Blues, Royals win to stay in hunt

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Expert Dhangadi Blues skipper Dipendra Singh Airee gestures during their Namaste Pokhara Premier League match against Pokhara Paltan on Friday, November 2, 2018. Photo: Udipt Singh Chhetry

Pokhara, November 2 Expert Dhangadi Blues and Hulas Kathmandu Royals won their matches to send the Namaste Pokhara Premier League table wide open here today.

Blues defeated Paltan by two wickets in the penultimate ball, while Royals registered a 37-run victory over Blasters. Both Blues and Royals have six points each although the latter have one match in hand.

Pokhara Paltan, Chitwan Rhinos and Butwal Blasters have four points each, while Biratnagar Titans have two. Top three teams will be decided only after Saturday’s last round matches — Rhinos vs Titans, and Royals vs Paltan. The table toppers will directly qualify for the final, while next two will vie for another berth.

In the first match, Paltan posted 144-8 in 20 overs before Blues reached 148-8 with one ball to spare. The home side stared at victory when they reduced Blues to 111-8 in 16.3 overs despite Peter Trego’s brilliant half century. Trego top scored with 53 off just 34 balls hitting five fours and four sixes.

Blues skipper Dipendra Singh Airee single-handedly took the team home with an unbeaten 49 off 26 balls that included four each boundaries and sixes. Man-of-the-match Airee combined with Robeen Chhetri to add 37 runs for the unbroken ninth wicket. Shubhendu Pandey struck four boundaries in his 17-ball 22.

Rashaid Khan was the pick of the Paltan bowlers taking 4-24, while Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi and Bikram Bhusal took two wickets each.

Earlier, Paltan batsmen failed to build partnerships although a couple of them got starts. Rohit Kumar Paudel top scored with 31 off 21 balls hitting four boundaries and a six, while Ravi Inder Sing scored 28 off 26 balls that included two each fours and sixes. Aasif Sheikh scored run-a-ball 23 with the help of two sixes, while Rashaid Khan (15), skipper Sharad Vesawkar (14) and Mohammad Naveed (11) also scored in double figures.

Kamal Singh Airee was the chief destroyer taking 4-23 from four overs, while Trego, Dan Lawrence and Robeen Chhetri claimed one wicket each for Blues.

In another match, Royals posted 172-4 and restricted Blasters to 135-9. Naresh Budayair top scored with an unbeaten 58 off just 28 balls that included three fours and five sixes. Man-of-the-match Budayair and skipper Gyanendra Malla, who scored 25 not out off 13 balls, added 67 runs for unbroken fifth wicket to take the team to a challenging total.

Jaykrishan Kolsawal struck three boundaries and two sixes in his 35-ball 45, while Pawan Sarrad scored run-a-ball 22 and Gaurav Tomar scored 11 off 13 balls hitting two boundaries.

In reply, Rohan Mustafa scored a brisk half century but did not get support from other batsmen. Mustafa struck five boundaries and four sixes in his 51-ball 61, while Siddhant Lohani was the second best scorer with run-a-ball 13.

Amar Singh Routela returned with 3-23 from four overs for Royals, while Nandan Kumar Yadav and Basant Regmi claimed two wickets each.

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