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Krishna, Alam upstage Kushal all round heroics

Seamer Krishna Karki and spinner Shahab Alam shadowed the all round heroics from Kushal Bhurtel as Rupandehi Challengers edged Kanchanpur Iconics by 14 runs in the second match of the Sagarmatha Cement Dhangadhi Premier League (DPL) on Monday.

After a strong start, Shakti Gauchan-led Challengers managed to reach 145-8 in 20 overs before Krishna and Shahab shared six wickets between them to restrict Iconics to 131-9.

Openers Sagar Pun and Sunil Dhamala gave Iconics a modest start adding 52 runs for the first wicket but they struggled once they lost the latter in the 10th over. Sunil made 28 off 35 with two fours and a six before losing wicket to Alam.

Alam soon removed Hasim Ansari (three) and Shakti’s dismissal of Iconics skipper Binod Bhandari (six) left them in tatters. Dipesh Shrestha then removed hard-hitting Sonu Tamang (one) cheaply and Krishna got rid of Sagar but Kushal kept Iconics in the hunt smashing big runs.

Kushal struck 13-ball 27 with three fours and two sixes before edging to Krishna in the 19th over. No 11 batsman Avinash Karn struck two fours and a six in his nine-ball 15 not out but by then the game had already slipped from Iconics.

Sagar made 39 off 38 with two fours and as many sixes. Apart from Krishna (3-26) and Shahab (3-8), Shakti also snapped 2-25 for Challengers.

Earlier, Hari Shankar Sah and Shankar Rana gave Challengers a dream start after they conbined for a 60-run stand in the first six overs. But things changed after Sunil removed Shankar and Kushal affected a run out of Hari in a space of four runs.

Hari made 33 off 24 with four boundaries and two sixes, while Shankar scored 19 off 18 with three boundaries. Kushal wreaked havoc in the middle order picking up four wickets to apply brakes in Challengers’ run flow.

Prakash KC, one of the victims of Kushal, was the second best scorer for Challengers making a 23-ball 26 with a six and a four. Shakti (16) and Bikram Sob (15) helped their side go close to 150-run mark. Avinash Karn also picked up two wickets for Iconics.

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