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Indian duo guarantees Sompal Kami's Blasters Pokhara playoff

Dec 22, 2019 | CN Staff |

Indian duo came to the rescue of Sompal Kami's Butwal Blasters as Aftabuddin Ahmed and Harsh Tonk guaranteed the playoff spot for the franchise in the Pokhara Premier League on Sunday.

In a must-win match against Dhangadhi Blues, Ahmed smashed a whirlwind half century and Tonk chipped in with a 21-ball 40 as Blasters emerged seven-wicket victors to seal the playoff spot. Butwal are second in the table with six points from four matches two adrift of leaders Chitwan Rhinos.

Rhinos, who toiled for the first time in the tournament while registering an 18-run victory over Biratnagar Titans, have put their one foot in the final with eight points and a solid net run rate with one round competition left in the league.

Kathmandu Golden Warriors are third in the table with four points from four games, in a prime position to seal the third available spot for the playoffs with Titans, Pokhara Paltan and Blues still in the fray.

On Sunday, it was once again Ahmed who set the tone for Blasters' easy victory. Coming into the match after scoring more than 60 percent in Blasters' comfortable chase of 122 against Pokhara Paltan, Ahmed continued his sublime form.

He struck seven sixes – three consecutive against spinner Sagar Dhakal – in a blazing knock of 23-ball 52 as Blasters raced towards Blues' mundane total of 140 all out. Such was Ahmed's domination in the game that his opening partner Shankar Rana was yet to open the accout when he was dismissed in the fifth over.

After Ahmed's departure Tonk stepped in to smashe four sixes and three boundaries before another Indian recruit Shivan Singh (15 not out) and Bhim Sharki (seven) sealed the chase. Shankar scored a 31-ball 25 with three fours.

Anil Kharel was the only Blues bowler to have been spared in the game as the spinner returned with highly impressive figures of 2-13 in four overs.

Earlier, Blasters pace attack did all the damage when they began by reducing Blues to 13-3 in 3.3 overs. Captain Dipendra Singh Airee and Sundeep Jora defied the attack with an 87-run fourth wicket partnership before a suicidal run out of the latter slowed down their innings.

Dipendra top scored for Blues with a 45-ball 61 hitting six boundaries and two sixes. Jora chipped in with a 32-ball 39. He struck four boundaries and a six. Man-of-the-match Abinash Bohora took 4-26 from 3.5 overs for Blasters. Lalit Singh Bhandari snared 3-19 from his four.


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