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Abinash defends five runs to keep United alive for title

Feb 21, 2019 | CN Staff |

Abinash Bohora bowled a decisive final over and defended five runs to pull off a sensational one-run victory for Mahendranagar United against Rupandehi Challengers in the Dhangadhi Premier League Eliminator on Thursday.

Electing to bat first, United were restricted to 115-9 in 20 overs after left arm seamer Lalit Bhandari took four wickets. In reply, Challengers were racing to victory spurred by a crucial partnership between Binod Bhandari and Pradeep Airee before Abinash's magical bowling stopped Challengers on 114-9 in 20 overs.

Sharad Vesawkar's United advanced to the second Qualifier where they will meet Kathmandu Goldens on Friday. The winners will then meet CYC Attariya in the final on Saturday.

Bowling to new man Basanta Regmi, Abinash began the last over with a dot before the Challengers skipper handed the strike back to Pradeep. After another dot, Pradeep tried to scamper for a double but it resulted in a run out.

With three to win from last two, new man Bikram Sob pulled Abinash at the square leg but ended up handing a catch to Rohit Kumar Paudel as United sniffed an unlikely win. Regmi, who had returned to the crease before the catch was taken, tried to place the final ball down the fine leg but could only manage a single as United complete the most sensational victory of the tournament.

Challengers were in a commanding position at 52-1 inside 10 overs with Babar Hayat still hanging on. Abinash gave United the much-needed breakthrough clean bowling the Hong Kong international for a 29-ball 28 that included two fours and a six.

With the departure of Babar, Challengers lost next four wickets for just 14 runs and got precariously placed at 66-5 in 13.4 overs.

Bhandari and Pradeep then rebuilt the innings with a 37-run sixth wicket stand. Despite Bhandari's departure off spinner Sagar Dhakal, Challengers were still in the edge needing 13 from the last 10. But Abinash's last over completely changed the complexion of the match.

Pradeep made a 20-ball 28 with four boundaries and Bhandari chipped in 23 off 21 with a six and a four. Man-of-the-match Abinash returned the figures of 2-13 from four overs. Mohammad Naveed, Sagar Dhakal and Siddhant Lohani also had one scalp apiece.

Earlier, opener Subramanian Anand (20), Naveed (18) and Aarif Sheikh (11) all got starts but failed to convert. United were looking good at 59-3 before Puneet Mehra's single over jolted United. Mehra took key wickets of Aarif, Rohit Kumar Paudel (two) and Siddhant Lohani (duck) to leave United reeling at 61-6 in 11 overs.

Skipper Sharad hung on till the end and steered United to what ultimately was a defendable total. Sharad faced 38 balls to score 29 and hit two boundaries. He shared a crucial 39-run seventh wicket stand with Amar Singh Routela who made a 20-ball 19 with a six and a four.

Anand's 13-ball 2 was laced with with three fours and a six. Naveed also hit two sixes for United. Naveed -- who batted at No 3 -- smashed two sixes in his 15-ball cameo. Abinash (11 off five) was also their notable contributor.

Lalit took 4-28 from four overs, while Mehra gave away 26 runs. Basanta, who applied brakes on United run flow, took two wickets conceding just seven runs in his four overs that included two maiden.


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