Home Feature Everest Premier League 2021: Final – Chitwan Tigers vs Pokhara Rhinos – Preview

Everest Premier League 2021: Final – Chitwan Tigers vs Pokhara Rhinos – Preview

Everest Premier League 2021:  Final – Chitwan Tigers vs Pokhara Rhinos – Preview
(Credit: Kathmandu Post)

Formidable Chitwan Tigers and resurgence Pokhara Rhinos will lock horns in what is expected to be an exciting final of the 4th edition of Bajaj Pulsar Everest Premier League. Pokhara Rhinos wants to turn the table this time when these two teams will clash with each other at TU International Cricket Ground on 9th October, to lift up the prestigious EPL trophy. On the other hand, sanguine Chitwan Tigers will look to continue their winning run in the final action of the tournament.

Chitwan thrashed Pokhara by 9 wickets in the first qualifier to book their place in the final, before setting foot in the playoffs after being on the top of the points table. Pokhara Rhinos then, after being thrashed in the first qualifier registered a cakewalk victory against the hapless Bhairahawa Gladiators in the eliminator to meet again with the Chitwan Tigers in the final. They look to have their confidence back coming in the business end of the tournament, which means it won’t be easy for Chitwan this time unlike in their previous two rendezvous.

Bowling has been the mainstay of Chitwan, especially the spin duo of Sagar Dhakal and Sahab Alam. Sagar Dhakal, who has been troubling every opponent batter, is the leading wicket-taker of the tournament with 13 wickets in his name. He’s been well accompanied by another left-arm spinner Sahab Alam, who has bagged 8 wickets so far. Both of the spinners have the economy rate of less than 6 which is exceptionally good in this format of the tournament. They’re well assisted by the pacers as well.

Chitwan’s foreign fast bowling acquisition, Karim Janat along with youngster Kamal Singh Airee and skipper Sompal Kami have been impressive so far, having taken 21 wickets altogether. Pokhara has to come up with something different to retort the tough questions of Chitwan’s bowling. Chitwan too can’t afford to have the off day of any bowler when it matters the most.

Chitwan’s batting heavily relied on the destructive opener of Afghanistan, Mohammad Shahzad, who is also the highest run-scorer of the tournament with 196 runs from just 6 matches. He’s got the support of Bhim Sharki and Rajesh Pulami Magar, who’ve performed well on a few occasions. However, their middle-order hasn’t been tasted yet and looked a bit shaky in some matches.

Fans at the TU cricket ground will expect to see the explosive batting of Shahzad this time as well. Runs are coming from his blade but fans are yet to see the flawless hitting of him. Their skipper also needs to step up and deliver with the bat as well. Chitwan should ensure that there won’t be any middle-order collapse.

Pokhara Rhinos, led by Binod Bhandari will take a long breath as their foreign recruitments have been performing well for them. Srilankan Sahan Arachchige and Asela Gunaratne will have a big onus on their shoulders against Chitwan. They should showcase their all-round performance in the grand finale as well. Richard Levi hasn’t been able to convert his start into the big innings.

The big man from South Africa, Levi should give a brisk start to the Rhinos to put pressure on the Chitwan’s bowlers right from the start. His opening partner, Rit Gautam is yet to contribute anything for his side which is a really worrying thing for them. It’ll be exciting to see how they’ll play against the spin duo of Dhakal and Alam. Pokhara will expect their skipper to step up in the final, whose bat has been so quiet so far. His role in the middle order will be crucial for the Rhinos.

The performance of the young all-rounder, Bibek Kumar Yadav has been really commendable, be it with bat or ball. His role is gonna be crucial for them as well. Bipin Rawal, who was instrumental in their previous victory against Gladiators is a great positive sign for Pokhara coming into this match. Pokhara batters need to find a way against this strong Chitwan’s bowling.

Pokhara’s bowling has been good in the business end of the tournament. Fast bowlers Kishor Mahato, Nandan Yadav and Bikram Sob have done well so far. They need to get rid of Shahzad early to put more pressure on Chitwan’s batting. It’ll be really difficult to stop this inform Chitwan’s batting lineup for them.

So, the final of Everest Premier League has a lot in store for us. Will Chitwan continue their dominance over Pokhara or will Pokhara stun Chitwan this time?

Predicted Playing XI

Chitwan’s predicted XI: Mohammad Shahzad ( WK ), Hasim Ansari, Karim Janat, Sompal Kami ( C ), Bhim Sharki, Seekkuge Prasanna, Rajesh Pulami Magar, Dilip Nath, Kamal Singh Airee, Sahab Alam, Sagar Dhakal

Pokhara’s predicted XI: Richard Levi, Rit Gautam / Sunil Dhamala / Sushan Bhari, Sahan Arachchige, Lokesh Bam, Bipin Rawal, Bibek Yadav, Binod Bhandari ( WK and C ), Asela Gunaratne, Nandan Yadav, Kishor Mahato

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