Chitwan Tigers held firm to edge Biratnagar Warriors by two wickets in the final ball for a winning start in the Everest Premier League on Sunday.
In the first match at the TU grounds, collective bowling effort helped Tigers restrict Warriors to 151-9 in 20 overs. Warriors did strike at regular intervals but crucial contributions from the middle order and a sensitive finishing from Rajesh Pulami Magar saw Tigers sail home in the final ball of the innings.
After Pratish GC got rid of Afghan hard-hitter Mohammad Shahzad (one) in the second over and Sikandar Raza removed Ishan Pandey (10), Bhim Sharki led the charge with a swift 11-ball 30.
Bhim looked fluent and hit five fours and a six. Dilip Nath chipped in a 21-ball 23 with two sixes and a four. But it was Rajesh who held the Tigers innings with a 39-ball 43 not out.
Afghan allrounder Karim Jannat also made 19 runs for Chitwan.
Warriors needed just two runs in the final and left arm spinner Anil Kharel tried to pull back conceding just a single and picking up a wicket in the first five deliveries. Rajesh finished it off with a boundary of the last ball.
Raza and skipper Karan KC took two wickets each for Warriors.
Earlier, Sompal gave a dream start to Chitwan getting rid of Aasif Sheikh (duck) and Rayyan Pathan (four) in the first over. Kamal Singh Airee followed the early strikes with the dismissal of Chanderpaul Hemraj (two) reducing Warriors to 9-3.
Raza and Anil Kumar Sah consolidated the innings with a 61-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Anil made a 31-ball 32 with three fours and a six. Sagar Dhakal brought Warriors back in the game with consecutive dismissals of Anil and Sumit Maharjan (duck) before Shahab Alam removed Karan as Warriors were reeling at 73-6.
Raza shared another face saving 51-run partnership with Saurav Khanal and fell for a 47-ball 67 that included seven sixes and two hits to the fence. Saurav played an 11-ball cameo of 30 hitting three fours and two sixes to take Warriors across 150-run mark.
Along with Sompal and Sagar, Karam Jannat and Kamal also took two wickets each for Chitwan. Kamal was the man-of-the-match for his figures of 2-19.