Pokhara Rhinos defeated Kathmandu Kings XI by six wickets for their second victory in the Everest Premier League (EPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament at the TU Stadium on Friday.
Electing to field first, Rhinos bowlers strangulated Kings XI batting from the beginning and restricted them to 98-8 in 20 overs. Pakistani batsman Israrullah led the Rhinos reply with an unbeaten knock leading his team to 102-4 in 18.2 overs.
Rhinos had a strong reply after Sunil Dhamala and Israrullah began with 38-run opening wicket stand. Sunil made 20 off 23 with two fours and a six before he was bowled by Sagar Pun. Kings XI did manage to removed Binod Bhandari (four), Asif Ali (three) and Rajesh Pulami Magar (eight) but Israrullah glued to the crease in producing another match-winning knock.
Israrullah and skipper Shakti Gauchan shared an unbroken 37-run partnership for the fifth wicket to negotiate with the target without much fuss. Israrullah once again top scored for his side with a 48-ball 44 not out. He hit three fours and two sixes.
Shakti was unbeaten on a run-a-ball 18 with three hits to the fence. Sagar returned the figures of 2-19 from four overs for Kings XI. Bikram Kumar Bhushal also had a scalp for Kings XI.
Seamer Bikram Sob had jolted Kings XI, who had bounced back in the tournament with a victory over Chitwan Tigers the other day, early in their innings after he removed opener Amit Shrestha and skipper Farveez Maharoof for duck in the first over.
Sagar and Raju Rijal offered resistance but their sluggish 48-ball partnership fetched Kings XI just 34 runs. Raju was out for 17 off 29 with two boundaries. Kings XI hardly recovered in the game and continued to play under pressure. Sagar top scored with the bat making 36 off 47 with two fours and a six.
Sompal Kami (10) was Kings XI next best scorer, while Bikram Bhushal (eight) hit their second six. Bikram’s three-over spell read 2-11, while skipper Shakti Gauchan (2-20) and Sushan Bhari Shrestha (2-19) also shared four wickets between them.
Man-of-the-match Israrullah conceded 19 runs and picked up a wicket to give an allround display. Israrullah now leads the lists of highest batting and bowling chart with 127 runs and seven wickets.