Chitwan Tigers stunned Gyanendra Malla-led Lalitpur Patriots by five wickets to stay alive in the hunt for the playoffs of the Everest Premier League at the TU Stadium on Saturday.
Batting first, Patriots were bundled out for 130 runs in 20 overs before half centuries from skipper Dipendra Singh Airee and Indian recruit Pravin Gupta led Tigers to 132-5 in 19.2 overs.
It was first victory for Tigers in their fourth match having lost three consecutive games against Pokhara Rhinos, Biratnagar Warriors and Kathmandu Kings XI. They are now tied on two points with Kings XI and have every chance of reaching the playoffs.
Warriors, meanwhile, have already found themselves in the Qualifiers after making certain they would not get toppled from the top of the table following an easy win over Bhairahawa Gladiators early on Saturday. Tigers will play Gladiators in their final league game. Only the top four teams are assured of a spot in the playoffs.
After losing opener Dilip Nath (duck), Sunam Gautam (two) and Sabez Khan (three) to Sunny Patel and Yogendra Singh Karki (naught) to Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi to get reduced to 33-4 in 5.3 overs.
Dipendra and Pravin then shared 81 runs for the fifth wicket to stage a remarkable comeback in the game. Dipendra made 55 off 50 with seven boundaries, while man-of-the-match Gupta was unbeaten on 56 off 43 with four boundaries and two sixes.
Earlier, new opening pair of Shankar Rana and Jaykishan Kolsawala forged a 58-run partnership for the first wicket but it looked sluggish and didn’t help in providing a perfect lift for Patriots.
Kolsawala made a run-a-ball 31 with three boundaries, while Shankar made 27 off 37 with four boundaries. Subodh Bhati hit 23 off eight with three sixes. Sonu Tamang (19) and skipper Gyanendra Malla (10) were other players to make runs in double figures.
Yogendra was the pick of the Tigers bowlers taking 4-31, while Gupta and Pramesh Kumar took two wickets each.