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Shakti's Challengers bow out

Apr 05, 2018 | Saleena Shrestha |
Rupandehi Challengers notched up their highest team total in the second edition of the Dhangadhi Premier League but the franchise still made an early exit after going down to Mahendranagar United by four wickets on Thursday

Electing to bat first, Challengers made 144-8 in 20 overs on a back of gritty knocks from Pradeep Airee and Sagar Pun. But United gave a perfect reply through their skipper Binod Bhandari and Punit Bista to reach 145-6 with seven balls to spare. 

The fourth consecutive loss means Challengers are out from playoff contention with four other teams on four or more than four points. While Kathmandu Goldens lead the table with six points from three conseuctive victories, United leapfrogged Paras Khadka's Biratnagar Kings at second spot on net run rate. 

United, Kings and Team Chauraha Dhangadhi have four points each with run rate seperating the three teams. CYC Attariya are still in the hunt with two points from three games. Chauraha had lost to Kings by 18 runs in Thursday's first match.

Challengers once again relied on their in-form opener Pradeep Airee after they lost new opener Sonu Ansari (two) in the fourth. Pradeep had made back-to-back half centuries and looked like getting a third one but was trapped leg before wicket by Bista in the 11th over. 

Pradeep made 39 off 32 balls hitting five boundaries and a six while sharing 51 runs for the second wicket with Kushal Malla (15). From 63-3, Sagar Pun and Dipak Prasad (17) took Challengers above triple figures with a 48-run partnership. 

Sagar struck three sixes and a boundary in his 16-ball 28. Bista returned the figures of 4-12 from four overs. Bhuwan Karki, Puneet Mehra, Avinash Karn and Karan KC took a wicket each. 

United had a shaky start after Dipesh Shrestha struck with twin dismissals of Aasif Sheikh (five) and Karan KC (duck) in consecutive deliveries. But Bhandari shared 58 runs for the third wicket with Bista who did the bulk of scoring to make 45 from 22 balls hitting four sixes and three fours. 

Hari Shankar Sah (duck) and Aarif Sheikh (four) lost their wickets but another 37-run partnership between Bhandari and Mehra (16 not out) guided Challengers to safety. Bhandari made 61 off 48 with five boundaries and two sixes. 


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