Lions hunt down Champs in low scoring thriller
Sarabjit Singh and Matthew Elliott lead the Chandigarh Lions to a two wicket victory over the Mumbai Champs in a low scoring thriller at the LB Stadium in Hyderabad.
Earlier in the evening, Lions' Skipper Cairns won the toss and elected to field, wanting to take first advantage of the fresh pitch. Some tight bowling in the first couple of overs from the Lions, saw the experienced Tuffey do what he has done all his career, getting a wicket in his first over by scalping the Champs skipper Astle, leaving the Champs in a bit of a bother at 7/1 in the second over. Tuffey struck again sending back the dangerous Raviraj Patil to the Champs dugout without troubling the scorers.
A middle order collapse in form of wickets of the batting mainstay Hasan Raza for 8 and Taufeeq Umar 17, left the Mumbai innings in absolute tatters at 36/4 in the eight over. A twenty eight run partnership between Powar and Morris looked promising till the experienced Mongia trapped Morris in the 12th over, leaving Mumbai struggling to get over the Lions strangle at 64/5.
The gritty south-paw Kiran Powar, was holding one end and a fighting innings of 45 off 42 balls including five fours and one six, saw the Champs fold their innings at 135/6 in their allotted 20 overs. For the Lions, Tuffey was the most successful bowler ending with figures of 2/25.
The Champs bowlers came out firing all cylinders and some controlled seam bowling saw the sub continent specialist Kasprowicz strike early sending back the dashing Vincent for only 1, with the Lions score on three. Kasper struck again trapping the Lions anchor-man TP Singh in the fourth over to bring the match back wide open.
Astle brought himself on in the 7th over and it was just the tonic the Champs needed; scalping three wickets, including the wicket of the dangerous Elliott who had got off to a flier with 38 runs off 32 balls; leaving the Lions in deep trouble at 55/5 in the 10th over. Astle was bowling in the zone scalping skipper Cairns, as his fourth victim to give the Champs the upper for the first time in the match.
Astle ended his four over spell with magical figures of 4/19. With five overs to go, the Lions were placed at 85/6 needing another 51 runs off 30 balls leaving the low scoring encounter wide open. A spirited seventh wicket partnership of 56 runs between Sarabjit Paul & Andrew Hall got the Lions backing the game. The last over saw the match placed preciously with the Lions, needing eight runs off 6 balls and two wickets in hand.
In the end the nail bitter saw the brilliant Sarabjit power the Lions home with a mighty six off the fourth ball of the last over. His unbeaten match winning innings of 41 runs off 22 balls included three fours & sixes.