Rockets come up short against the Giants
A valuable knock of 43 by Paul Nixon enabled Delhi Giants post a competitive 167-7 in their alloted 20 overs against Ahmedabad Rockets in the ICL 20s Indian Championship here at the LB stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.
In the end, the highly engrossing encounter that swung both ways throughout the duration of the match, saw the Giants scamper home by 13 runs. Paul Nixon was declared Man of the Match for his brilliant knock of 43.
Earlier in the day, Damien Martyn won the toss and elected to field looking to chase a target with his new beefed up batting line-up strengthened by the induction of their new dashing recruit Ryan Campbell. The Giants got off their season two campaigns with their left right opening combination of Gunawardene & Dale Benkenstein.
A maiden over from the legendary Gillespie was the right message sent by Rockets on their seriousness, as one the big sides at ICL Season-2. Some high class seam bowling from Gillespie, ably supported by Rakesh Patel at the other hand had the Giants on the back foot at 8 for no loss at the end of the first three overs.
The tight bowling was rewarded with the first breakthrough in form of Benkenstein's wicket in the 7th over off Heath Streak, at the Rockets score of 38. At the half way mark of their innings, Giants were still under the shackles of the Rockets bowling power placed at a modest 53/2.
The Giants were depending on their dashing south-paw & batting anchor Abbas Ali who took up the repair job taking the Giants score to 87/2 in the 12th over. Just when Abbas was taking charge, Martyn introduced the experienced Sriram into the attack, who cut short his promising innings of 25 runs, trapping him in front of the stumps.
That set the stage for the brilliant Paul Nixon who got about the task right away in the company of Bali who played a crucial knock of 35 off 20 balls including one four and three mighty sixes, before holding out to an attempted six off Gillespie in the 17th over.
Nixon's stroke filled innings of 43 that included four mighty sixes, followed by a late onslaught from Bond (12 runs off 4 balls); powered Delhi to a competitive 167/7 in their allotted 20 overs. For the Rockets Heath Streak was the most successful bowler returning with creditable figures of 3/23 in his allotted 4 overs.
The Rockets got off to a shaky start with the highly rated Campbell, sent back to the dugout by the impressive Giant's pacer Shalabh Srivastava, without troubling the scorers in the first over. The Rockets were soon in further trouble with Captain Martyn departing cheaply for four runs off eleven balls, with the scorecard reading 17/2 in the 4th over.
The stage was set for Rockets' south paw Parviz Aziz, setting about a fight-back for his side in company of the highly rated Murray Goodwin. However, superstar Shane Bond got the Giants the upper hand, scalping Goodwin ending the promising 40 run partnership for the third wicket in the ninth over.
With 10 overs to go, the Rockets faced a stiff task needing another 106 runs off 60 balls at a humongous required run rate of 10.60. The Rockets chase received another major jolt when JP Yadav castled the dangerous Aziz for a well made 48 off 36 balls including seven fours and one six.
A dropped chance by Benkenstein off Yadav, in the 14th over was all the luck that Sriram needed. This was followed by two mighty sixes by Sodhi off the bowling of the express Shane Bond & had the match wide open with Rockets needing 57 off the last five overs & six wickets in hand.
In the end despite, a courageous fight back from the talented Sodhi, whose fighting knock of 51 that included two consecutive sixes off the last two balls saw the Rockets, fall short of the target by 13 runs!