Sports

Dhangadhi premier league: Goldens set Chauraha title showdown

- Adarsha Dhakal, DHANGADHI

Apr 13, 2018-

Kathmandu Goldens rode on a record-breaking performance from two Indian recruits to enter the final of the Dhangadhi Premier League (DPL) with a five-wicket victory over Mahendranagar United on Thursday.

In a match that was replayed from the first ball after only two overs were played on Wednesday due to rain and storm, a sensational opening spell of leg spin from Sunny Patel reduced United to 10-6 with the Gujarat-born cricketer taking all of them. United, however, recovered to post a respectable 142-9 in 20 overs. Subodh Bhati then put in exhibition of brutal power hitting to notch up tournament’s fastest half century to help steer Goldens to 143-5 in 18.2 overs. In Friday’s final, Goldens will meet defending champions Team Chauraha Dhangadhi against whom they had lost in the first Qualifier.

It was Patel who stole the show in the first half hour after he started the day trapping United skipper Binod Bhandari leg before wicket (LBW) for a duck in the second ball. He returned to remove Aasif Sheikh (naught) and Hari Shankar Sah in the third over. The momentum was completely with Goldens after Patel dismissed Punit Bista (seven), Rohit Kumar Paudel (0) and Bhuwan Karki (0) in an over as United lost more than half of their batsmen with just 10 runs on the board.

Aarif Sheikh and Puneet Mehra then resurrected the United innings with an 85-run seventh wicket stand to push the team to triple figures. Even after the departure of Aarif, United continued with their hitting through Mehra and Karan KC, who forged a 46-run eighth wicket stand. Patel finished with figures of 6-10 from four overs, the best figures ever not just in the DPL but in the history country’s domestic Twenty20 cricket. Bhati and Pushpa Thapa also took a wicket each for Goldens. Mehra posted a match-high 58 from 42 balls with four sixes and four boundaries. Aarif contributed 43 off 39 hitting four boundaries and a six. KC chipped in 21 from 12 balls with two hits to the fence.

If the first half of the game belonged to Patel, Bhati’s fireworks early in the Goldens’ run chase virtually threw United out of contest. Bhati hit six off the first ball he faced from Avinash Karn in the first over and hit the left-arm seamer for two more sixes. Bhati was at his brutal best smashing five sixes and four boundaries to score an 18-ball 52. In the process he hit the fastest half century of DPL, reaching to the landmark in just 17 balls. Biratnagar Kings’ Babar Hayat had scored the previous best fastest half century in 28 balls against Rupandehi Challengers. 

Bhati did the bulk of scoring when Goldens collected 76 runs for the first wicket in just 33 balls. Another opener Amit Shrestha struck five boundaries in his 19-ball 26. Skipper Gyanendra Malla hit a six and a four to score 25 from 31 balls. Mehra took 2-15 from four overs, while Bhuwan Karki, Bista and Robeen Chhetri had one scalp apiece. 

Goldens coach Raju Basnyat said all the plans worked for his side. “The boys, especially Sunny, bowled excellently in the opening overs. Bhati was tasked as a pinch-hitter which he did exceptionally well,” said Basnyat. United coach Binod Das was left dejected with the defeat. “Our boys did make good recovery and the idea was to swing the ball hard to put pressure on the opponent batsmen. But the only swing that came today was from the bat of Bhati. When you have two players coming out with their best, there is no way you can stop them,” said Das.

Summary

Kathmandu Goldens 143-5 in 18.2 overs (S Bhati 52, A Shrestha 26; P Mehra 2-15, P Bista 1-21) beat Mahendranagar United 142-9 in 20 overs (P Mehra 58, Aarif Sheikh 43; S Patel 6-10, S Bhati 1-18) 

by 5 wickets

Man-of-the-match: S Patel

Published: 13-04-2018 09:00

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