Rhinos dealt knock out blow

- Sports Bureau, Kathmandu

Dec 15, 2018-

Kathmandu Kings XI knocked out pre-tournament favourite Pokhara Rhinos from the league stage with a five-wicket victory at the Tribhuvan University  Stadium in Kirtipur on Friday.

Electing to field first in the second match of the day, Rhinos once again failed to make the most of the quickfire start provided by Richard Levi to get restricted to 165-6 in 20 overs. Irish allrounder Kevin O’Brien led the way with an unbeaten half century to steer Kings XI to 166-5 in 19.2 overs.

The second victory means Kings XI stay in the hunt for the playoffs with four points from three matches. The knockout blow was hard on Rhinos which had bolstered its squad with bumper signing of South African international Levi and recruitment of Scottish skipper Kyle Koetzer.

In the absence of regular skipper Sompal Kami, who sat out of the match due to ankle injury, Kings XI played United Arab Emirates captain Rohan Mustafa as its third skipper in the third match. The UAE allrounder gave a desired start to its chase, adding 35 runs for the first wicket with opening partner Amit Shrestha (11).

Mustafa played catch-up with the run-rate putting on another 42 runs for the second wicket with Sagar Pun (18) before both the batsmen fell in the space of three deliveries. Mustafa was first to go to Sushan Bhari Shrestha for a 31-ball 40 that included seven hits to the fence.

Naresh Budhayer (one) hardly troubled Rhinos bowlers before O’Brien and Indian recruit Subramanian Anand joined the forces in a match-winning 58-run partnership for the fifth wicket. O’Brien remained unbeaten on 54, his  35-ball knock included four boundaries and three hits over the fences.

Anand’s 18-ball 27 included two sixes. Bikram Sob took two wickets for Rhinos who looked sloppy in the field dropping two catches, missing one stumping and leaking away needless boundaries.

Levi once again provided the impetus to Rhinos with a 21-ball 38 in his 43-run partnership for the first wicket with Coetzer. Before being bowled by Mustafa, Levi struck four boundaries and three sixes. Coetzer scored 37 off 25 with six boundaries.

Paul Coughlin also made 37, hitting a six and a four in his 38-ball innings as Kings XI bowlers tightened the screws at the closing stages of the game. Binod Bhandari was Rhinos next best contributor with 17 runs. Man-of-the-match O’Brien and Bikram Bhushal took two wickets each for Kings XI.

Published: 15-12-2018 10:32

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