Warriors’ Hong Kong signing Anshuman Rath gave a brisk start hitting most of the runs in a 33-run opening wicket partnership with Aasif Sheikh (two) inside four overs. Left-arm spinner Sushan Bhari Shrestha removed Sheikh and Basanta Regmi in an over. Rath then shared 35 runs for the third wicket with compatriot Babar Hyat, who made 22 from 19 with three boundaries and 29 for the fourth with skipper Paras Khadka (11).

Israrullah dealt Warriors’ comfortable chase a massive blow with quick dismissals of Khadka and Anil Sah as Warriors needed 24 runs to win from the last 18 balls with five wickets in hand. Rath completed his half century in the 18th over that saw Rhinos’ skipper Shakti Gauchan bowl tightly and remove Pushpa Thapa (duck) as Warriors needed 18 runs from the last 12 balls.

Rath lost his wicket in the 19th over but when he was out Warriors required just 10 runs from the last eight balls. Pranit Thapa Magar (nine not out) and Karan KC (two not out) saw the team through the finishing line by holding their nerves. Man-of-the-match Rath top scored with a 61-ball 60 that included six boundaries and two sixes.

Rhinos batting looking menacing in their 10-wicket humbling of Chitwan Tigers on Tuesday and their Pakistani recruit Israrullah once again gave a sound start before falling prey to Khadka in the fourth over. Israrullah made 21 from 16 with three fours and a six. Khadka took two more wickets as Rhinos struggled during the middle overs to put a below-par total.

Rajesh Pulami Magar top scored for them with 30 off 35 hitting two fours and a six. Sunil Dhamala (18), Taj Wali (18 not out) and Saurav Khanal (16) were their next best scorers. Khadka returned the figures of 3-28 from four overs.

Maharoof’s Kings XI had capitulated against Lalitpur Patriots in their first game, folded for just 89. They bettered their batting performance notching up 118-8 in 20 overs. But against a strong-looking Gladiators batting attack, Kings bowler leaked runs as their opponents reached 121-3 in 16.2 overs.

Kings were at the top of their game when they reduced Gladiators to 24-2 in 5.3 overs but skipper Sharad Vesawkar and Indian cricketer Puneet Bisht build on a match-winning 64-run partnership to ease their chase. Vesawkar was out for a 31-ball 30 with two fours and a six.

After Vesawkar’s departure, Bisht and Aarif Sheikh guided the team to victory with the duo collecting 37 runs in just 16 balls. Bisht remained unbeaten on 42 from 28 with six boundaries and Aarif made 23 from 11 with three fours and a six.

Opener Amit Shrestha was the leading scorer for Kings XI making 29 off 32 balls with four boundaries and Sagar Kumar scored 28 off 25 with two fours. Raju Rijal (22) and Sagar Pun (15) were other batsmen to make runs in double figures. Dipesh Shrestha (3-16) and man-of-the-match Vesawkar (2-21) shared five wickets for Gladiators.

Summaries

Biratnagar Warriors 123-7 in 19.4 overs (A Rath 60, B Hayat 11; Israrullah 2-10, SB Shrestha 2-20) beat Pokhara Rhinos 122-6 in 20 overs (RP Magar 30, Israrullah 21; P Khadka 3-28, B Regmi 1-16) by three wickets

Man-of-the-match: A Rath

Bhairahawa Gladiators 121-3 in 16.2 overs (P Bisht 42 not out, S Vesawkar 32; S Kandel 1-23, S Kami 1-22) beat Kathmandu Kings XI 118-8 in 20 overs (A Shrestha 29, S Kumar 28; D Shrestha 3-16, S Vesawkar 2-21) by seven wickets

Man-of-the-match: S Vesawkar