Bhairahawa Gladiators fixed Qualifiers date with Biratnagar Warriors with a four-wicket victory over Chitwan Tigers on Tuesday at the TU Stadium.
Electing to field first, Gladiators restricted Tigers to a tournament-low 87-9 in 20 overs before reaching 88-6 in 18. 3 overs.
The fourth consecutive victory ensured Gladiators finish at the second spot and will meet Warriors in the Qualifier on Wednesday. The winners of the Qualifier will enter the final and the losing side will clash Wednesday’s winner of the Eliminator yet to be decided.
The defeat officially ended Tigers campaign in the tournament. Paras Khadka-led Warriors had won all their five league games to finish at the top of the table. Warriors accumulated eight points from four games.
Skiper Sharad Vesawkar set the tone for Gladiators as he came to bowl the first over and strangulated Tigers batting line up. Captain Dipendra Singh Airee looked in good touch hitting two boundaries and a six but lost his wicket to Hari Shankar Sah stumped by wicketkeeper Bhupendra Thapa for 15 off 14 balls.
Yogendra Singh Karki also made a 14-ball 15 with a six and a hit over the fence before getting bowled by man-of-the-match Sharad who returned the miserly figures of 3-12 in four overs.
Lalit Singh Bhandari (13) and Aakash Thapa (11) were other Tigers batsmen to reach double figures. Hari Shankar and Bhuwan Karki also took two wickets each for Gladiators with Punit Mehra also getting a wicket.
Gladiators went through an early wobble in their chase losing openers Pradeep Airee (one), Pratham Salunke (duck) and Bhupendra — playing his first match of the tournament — to get reduced to 22-3. Bhupendra hit a six in his 15-ball 13.
With a place in the playoffs already secured and low total to defend, Sharad decided promote Rohit Kumar Paudel up the order. Rohit and Punit consolidated the innings taking Gladiators close to victory only to lose their wickets in a spell of four runs.
Punit made 30 off 29 with three boundaries and Rohit scored 20 off 40 with two hits to the fence. Sharad Vesawkar (eight) and Krishna Karki (nine not out) sealed Gladiators’ fourth victory in the league stage.
Shahab Alam and Dipendra Singh Airee took two wickets each for Tigers, while Praveen and Kamal Singh Airee had one scalp apiece.