Malla, Vesawkar stake claims to coveted title

  • Everest Premier League
- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu

Dec 22, 2018-

National cricket team vice-captain Gyanendra Malla will be seeking his first ever domestic title when he leads Lalitpur Patriots against Bhairahawa Gladiators in the final of the Everest Premier League (EPL) at the TU Stadium on Saturday.

Malla has never won any tournament as a captain in domestic franchise Twenty20 leagues having previously reached the finals of EPL’s first edition (with Colors X Factor) in 2016 and second edition of Dhangadhi Premier League in 2018, while playing for Kathmandu Goldens. But on both occasion luck deserted Malla despite boasting a strong-looking squad.

The national team opening batsman Malla, however, said he doesn’t want to dwell in the past. “We don’t want to think much because we don’t want to invite pressure on ourselves. Everyone is playing as a team and we just want to continue with the momentum,” said Malla. 

Patriots began the tournament on a losing note but it made an excellent comeback winning the next five matches — including the first Qualifier against Kathmandu Kings XI — to directly enter the final. In contrast, Gladiators posed itself as title contenders easing to victories in its first three matches but two back-to-back defeats saw it compete in the Eliminator.

Vesawkar also wanted his boys to keep it very simple. “We just want to play our best cricket and enjoy ourselves. We want to keep it very simple. The final is just another match for us although its a big stage for everyone involved. But we would like to relax and hopefully the result will come our way,” said Vesawkar who can now win second franchise Twenty20 title inside two months after leading Pokhara Paltan to Pokhara Premier League glory on November 6.

Vesawkar has featured in all the finals of the franchise Twenty20 competitions he has participated in, winning the title twice. It was his Panchankanya Tez team which stunned Malla’s X Factor in the final of EPL’s first edition. 

But more than his personal achievement, Malla wanted to remain focused to lead the team to the first title. 

“Its not only about myself. Winning the title is obviously a milestone for any captain and a major point in any player’s career in terms of number and stats. But I would like to lead by example by showing youngsters how to deal with themselves at bigger stages like the finals,” added Malla.

Patriots bid for title will depend on how it’s foreign players — particularly opening pair of Jaykishan Kolsawala and Gaurav Tomar — would fare in the final. The Kolsawala-Tomar pair notched up two century opening wicket stands that confirmed the top spot for the franchise and first Qualifier. However, 

the Indian duo failed in the crucial Qualifier game against Kings XI before local players stepped up to hand it victory. 

Malla said it was good to see local players chipping in. “I believe they (Kolsawala and Tomar) will perform in the final but to even see our local players stepping up is a good sign. It shows that everyone is ready to take up the responsibility. The lower order is doing good and now its all about proving themselves one more time,” said Malla.

Vesawkar also had the similar story after his lengthy batting order held firm in the last two games to put Gladiators in the final. “We have a long batting lineup and the bowlers are doing good too. There are so many match-winners in our team and I am confident anyone is capable to pull up their socks,” added Vesawkar.

Published: 22-12-2018 07:54

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