Kantipur Gurkhas went to the top of the table as 50-over champions Panchakanya Tez got off to a triumphant start in the Wai Wai Everest Premier League on Sunday.
Gurkhas rode on a fine opening partnership between Pradeep Airee and Subash Khakurel to crush Sagarmatha Legends by seven wickets after Tez overcame Jagdamba Rhinos by six wickets in a match that witnessed a return to form of forgotten Prithu Baskota.
Gurkhas, despite conceding 24 extra runs, managed to restrict Legends to 124-9 in 20 overs before an 81-run stand between Subash and Pradeep guided them to 125-3 in 15 overs.
Pradeep also returned to form making 55 off 38 with seven fours and two sixes, while Subash chipped in a 28-ball 35. His innings included six boundaries. Gurkhas lost the two batsmen in a space of 12 runs but by then the team was just 32 runs away from victory.
Anil Sah (14) and Aakash Gupta (11) completed the chase with a 19-run third wicket unbroken stand. Rahul Kumar BK picked up all three wickets for Legends.
Gurkhas didn't have good start with the ball courtesy some wayward bowling but skipper Basanta Regmi brought them on track picking up 3-13 from four overs. Two victims were Anil Mandal (one) and his opposite number Binod Bhandari (11). Mehboob Alam top scored for Legends with a 19-ball 23 that included two fours and a six. Opener Sunil Dhamala made 21 off 34 hitting a six and a four.
In the first match of the day, Tez made most of a damp outfield squeezing out Rhinos for 129-4. They had a horrible start in reply after Sompal Kami removed opener Aasif Sheikh and Sanjay Shrestha in the first over keeping a maiden.
But Prithu forged two crucial stands to bring Tez back in the game. The former U-19 skipper, who has struggled for the last two years of his career due to injury, added 63 runs for the third wicket with skipper Sharad Vesawkar.
Sharad made 27 off 25 with four boundaries before Prem Tamang removed him in the first ball he had delivered on the day. Sharad's dismissal hardly mattered as Prithu added another 35 runs for the fourth wicket with Aarif Sheikh.
Just as it seemed he was going to take his team across the finish line with ease, Nijamuddin Halwai dismissed Prithu in his only blemish of the day. Prithu made 48 off 46 with two fours and as many sixes.
Sheikh and his U-19 teammate Dipendra Singh Airee (17) made a perfect finish with an unbeaten 35-run unbeaten partnership. Sheikh made an enterprising 33 off 26 with two sixes and two fours.
Earlier, Rhinos had a sluggish start before Sompal provided a lift at the death overs. The fast bowling all rounder hammered four sixes – three of them consecutive in the last over bowled by Karan KC – and two boundaries on his way to making 43 from 20 balls.
He shared 70-run unbeaten partnership with skipper Shakti Gaucha, who contributed 29 off 23 with a six and a four. Mahesh Chhetri was Rhinos next best scorer with 32-ball 32 that included five hits to the fence. Man-of-the-match Sushil Kandel took 3-12 from four overs for Tez.