Rohit Kumar Paudel showed why he is tipped to be the next big thing in Nepali cricket as the youngster struck 31 runs from just 11 balls to hand Bhairahawa Gladiators a four-wicket victory over Lalitpur Patriots in a nail-biting match of the Everest Premier League at the TU Stadium.
It was second consecutive defeat for Patriots who had also lost to Biratnagar Warriors in their second game. For Gladiators, its their second consecutive victory in the tournament having beaten Kathmandu Kings XI .
Rohit, the U-19 cricketer, did the next to impossible when he did the bulk of scoring when Gladiators had need 26 from the last 12 balls.Rohit smashed Mehboob Alam for 18 runs in the 19th over that saw his side fetch 19 runs. Against a firing in pace bowler Subodh Bhati in the last over, Rohit struck a boundary in the fourth ball as Gladiators needed just two runs from the last two. He was run out in the penultimate delivery when Aarif and Rohit ran for two and Krishna Karki top edged the last ball to ignite a wild celebration for Gladiators.
Earlier, Patriots had rode on a half century from Yogesh Nagar to reach a challenging 141-9 in 20 overs. Gladiators won the game in the last ball finishing at 145-6 in 20 overs.
The Gyanendra Malla-led Patriots were yet to settle in the game losing their first three wickets for 39 runs. Gyanendra scored 42 off 29 with three sixes and two boundaries and after him Nagar was the only batsman who did all of the scoring for Patriots. Nagar scored 54 off 33 with seven fours and a six. Dipesh Shrestha took 3-24 from four overs and Punit Mehra (2-17) and Aarif (2-31) shared four wickets between them.
Gladiators had a sluggish start and were reduced to 49-4 in 10.1 overs before a 59-run partnership between Punit Bista and Aarif brought them back in the game. Bista made 50 from 38 balls with five boundaries and two sixes.
Bhati leased life in the game for Patriots removing Bista in the 18th over but what unfolded in the 19th over looked surreal for them. Rohit hit five fours and a six, while Aarif was unbeaten on 27 off 22 with a six and a four.
Nagar took 2-31 from four overs, while Sandeep Lamichhane also took a wicket.