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Royals ease to big win, eye top spot

Nov 02, 2018 | CN Staff |
Kathmandu Royals eased to a 37-run victory over table toppers Butwal Blasters to inch closer to the top spot of the Pokhara Premier League at the Pokhara Stadium on Friday. 
Electing to bat first, Royals amassed 172-4 with a quickfire half century from Naresh Budhayer. Blasters, who were at the top of the table overnight, were restricted to 135-9 slumping to the fifth spot and now stare elimination. 

Royals, who are still not assured of top three spot but now have all the chances with healthy run rate and six points, can also seal a place in the final if they defeat Pokhara Paltan on Sunday. Dhangadhi Blues, also on six points having played all their league matches, are second on net run rate but a poor net run rate can see them crash out if results from Sunday's matches don't go their way. 

Paltan and Chitwan Rhinos, who play Biratnagar Titans on Sunday, have are tied on four points each with the former sitting third. Paltan are under pressure to beat Royals and if bottom-placed Titans produce stunning huge-margin victory over Rhinos and other results go their way, they can also make it through.

It will now only be a waiting game for Blasters who now have four points and slim net run rate. They will require all results on Sunday go their way.

In the day's second match at the Pokhara Stadium, opener Jay Kishan Kolsawala made some runs from the top order before man-of-the-match Naresh took them to a winning total. Kolsawala shared 34 runs for the second wicket with Pawan Sarraf (22) and 39 with Naresh for the fourth before losing his wicket to Bipin Khatri. 

Kolsawala made 45 off 35 with three fours and two sixes. Naresh then added 67 unbeaten runs for the fifth wicket with skipper Gyanendra Malla. He made 28-ball 58 not out with five sixes and three fours. Gyanendra chipped in a 13-ball 25 with two fours and a six. Bipin Khatri took two wickets for Blasters who were without their regular seamer Lalit Singh Bhandari due to injury.

Blasters lost Sagar Pun (one) early in the game before Rohan Mustafa and his UAE teammate Chirag Suri (11) shared 51 runs for the second wicket to keep their side in the game. Mustafa kept on connecting the ball with his bat but Blasters kept losing wickets from the other end before the UAE skipper himself was undone by Basanta Regmi. 

Mustafa made 61 off 51 with five fours and four sixes. Siddhant Lohani (13) was their next best scorer. Amar Singh Routela took 3-23 from four overs for Royals. Basanta and Nandan Yadav also took two wickets each.


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