Tigers claim third victory in a row
The in-form Royal Bengal Tigers mauled the Mumbai Champs by 12 runs to claim their third victory in a row at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Earlier in the day, McMillan won the toss and elected to bat. The Champs' new ball bowlers, Kasprowicz & Van der Wath came up with disciplined bowling performance restricting the Tigers to 16 for no loss at the 3rd over stage.
The Tigers' openers soon found their groove and with some aggressive stroke play, especially from the dangerous Hamish Marshall, reached the fifty run mark in the 7th over without any loss.
Marshall was taking the attack to the Mumbai bowlers brining his second fifty of the tournament off only 30 balls. It finally took the debutant leggie Sridhar Iyer, to get the breakthrough in the form of Deep Dasgupta's wicket in the 10th over. At the half way mark of their innings Tigers were in the drivers' seat at 84/1.
Iyer struck again getting the dangerous Marshall, in the 12th over to get the Champs back in the reckoning as the Tiger's score stood at 91/2. Marshall's brilliant knock of 55 came off 38 balls and included 4 fours and 3 sixes. The twin spin attack was working well for the Champs when their premier spinner Avinash Yadav struck with the big wicket of the Tigers' skipper McMillan, trapping him LBW to put the screws on the Tigers batting.
In the crucial death over stage Gavaskar & Klusener took over the battle for the Tigers and a brilliant cameo from both the experienced campaigners got the momentum back for the Tigers. The pedigreed Gavaskar was batting in the zone taking the Champs attack to the cleaners. Gavaskar's unbeaten cameo was worth 30 runs off only 12 balls and included 4 boundaries and 1 six.
In the end the Tigers' folded their innings at a very healthy 170/4 in their allotted 20 overs. The highlight of the Tigers innings was a brilliant unbeaten 49 runs partnership off only 21 balls for the fourth wicket, between Gavaskar & Klusener. For the Champs the highlight of their performance in the field was their young spinners Yadav & Iyer who ended with two wickets apiece.
The Champs chase got off to a disastrous start with the "slinging tiger" Abu Nechim sending Taufeeq Umer back to the Champs dugout without troubling the scorers. At the 5th over mark the Champs were still in the hunt with captain Astle holding charge in company of the competent south paw Dheeraj Jadhav, at 31/1.
The half century partnership for the second wicket came in the 8th over with both batsmen determined to make a match out of the fascinating cricket encounter. Adams got the big wicket of Astle in the 9th over for a fighting knock of 33 runs off 30 balls including 4 fours and one six. Chandana struck the big blow packing back Hasan Raza for duck in the 10th over, to leave the Champs in deep trouble at 58/3.
The halfway mark of their chase, had the Champs placed at 66/3 needing another 105 runs off 60 balls.
The cheap dismissal of Powar, followed by an unfortunate hamstring pull for Raviraj Patil who was dismissed by a brilliant catch by Dasgupta off Ahmed had the Champs in deep trouble at 79/5 at the13th over mark.
Further misery was in store for the Champs with the run out of their anchorman Jadhav. Jadhav's laborious knock was worth 39 runs off 33 balls including 4 hits to the fence.
Just when it seemed all over for the Champs, Vander Wath and Paul came up with a fighting performance scoring 23 runs off Tarafdar's 18th over to give the Champs with a small chance at 148/7 need 23 runs off the last two overs. However their 66 run partnership for the 7th wicket & subsequent dismissals proved fatal for the Champs, with their chase falling short of the target by 12 runs.