National team skipper Paras Khadka marked his comeback with a blistering half century leading Nepal XI to a 31-run victory over Dhangadhi XI in a charity game that kicked off the Sagarmatha Cement Dhangadhi Premier League (DPL).
Paras bailed out his team together with Basanta Regmi as Nepal XI posted a 161-8 from 20 overs as local boy Bikram Thagunna stole the show with the ball. Dhangadhi XI were restricted to 130-8 after veteran left arm spinner Shakti Gauchan picked three off the first four wickets to fall.
Paras, who had skipper national cricket team's India tour followed by the World Cricket League Championship matches against Kenya and ACC Emerging Teams Cup, was at the focal point after Bikram bowled openers Sagar Pun and Dilip Nath for ducks in the first over.
Paras and Basanta then shared 83 run stand for the third wicket with the latter uncharacterstically hitting four boundaries and three sixes to make 38-ball 43. Paras went on to the share another 63 runs with Sharad Vesawkar (19) lifting the team to a huge total.
Paras hit seven boundaries and four sixes in his 44-ball 68 before falling prey to Bikram who consecutively dismissed Binod Bhandari for a duck in the 18th over.
Dhangadhi XI lost their skipper Padam KC (four) to Sompal Kami in the third over before Sunil Dhamala and Bijay Rana (13) tried to steady the ship with a 47-run stand. Sunil top scored with 34 runs from 30 balls with four boundaries and a six before losing his wicket to Shakti.
Dipendra Singh Airee was the second best scorer for Dhangadhi XI hitting an 18-ball 26 with two fours and as many sixes. Roshan Adhikari (17) was the next best scorer. Apart from Shakti, Sompal also picked up two wickets for Nepal XI.
The match was played to raise funds for children's education of the region's deceased coach Arjun Khadka and Dream Fapla -- a stadium construction project initiated by organisers Dhangadhi Cricket Academy.
The tournament will see two matches on Monday with CYC Attariya taking on Kathmandu Goldens and Biratnagar Kings playing Team Chauraha.