By Sudharsan Ramarao
Gujarat Lions Edge Past DB-ES In A Thriller
Winning the toss and electing to bat, DB-ES posted a modest total of 121 and got all out in their 28th over. Sai Kiran Manthuri, their talismanic allrounder, played a breezy innings of 25 that included a four and a six.
None of the other batsman could carry on to a big score as the Gujarat Lions kept taking wickets regularly. The Lions skipper, Bhavik Dalsania picked up 4 wickets while Sujit Reddy picked up 3 wickets.
Chasing a comfortable 122 to win, Gujarat Lions started on a disastrous note losing their top 5 wickets for just 29 runs. Their cream of their batting was all back in the shed even before the innings could take off.
That’s when Ajaypal Reddy and Kalpesh Kathriya joined hands and stitched together a fighting partnership. Both took their time to settle in and cashed on the loose deliveries on offer.
They put together a 52-run partnership when Kalpesh got cleaned up by Dilip Kalepalli. That wicket opened the door for DB-ES as they picked up crucial wickets and put pressure on the Gujarat Lions.
But Ajaypal Reddy stood firm on the other end and accumulated valuable runs. He brought up his first half century in 71 balls and steered the Lions to a tense victory over DB-ES. And for this match winning effort of scoring 51 runs in 71 balls, Ajaypal Reddy was adjudged the man of the Match.
JETS Post A Comfortable Win Against The United Warriors
Batting first after being put in by the warriors, the JETs showed off their batting might by posting a whopping 193 in their 30 overs. While their batting mainstay Chakradhar Reddy chipped in once again with a telling contribution of 48 from 41 balls, it was their other all-rounder Pardha Phani Mantana who stole the show.
Having had limited opportunities to bat in the earlier games, Pardha coming it at 6 showcased his batting talent by scoring an explosive 56 off just 28 balls that included 3 boundaries and 4 huge sixes. Varun Mathukumalli coming in at 3 contributed a steady 38. For the Warriors Rahul Dhole was the pick of the bowlers returning with figures of 29 for 2 in 6 overs.
Chasing an improbable 194 to win, United warriors made a good attempt but fell short by 38 runs. Nirav Mistry made a breezy 37 while Naveen Punyala made 22. For the JETS, it was their Off-spinner Vishal Sridhar, their main keeper as well, who picked up 4 wickets for just 21 runs.
Vishal has been in fine wicket taking form this season, breaking crucial partnerships and cleaning up the tail. For his brilliant all-round performance that included an explosive half century and tidy spell of medium pace bowling, Pardha Phani Mantana was adjudged the Man of the match.
Highlanders Knock Off Knights In A Close Game
Batting first after being put in, the Knights of Albany started off cautiously, built momentum slowly, survived a middle order collapse and finished on a decent total of 139 courtesy of a good lower order hitting. Knights skipper Raj Ardham and in form opener Ruthvik Vemareddy started off on a cautious note trying to negotiate the early swing on offer with the new ball. Ruthvik then missed a flick off a full toss ball from Saeed Ahmad that was crashing on to the stumps and was adjudged LBW.
Saravanan Manickvasagam, the hero of the just concluded Mayors cup finals, then joined hands with the skipper. Saro and Raj continued to build on the cautious start. Raj looked well set when he lofted a slower ball from Highlanders Skipper Ashok Adikoppula for a huge six over a midwicket. But soon, he lost his stumps to Bilal Zadran when trying to go for a big one in the same region.
Vamsidhar Varmakonda, their all-rounder, then came in and played like he was on a mission. Hitting the ball from the middle of the bat from Ball 1, Vamsi played glorious strokes on the offside, driving the balls over the field and thru the field. He and Saro kept the scoreboard ticking with smart running as well. Knights were 83 for 2 at the end of 17 overs.
With still plenty of batting left and two set batsmen in the crease, Knights would have fancied to take on the Highlanders bowling to post a big score. But to the contrary the Highlander spinners, Javed Safi and Hiren Kakadiya put on a choke hold by drying up the runs and then picking up wickets with the built-up pressure.
As a result, the Knights lost 5 wickets in quick succession forcing them to do a rear-guard effort. Rahul Aggarwal coming in at 9 and Arun Ghanta, their vice-captain, stitched together a fighting partnership for the 9th wicket and gave the total a modicum of respect. Rahul played the aggressor, hitting the ball sweet and picked up 3 boundaries in the process. For the Highlanders, Hiren picked up 3 wickets for 13 runs in his 6 overs while Javed Safi and Saeed Ahmad picked up 2 wickets each.
Chasing 140 to claim their first win in 3 games, the Highlanders were in for a rude shock as they lost their batting mainstay Shahzad Butt in the very first ball of the innings courtesy of a brute of a ball from Vamsi that bounced and caught Shahzad by surprise. Rahul Kadle, coming in at 3 and Sudharsan Ramarao, the other opener, then came together to build what would become a match winning partnership.
Rahul, a classical cricketer who thrives on playing scorching drives, was back to his best driving and pulling bowlers to all parts of the ground. He lofted anything that was pitched up over the inner circle and pulled with disdain anything pitched that was pitched short.
As a result, the Highlanders, recovered from the early set back and posted 60 runs from the first 10 overs. Sudharsan on the other end played second fiddle, defending and rotating strike. Once the field spread for the spinners, the duo resorted to taking singles and playing risk free cricket.
Highlanders were 85 for 1 in their 17th over when Rahul Aggarwal produced back to back wickets dismissing Sudharsan and Saeed Ahmad in 2 balls. Arun Ghanta then bowled a well-set Rahul the very next over to make things more interesting. Javed Safi, the big hitting allrounder, then came in at number 6 and dismissed any notions of a Knight comeback by playing a counter attacking innings.
In his brief stay, Javed scored an aggressive 23 that included 3 boundaries and a trade mark six over midwicket and brought Highlanders on the verge of a fine victory. But he got out while trying to finish the game soon to a well-directed delivery from Karthick. Highlanders lost 2 more wickets but were well in control of the target as they romped home in the first ball of the last over.
For his match winning innings of 46 that included 5 boundaries and a six, Rahul Kadle was adjudged the Man of the match.