Veteran left-arm spinner Shakti Gauchan-led Jagdamba Giants rode on five crucial contribution to sail into the final of the Ncell Nepal Premier League (NPL) on Thursday.
At the Kanchanpur grounds, Bhupendra Thapa, Naresh Budhayer and Shakti Gauchan shined with the bat before medium pacers set them on course for a 47-run Duckworth/Lewis victory in the first semi-final at the Kanchanpur grounds.
Giants made 193-8 in 50 overs before Nizamuddin Ansari and Suvankar Sanyasi killed off the match by the 17th over reducing Binod Bhandari-led Legends to 32-7. An eighth-wicket stand helped Legends save their blushed but not the match when bad light stopped the play at 136-9 in 42.5 overs.
Giants were 47 runs ahead at that time with 43 balls yet to go in the match but Legends were effectively out of contention. Giants will now meet winners of Friday’s second semi-final match between Kantipur Gurkhas and Panchakanya Tez.
Ansari and Sanyasi wreaked havoc in the top and middle order as Legends batsmen failed to make mark in a crucial encounter. Legends have also lost their league match to Giants by 51 runs.
Openers Sunil Dhamala (nine) and Anil Mandal (four) departed cheaply, while Dilip Nath (duck), Mehboob Alam (two), Rahul Kumar BK (four), Bhandari (four) and Anupam Singh (naught) headed back to the pavilion cheaply.
It was now all left to save the blushes and Rupesh Srivastav and No 9 Chandra Sawad did what their team would have wanted at least. The two frontline seamers added 71 runs for the eighth wicket that helped the team cross triple figures.
Chandra was out for 41 off 79 hitting two fours and a six. Rupesh added another 33 runs with Nischal Pandey (10 not out) before losing his wicket to Sanyasi just before bad light summed up their miserable day.
Rupesh top scored with 47 off 76 hitting five boundaries. Man-of-the-match Nizamuddin returned with an enviable figure of 4-20 from 10 overs that included two maidens and Sanyasi took 3-28 from his 9.5 overs.
Earlier, Giants lost Mahesh Chhetri (19) and Amit Shrestha (four) along with Hashim Ansari (naught) as their scores read 33-3 in 12.3 overs. Bhupendra Thapa and Naresh Budhayer anchored Giants with a 71-run partnership that featured sensible stroke making and patient running between wickets.
Naresh made 32 off 44 with two fours before running himself out in 28th over. Giants soon lost Suvendu Pandey (zero) at 111-5 but Thapa held the innings together collecting 36 runs for the sixth wicket with Shakti.
Legends got the momentum back when they dismissed Bhupendra, Som Pal Kami (duck) and Prem Tamang (seven) in a space of eight runs but Shakti ensured Giants have a respectable total on the board. Shakti made 44 not out from 66 balls hitting five boundaries and shared 37 runs for the ninth wicket with Nizamuddin (three not out).
Thapa was the chief contributor in Giants’ scorecard making 57 off 105 with seven boundaries. Nischal, Rahul Kumar BK and Lal Bahadur Adhikari picked up two wickets each for Legends, while Mehboob Alam had one.