September 22, Kathmandu. Bajaj Pulsar is pitted against Chitwan Tigers and Pokhara Rhinos for the title of Everest Premier League (EPL) 2021 on Saturday.
As both teams reach the final for the first time, the fourth edition of the EPL will get a new winner. Earlier, Panchkanya became the fast champion in the first edition. At that time there was competition in the corporate style.
In the second edition, Viratnagar Warriors won the title and in the third edition Lalitpur Patriots won the title. This time both the teams are out of the league stage.
In the pre-match conference of the final match on Friday at the TU ground, the captains of both the teams said that they are ready for the final.
Chitwan captain Sompal Kami and Pokhara captain Binod Bhandari said they would rather play the game than think about the final.
Chitwan and Pokhara have met twice before. In which both the games were won by Chitwan. But both the captains said that this will not affect the final.
“The final is thinking a lot about the league. In the final, the team that plays the best wins. Both the teams that reached the final are good. The one who plays well tomorrow will win,” said Pokhara captain Binod Bhandari.
Similarly, Chitwan captain Sompal Kami said that one should not think about the past. ‘I think the past is the past. It’s more like a game than a final for me. The player gets to play the match. We are very happy. I’m sure ‘
Sompal has already won the Dhangarhi Premier League title under his captaincy. So he also asked to inspire.
At the same time, Pokhara’s captain Binod Bhandari has reached the final of the franchise league for the first time despite winning the title in other competitions. He said that he would play without thinking like that. “If you play thinking that you played the EPL final for the first time, there is extra pressure. So there is a lot of thinking going on. But there is pressure in the finals,” he said.
This time famous players like former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi came in EPL. About two dozen players, including Afridi, played in the EPL at the TU ground.
Sompal and Binod said that Nepalese players have got an opportunity to learn a lot with the arrival of foreign players.
In the league stage, Pokhara stood first with 8 points after winning 4 out of 5 games while Pokhara was second with 7 points after 3 wins and 1 draw. In the league, Pokhara lost only to Chitwan.
In the first qualifier, Chitwan defeated Pokhara to reach the final. Pokhara, on the other hand, won the final match with Chitwan by defeating Bhairahwa Gladiators in the second qualifier.
Earlier, both the matches between Chitwan and Pokhara were easily won by Chitwan. After Mohammad Shahzad and Bhim Sharkey’s half-centuries in the league stage, Chitwan completed Pokhara’s set target of 124 runs for the loss of just one wicket in 16.4 overs.
In the first qualifier, Chitwan beat Pokhara by 66 runs to register a 9-wicket win. Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad and Karim Jannat are performing well in Chitwan.
Similarly, Sekuge Prasanna of Sri Lanka and Bhirandeep Singh of Malaysia are also foreign players. Shahzad is at the top in terms of scoring the most runs. He has scored 196 runs in 6 matches including 1 half-century. Sompal Kami, Bhim Sarkar, Singh Eri, Sagar Dhakal, Shahab Alam, Rajesh Pulmi Magar and other Nepali youth players are performing well for Chitwan. Chitwan’s Sagar Dhakal is leading with 13 wickets. Chitwan’s Karim is second with 9 wickets. Shahab and Kamal have taken the same 8 wickets.
Sri Lankans Sahan Archige and Asela Gunaratne from Pokhara are doing well. Other overseas players include Richard Levy of South Africa and Kejrik Williams of West Indies. Levy is the fourth highest run-scorer with 155 runs. Young all-rounder Vivek Yadav is doing well for Pokhara. He scored 112 runs and took 4 wickets.