Old leggie Raj Kumar Pradhan sucked out all aggression from the youth to demolish Jagdamba Giants handing Panchakanya Tez the inaugural 50-over Ncell Nepal Premier League title on Saturday.
On a pitch that becomes worn out after the first innings, it was spinners who controlled the game for Tez and Raj Kumar was the chief tormentor picking up 6-42 to shape his team’s 97-run final victory at the Fapla grounds in Dhangadhi.
Opener Sanjay Shrestha struck an attractive half century lifted Tez to 200 all out in 50 overs. It was all an spinners’ show that saw Giants packed up for just 103 runs in 31.4 overs.
Bhuwan Karki provided an early breakthrough removing opener Amit Shrestha (one) before a tiny recovery kept Giants in the match. Mahesh Chhetri (12) and Bhupendra Thapa added 31 runs for the second wicket until Rajkumar joined the act.
Rajkumar dismissed both set batsmen in a single over and followed it with the scalp of Hashim Ansari (four) reducing Giants to 44-4 in 16.1 overs. Bhupendra made 22 off 40 with three hits to the fence.
Rajkumar soon got rid of new man Suvendu Pandey (7) with Giants requiring someone who can save the match and probably secure the title. Naresh Budhayer gave a glimpse playing maneuvering the ball towards the boundary line frequently but once Sushil Kandel undid him, Giants were all but out of contention.
Naresh made 29 off 34 with three fours and a six and after him Giants lost their last four wickets for just 23 runs. Raj Kumar and Sushil did the remaining job for Tez.
Man-of-the-final finished with the figures of 6-42 from 7.4 overs, while Sushil returned with 3-25 from eight overs. Bhuwan was once again economical in his 1-13 from six overs.
Earlier, Tez needed a boost from their top order and Sanjay provided it when he shared 49 runs for the second wicket after they lost opener Indra Kamal Manandhar (three) cheaply.
Pun and new man Puspa Thapa (one) headed back to the pavilion in successive over in a space of one run but Sanjay held firm adding another 42 with Aarif Sheikh (12).
As the partnership looked like building between Sanjay and Aarif, Tez were shell-shocked when they lost Sanjay, Aarif and Bhuwan in a space of 12 runs with scores reading 118-6.
Sharad rescued the team once again with a 38-run partnership with Dipendra Airee. Dipendra chipped in some crucial runs at the end pushing Tez to 200 runs. Sharad contributed 45 off 68 with three sixes and a four, while Dipendra made 23 from 51 with a six. Raj Kumar hit two fours in his six-ball 10 not out.
Shuvankar Sanyasi tightened the screw with 3-31 from 10 overs. Shakti Gauchan (2-25), Som Pal Kami (2-37), Nizamuddin Halwai (2-50) and Prem Tamang (1-53) were amongst the wicket takers.
AFTER THE FINAL
Panchakanya Tez (WINNERS): Rs 200,000
Jagdamba Giants (RUNNERS-UP): Rs 100,000
Man-of-the-series Bhuwan Karki of Panchakanya Tez – 85 runs 14 wickets from seven matches. Rs 21,000
TOP THREE BOWLING PERFORMANCE
Sushan Bhari Shrestha (Vishal Warriors) – 6-35 versus Kantipur Gurkhas
Bhuwan Karki (Panchakanya Tez) – 6-40 versus Colors X-Factors
Raj Kumar Pradhan (Panchakanya Tez) – 6-42 versus Jagdamba Giants
TOP THREE BATTING PERFORMANCE
Binod Bhandari (Sagarmatha Legends) – 98 versus Vishal Warriors
Pushpa Thapa (Panchakanya Tez) – 91 versus Colors X-Factors
Gyanendra Malla (Colors X-Factors) – 77 versus Vishal Warriors