Sports

Pokhara Premier League: Paltan completes thrilling chase, lifts title

- Adarsha Dhakal, Pokhara

Nov 6, 2018-

Foreign recruit Ravi Inder Singh shone with the bat with a 58-ball 90 as Sharad Vesawkar’s Pokhara Paltan clinched the Pokhara Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament title on Tuesday.

In a high-voltage final at the Pokhara Stadium, Paltan delighted the local crowd, who had turned up in huge numbers to support its team, defeating Paras Khadka’s Chitwan Rhinos by three wickets for a convincing victory.

Electing to field first, a half century from Khadka and quickfire innings from Sunny Patel took Rhinos to a challenging 160-5 in 20 overs.

Singh led the reply for Paltan scoring runs at will before losing his wicket in the 19th over with victory in sight and the team managed to reach 161-7 in 19.2 overs. The title triumph handed Paltan a top prize of Rs 2.7 million—the highest cash ever handed over to the champions of domestic franchise league. Runner-up Rhinos received Rs 1 million.

Vesawkar was all praise of Singh who helped him defeat Paras’ side for the first time in the domestic franchise league. “He played a similar knock during the league stage and proved his potential in a big match. It was really a great innings,” said Vesawkar adding he was lucky.

“I consider myself lucky to get a good team. The boys played extremely well and consistently was key throughout the tournament. From the time of auction, I knew this team had the calibre to win the title. It feels really great to have achieved our goal,” added the national team middle-order batsman.

Paltan didn’t have the best of the starts losing opener Kushal Bhurtel (four) in the second ball of the innings. Singh made his intention clear scoring freely, and together with another opener Aasif Sheikh (12) the batsman put on 61 runs for the second wicket.

Another foreign recruit of Paltan, Mohammad Naveed of United Arab Emirates stepped in and played a crucial cameo of 14-ball 25 to put his side ahead in net run-rate. Naveed struck three sixes and a boundary before falling prey to Sunny Patel.

Singh then put on another 50-run stand for the fourth wicket to take Paltan close to victory. Paltan suffered a mini collapse losing four wickets in the space of nine runs but by then it was just four runs away from victory. Binod Bhandari sealed the victory with a sweep down the square leg off Bhuwan Karki in the second ball of the last over.

Man-of-the-final Singh struck 13 boundaries and three sixes in his match-winning knock. Karki took 2-42 from 3.2 overs for Rhinos. “We thought we were 10 to 15 runs short. The way Ravi batted today, he was exceptional. We gave our best and the tournament turned out to be a great learning curve for us. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank supporters for turning up in huge numbers,” said Khadka.

Earlier, Khadka played the role of aggressor in his 76-run partnership for the second wicket with opener Anil Kumar Sah. Left-arm spinner Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi had provided Paltan an early breakthrough removing Hari Shankar Sah, who was stumped by wicketkeeper Binod Bhandari.

Khadka played with grit once he settled in and struck nine boundaries in a 37-ball 51. After the departure of the skipper, Patel and Anil put on 50 runs for the third wicket to lay the foundation for a big total. Patel once again played a crucial hand in Rhinos’ batting, smashing a quickfire 43 off 21 with four sixes and three fours. Anil and Patel plundered 24 runs alone from the 15th over bowled by leg spinner Bikram Kumar Bhushal.

Pokhara Premier League awards

Champion    Pokhara Paltan    Rs 2.7 million

Runner-up    Chitwan Rhinos    Rs 1 million

.......

Player-of-the-Series    Sunny Patel (Rhinos)    Suzuki Gixxer Bike

Best batsman    Gaurav Tomar (Royals)    Suzuki Gixxer Bike

Best Bowler    Karan KC (Rhinos)    Suzuki Gixxer Bike

Most Valuable Player    Lalit N Rajbanshi (Paltan)    Rs 101,000

Emerging Player    Rashid Khan (Paltan)    Rs 51,000

Summary

Pokhara Paltan 161-7 in 19.2 overs (RI Singh 90, M Naveed 25; B Karki 2-42, S Patel 1-27) beat Chitwan Rhinos 160-5 in 20 overs (P Khadka 51. S Patel 43; K Karki 2-36, M Naveed 1-18) by three wickets

Man-of-the-match: RI Singh (Paltan)

Player-of-the-series: S Patel (Rhinos)

Published: 06-11-2018 20:02

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