Skipper Paras Khadka rediscovered his touch smashing a 21-ball 42 as Team Chauraha Dhangadhi entered the Sagarmatha Cement Dhangadhi Premier League playoff sprinting to victory over table toppers Rupandehi Challengers in their last league game on Monday.
Needing a big-margin victory against the title contenders, man-of-the-match Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi returned DPL’s most economical figures of 4-2-5-4 retricting Challengers to 91-6 in 20 overs. Chauraha had to reach the target in just 14.3 overs and Paras did the rest before Prithu Baskota sealed the game taking the team to 97-4 in 11 overs.
Chauraha finished fourth in the points table going above Kanchanpur Iconics who had produced a similar victory against CYC Attariya on Sunday to stay alive in the tournament. Above them are Kathmandu Goldens, whom they meet in the Eliminator match on Tuesday, on net run rate.
Goldens, Chauraha, Iconics and Attariya finished on four points each with run rate separating the four teams. Challengers will take on Sharad Vesawkar’s Biratnagar Kings in the Qualifier match, also on Tuesday. While the winner of the Qualifier will reach the final, the loser will meet the winners of the Eliminator on Wednesday.
After losing opener Raju Rijal (13) and Anil Mandal (eight), Paras stepped in and cleared his intent smashing five back-to-back boundaries four of them against Kishor Mahato soon after playing a dot against the same bowler. Paras, out for two consecutive golden duck, also hit two sixes in his innings.
After Paras’ departure, Prithu hit tournament’s most successful bowler Shahab Alam for two consecutive boundaries and a six to seal the game. Shahab took 2-36 from three overs and now has 14 wickets in the tournament.
Earlier, Lalit crippled Challengers’ top order picking up three wickets in a single over. They were soon reduced to 6-42 with only Antim Thapa (11) managing to reach double figures from the middle order.
Challengers could have been folded to tournament’s lowest total when they were 65-6 after the completion of the 19th over. But Prakash KC smashed Aarif Sheikh for two sixes and two boundaries collecting 26 runs from the last over to get his side close to triple figures.
Prakash was unbeaten on 49 off 33 balls with four boundaries and three sixes and forged a 49-run partnership for the seventh wicket with skipper Shakti Gauchan (three not out).