Gulbarga Mystics picked up a brilliant 28 run victory over Mangalore United in the Maharaja Trophy KSCA T20 Cricket Tournament at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Friday.
It was an important win for Gulbarga Mystics as it kept them in the hunt for the knockout stage next week. With their fifth victory in eight matches, the Mystics reached the summit with 10 points, as did Bengaluru Blasters and Mysore Warriors at the end of eight matches for the six teams in contention, with the top four entering the knockout stage .
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The Blasters lead with a better net run rate, followed by the Mystics and Warriors.
Chasing a rigid target of 165 for the win, United’s batsmen found the ground difficult early on and the loss of three early wickets in the seventh made it all the more difficult.
Abhinav Manohar (51, 34 balls, 4×2, 6×3) kept United in pursuit with a grappling shot, but once he was kicked off the first ball from the 18th, the target was out of reach of the fragile United Tail. A desperate Manohar went after a short wide delivery from young leg spinner Kushaal Wadhwani but only managed to nick it to KL Shrijith.
K. Shashi Kumar made a daring bid for an unlikely win by crushing Wadhwani three successive limits from the last three balls of the same over, but it was, as the saying goes, too little too late.
The young Wadhwani was again impressive, finishing with numbers of 3-48.
Earlier in the opening rounds, captain Manish Pandey came on nicely when it mattered most to lead Gulbarga Mystics to a 164-6 fight. While an all-around performance from CA Karthik who scored 38 of 32 and bagged two wickets giving just nine runs helped seal the game for Mystics.
Coming in at bat with his team down a little 55-for-four in the eighth, Pandey took time to settle into a key matchup.
More at stake was a place in the playoffs with the winners joining top-ranked Bengaluru Blasters and Mysore Warriors with 10 points apiece and two matches remaining for the six teams in contention.
The Mystics started off quite shaky to lose two first wickets in the fourth after being batted by United. Fly-half Devdutt Padikkal, who led his team to a fine victory less than 24 hours ago by hitting 61 78 balls routinely against the Blasters, was uncharacteristically flustered as the odd ball lay low.
After a blissful life at the crease for a calm 25 out of 22 balls (4×4), the young southpaw perished to an arm ball from K. Shashi Kumar who got in his way and slipped out to hit the stumps.
Pandey, forever remembered for being the first Indian batsman to score a century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2009, found a capable partner in Ajit Karthik (38, 32 balls, 4×3, 6× 1) and the two added 82 runs for the sixth wicket before the India international (58, 48 balls, 4×4, 6×2) perished for a big hit and got caught on the long fence with the score on 139 and 10 balls to spare.
But Ritesh Bhatkal provided the much needed pyrotechnics, firing the first ball he faced longer for a six. He hammered another maximum, flat and hard on the deep midwicket from the third ball of the last over and finished with a flourish – a thick limit on the third man court as Gulbarga finished on a difficult 164 for six.
Gulbarga Mystics 164-6 (Devdutt Padikkal 25, Manish Pandey 58, Ajit Karthik 38*, Ritesh Bhatkal 18*; HS Sharath 2-43, Vijaykumar Vyshak 2-31) bt Mangalore United 136 all in 18.4 overs (Abhinav Manohar 51, Sujay Sateri 22; Ajith Karthik 2-9, Pranav Bhatia 2-26, Kushaal Wadhwani 3-48) by 28 points
Shivamogga Attackers 146-5 (BR Sharath 36, Stalin Hoover 38, Siddharth 23, S Chaitanya S 32; V Koushik 2-29) lost to Hubli Tigers 149-2 in 17.2 overs (Luvnith Sisodia 62, BU Shiva Kumar 61*) by eight wickets.
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