Sports

Airee masterclass outclasses Challengers

- BINOD PANDEY, Dhangadhi

Feb 15, 2019-

Dipendra Singh Airee displayed a batting master-class as CYC Attariya outclassed pre-tournament favourites Rupandehi Challengers by 39 runs to go top of the Dhangadhi Premier League standings on Thursday.

The national team’s settled middle order batsman made batting look easy at a Fapla cricket ground pitch that has favoured bowlers so far with a tournament-high 67 from 50 balls as Attariya posted an imposing 121-9 in 20 overs. A collective effort from the bowlers, particularly spinners, restricted Challengers for 82 all out in 20 overs.

Attariya, one of the weakest team on papers before the tournament started, are now at the top of the table with two consecutive victories on net run rate after they were tied on four points with Challengers and Kathmandu Goldens. Overnight leaders Challengers, who have played three games, dropped to third.

It was a tough pill to swallow for Challengers skipper Basanta Regmi. “No one ever plays to lose. In Twenty20 when four batsmen and bowlers click for a team, that side never loses. Dipendra made the difference today with the bat and they bowled really well. We never managed to do well with the bat,” said Regmi.

Challengers were pushed to back foot early on after leg-spinner Sunny Patel got rid of Pradeep Airee (14) and Babar Hayat (duck). They caved in even further after skipper Airee sent back Puneet Mehra for a duck. They were heading towards a humiliating total after two wickets each from spinners Bhuwan Karki and Dipendra Rawat reduced them to 47-8.

But Sumit Maharjan and Bikram Sob saved the blushes making runs down the lower order. Maharjan top scored for them with a run-a-ball 22 and Sob made 14 off 10. Both hit a six and a four each. Opener Sandeep Sunar (15) was Challengers’ second best scorer. Man-of-the-match Airee also took two wickets for Attariya.

Earlier, Sob struck in his first two overs to remove openers Jaykishan Kolsawala (one) and Subhendu Pandey (12) before Airee led the fightback for Attariya. Initially taking time to settle in the crease, Airee struck his first four in the 13th ball with a reverse sweep against Puneet Mehra. He continued to torment every Challengers bowlers scoring runs at every part of the ground. Airee shared a crucial 57-run third wicket partnership with Rit Gautam (12), who was playing his first competitive domestic league. That partnership was enough for Attariya to build on to a winning total. Airee’s innings included 10 boundaries and a six.

Left-arm seamer Lalit Singh Bhandari took 3-23 from four overs for Challengers. Regmi and Mehra also had one scalp apiece. Airee was content to win back-to-back victory. “The team is young and playing with a good amount of energy. The batting is not easy here. I tried different options today and that worked for me. We will take one game at a time,” said Airee

 Nepali performing artists Madan Krishna Shrestha (centre) and Hari Bansha Acharya (left) take selfie with former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes during the Dhangadhi Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament in Dhangadhi on Thursday. Post Photos: Hemanta Shrestha

Nepali performing artists Madan Krishna Shrestha (centre) and Hari Bansha Acharya (left) take selfie with former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes during the Dhangadhi Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament in Dhangadhi on Thursday. Post Photo: Hemanta Shrestha

United problems dig deeper

The problems for Sharad Vesawkar-led Mahendra-nagar United continued to dig deeper as their search for victory in the Dhangadhi Premier League continued after sharing points with Biratnagar Kings following rain wash out at the Fapla ground on Thursday.

Electing to bat first, Kings were reeling at 82-7 in 18.3 overs before rain intervened and washed out remainder of the play.

United now have only one point having lost their first two matches. They sit second from the bottom while Kings are fourth in table with three points. United now must win their remaining two matches to make it to the playoffs.

For Kings, a victory will be enough to ensure the top four spots for the playoffs. 

Opener Asad Pathan top scored for Kings with a 23-ball 19 hitting three fours and a six. Prithu Baskota (14), Avinash Yadav (13) and Trit Raj Das (12) were their next best scorers. Sagar Dhakal took three wickets for United.

Published: 15-02-2019 08:08

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