A dominating display from the champions, impressive performance from the home grown talents and a perfect two weeks of cricket, Pokhara Premier League was all about creating great memories on and off the field.
But there were some instances that created iconic moments that will etch in everyone’s memories. Here we are taking you back to those moments
Dipendra is back with the somersault
Dipendra Singh Airee as a cricketer was established along with his peculiar somersault celebration. It was during the U-19 days where he gradually started earning name for himself and concurrently his somersault celebration caught everyone’s attention. But following his back problem due to which he started bowling part time off spinners, the frequency of that iconic celebration has begun to slow down.
That celebration came once again and at a moment when his team Dhangadhi Blues was on dire straits against Biratnagar Titans. Out to defend 15 runs in the final over with explosive Puneet Mehra still in the crease, Dipendra foxed the Indian batsman to bowl. The Nepali allrounder, who was out for a first-ball duck in the first innings, knew he had his man and ran a long way towards short mid wicket and jumped for the somersault. The deal was done as Blues sensationally defended their 117-8 for a slim five-run victory.
Abinash holds nerves yet again
In what was the most intriguing match of the Pokhara Premier League, Butwal Blasters toppled Kathmandu Golden Warriors in a one-over eliminator but not without some heroic effort from death bowler Abinash Bohora. Both teams were tied on 140 runs each and then came the one-over eliminator with second batting side Blasters taking to the crease first.
Warriors did well when Aadil Khan and Basanta Regmi saved two sixes in the third man boundary to restrict Blasters to 12 in six balls. Out there for Warriors in reply were hard-hitting Indian trio of Subodh Bhati, Gaurav Tomar and Jaykishan Kolsawala. Abinash who has now been the hot shot in Nepali domestic cricket with his death blowing exploits proved why he has been called the Yorker king conceding just two runs and picking up a wicket as well.
Another baby gesture from Gyanendra in a batting masterclass
Gyanendra had come into the Pokhara Premier League after scoring a century against Bhutan in the 13th South Asian Games men’s cricket. It was his second century of 2019, having made another ton against Nepal APF Club while playing for Province 3 in the Prime Minister Cup One Day National cricket tournament. During the SA Games men’s cricket in Kathmandu, Gyanendra and his family were recently blessed with a baby girl. He dedicated that century to his daughter. In a repeat of that celebration, the national team skipper was with the same gesture again but this time with an oozing confidence.
He slammed 37-ball century and producing one of the finest innings played by a Nepali cricketer in any match. Such was Gyanendra’s domination in the game that opponents Dhangadhi Blues were down and out before being bundled out for just 79 runs in a 17-over game. The celebration continued to make headlines that day.
Yet to open account in a 50-over stand
When Shankar Rana scored his first run of Butwal Blasters’ match against Dhangadhi Blues, he was given a standing ovation. He might had received standing ovation for 50s but he was applauded for the first time for opening the wicket. No he was not going through a series of ducks, not at all.
His opening partner Aftabuddin Ahmed came in to bat with Shankar struck seven massive sixes in a 22-ball half century, departed when the team had put 53 runs on the board. Shankar was still on naught. So there he was enjoying a unique applause. Shankar was never snail-paced and ended up making a 31-ball 25 in that game. He was rather happy giving Ahmed the strike as the big man was middling the ball perfectly well and making all the runs.
Lokesh Bam’s aggressive celebration
Eventual finalists Biratnagar Titans were considered the minnows before the tournament began. They had a roller coaster ride as their tournament began with a slim five-run defeat in a chase of a below-par 118 against Dhangadhi Blues. Then they stunned defending champions Pokhara Paltan by 45 runs and then fell prey to Kathmandu Golden Warriors by 36 runs.
Needing a victory to stay alive, they needed a win but it was ultimate winners Chitwan Rhinos they were playing against. In a 9:30 start, Rhinos struggled in the morning conditions but courtesy a big partnership from Aarif Sheikh and Sunny Patel reached 146-4. It initially looked a like a casual walk on the park when Rhinos reduced Titans to 37-6 inside nine overs. Then Lokesh signaled his arrival.
He displayed some brutall hitting and proved he has good wrists too smashing a 36-ball 62 almost sealing an improbable victory for Titans who fell short by just 18 runs. His aggressive celebration after reaching the half century said it all as he was bracing a moment of glory he had been waiting for a long time. He was the tournament’s most valuable player.
The only sight left to see
Nepali cricket has seen almost everything, from tears of joy to tears of pain, from tattooed supporters to bullying ones and many. The only thing left was what is mostly seen from Indian cricket team supporters – bowing to touch the feet of their stars. The die hard Indian supporters don’t cease to invade the pitch and touch the feet of legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni. Pokhara Premier League was the day when Nepal graced that sight and who else was going to be bowed other than the legend himself – Paras Khadka.
After Rhinos defeated Titans in the final, two crazy fans invaded the pitch – one wearing Paras’ jersey and the other on a black sweater. The boys ran towards the former national team skipper and clearly showed his affection and respect by bowing in front of Paras to touch his feet. Surprised by his action Paras lifted the fan and hugged him. Everyone was surprised and best iconic moment was captured.
The fan was captain’s namesake Paras Ghimire who was among 62 supporters from Chitwan who booked a bus overnight to watch the final. Overwhelmed after hugging his idol, Paras Ghimire took off the field with tears all around.