Sompal Kami ripped through pre-tournament favourites Chitwan Rhinos led by Paras Khadka leading Butwal Blasters to a crushing 70-run victory on the second day of the Pokhara Premier League on Saturday.
Put in to bat first at the Pokhara Stadium, opener Sagar Pun and Shankar Rana did the bulk of scoring lifting Blasters to 135-6 in 20 overs. Their skipper Kami then wreaked havoc in the top and middle order as Rhinos stunningly collapsed to 65 all out in 16.5 overs.
Blasters had a disastrous start in the day losing their first three wickets for just 10 runs and Rhinos began similarly when Kami began with a duck dismissal of opener Anil Sah. Skipper Khadka hit two boundaries to clear his intentions but left arm seamer Lalit Singh Bhandari struck in the same over to dismiss opener Sonu Tamang.
Kami marked a brilliant day getting Khadka (10) caught at first slip from Pun and followed the dismissal getting rid of Aarif Sheikh (naught) the very next ball with same fashion. He then dismissed Smit Patel (two) and Bhandari sent back Sunny Patel (nine) the next over reducing the opponents to 21-6 from where Rhinos hardly recovered.
No 10 batsman Bhuwan Karki topscored for Rhinos with a 26-ball 19 hitting two boundaries. Man-of-the-match Kami’s figures read 4-13 from four overs. Earlier, Karan KC gave an early breakthrough removing Blasters’ foreign recruits – the United Arab Emirates pair of Chirag Suri (one) and Rohan Mustafa (duck) – in consecutive deliveries. Ramnaresh Giri then dismissed Bhim Sharki (two) before Pun and Rana resisted.
The two batsmen shared an all-important 68 runs for the fourth wicket to lay the foundation for a challenging total. Pun made 46 from 48 with three fours and two sixes. After his departure, Rana shared another 50 runs for the fifth wicket with Siddhant Lohani (17) before running himself out in the 19th over. Rana scored 48 off 41 with five fours and a six.
Later in the day, Indian recruit Gaurav Tomar smashed 10 sixes in his blistering 44-ball 95 giving Kathmandu Royals a 17-run victory over Dhangadhi Blues. Electing to bat first, Tomar’s innings took Royals to tournament second best team total of 180-3 in 20 overs.
Blues’ chase hinged on their skipper Dipendra Singh Airee and after he was dismissed in the 18th over, they were stopped at 163-8. Blues batsmen got the start but failed to convert them before they were reduced to 98-5 in 12.3 overs. Sandeep Jora played a cameo of an 11-ball 27 with three sixes and a four for them.
Airee shared 52 runs for the sixth wicket with Saurav Khanal (17) to keep his team alive. However, Tomar bowled a tight 18th over conceding just two runs and picking up a wicket of Saurav Khanal leaving Blues with 30 to win from the last two overs.
Basanta Regmi produced the magic delivery next over clean bowling Airee as Blues’ challenge virtually ended. Airee made 54 off 42 balls with three fours and as many sixes. Amar Singh Routela, Sushan Bhari Shrestha and Basanta Regmi took two wickets each for Royals.
Royals’ total was built around man-of-the-match who shared 51 runs for the second wicket with Jay Kishan Kolsawala (25) and a match winning 97 runs for the third with Naresh Budhayer. Budhayer chipped in 36 off 24 with two sixes and as many boundaries.
Butwal Blasters 135-6 in 20 overs (S Rana 48, S Pun 46; K KC 2-22, S Gauchan 1-28) beat Chitwan Rhinos 65 all out in 16.5 overs (B Karki 19, P Khadka 10; S Kami 4-13, LS Bhandari 2-14) by 70 runs Man-of-the-match: S Kami (Blasters)
Kathmandu Royals 180-3 in 20 overs (G Tomar 95, N Budhayer 36 not out; DS Airee 1-15, P Trego 1-25) beat Dhangadhi Blues 163-8 in 20 overs (DS Airee 54, S Jora 27; AS Routela 2-19, B Regmi 2-29) by 17 runs
Man-of-the-match: G Tomar (Royals)