Lions shock the Tigers in 8 wicket victory
The 22nd match of the ICL 20s Indian Championship featured the all important encounter between the formidable Royal Bengal Tigers & Chandigarh Lions, at the Tau Devi Lal stadium Gurgaon.
In the end it was determined all round effort by the boys from Chandigarh led by the astute Andrew Hall, which saw the Chandigarh Lions win by a comprehensive margin of 8 wickets. TP Singh was rightly adjudged man of the match for his all round performance with both bat and ball.
Earlier in the evening Andrew Hall, won the toss and elected to field. The Chandigarh boys, struck early with Daryl Tuffey scalping the in-form Dasgupta, on the Royal Bengal Tigers score of 5 in the 2nd over. The dangerous Hamish Marshall got into the repair act right away, scoring 20 runs off the 4th over from Tuffey to place the Bengal side right on mark at 34/1. Rajiv Kumar coming into the tournament from a very successful ICL domesticsí was playing some good strokes on the other end.
The two batsmen brought the fifty of the partnership in only the 6th over, clearly giving the initiative to the Royal Bengal Tigers at that stage of the match. Skipper Hall, introduced Bipul Sharma in the 8th over who struck with his first delivery with the wicket of Kumar ending the 62 run partnership for the second wicket.
A big six over long- on in the 9th over, brought about Hamish Marshallís third ICL fifty, coming off 28 balls & laced with 8 fours and two sixes. At the half way mark of their innings the Bengal side was handsomely placed at 85/2. Tuffey got his revenge over Hamish Marshall in the crucial 12th over, inducing a false stroke ending resulting in the end of his brilliant knock of 57 runs.
TP Singh picked up two wickets of consecutive delivers in the 13th over to bring the Chandigarh side right back in the match at the Bengal score of 101/5 & two new batsmen at the crease. With 5 overs to go the Bengal side was placed at 116/5 and Klusener & Adams holding the mantel of the Royal Bengal Tigers innings.
However the engrossing encounter swinging both ways at that stage of the match, had the Chandigarh side right on top with Luv Ablish trapping Adams with the first ball of the 16th over to leave the Bengal batting in a bit of a bother for the first time at 116/6.
The Bengal side could not quite recover from the middle order collapse and were restricted to a partly 140/9; largely factored by some fine bowling from the Chandigarh side that saw the use of seven bowlers. For the Chandigarh Lions four bowlers; TP Singh, Hall, Tuffey & Ablish ended with two wickets each.
Chandigarh Lions opened the innings with a new combination of TP Singh and Sarabjit Singh who got off to a steady start, placed at 20 for no loss at the end of the first three overs. TP Singh was looking determined; displaying his batting prowess and why he is rated as one of the best batting talents in the ICL, with some lovely strokes that included 2 fours and 2 sixes to take the score to 44 for no loss at the 5 over mark.
It was finally the ever improving left arm pacer Eklak Ahmid, who broke the 52 run partnership in the 8th over with Sarabjitís wicket out for a little cameo of 20 off 21 balls.
At the half way mark of their innings the Chandigarh Lions were right in the hunt needing another 64 runs off 60 balls and nine wickets in hand. Both TP Singh & Manish Sharma were looking solid at the wicket playing some clinical cricket, approaching the modest chase. Just when it was looking smooth sailing for the Chandigarh side ,Manish Sharma played a reckless stroke off Upul Chandana to be held on the mid wicket boundary by Eklak Ahmid for a well made 25 off 20 balls.
However TP Singh was playing the perfect sheath anchor role bringing his fifty in the 15th over, off 38 balls; laced with 4 fours & 2 sixes. With 5 overs to go the Chandigarh Lions were right in the driversí seat at 118/2 needing only 23 runs off 30 balls.
In the end a clinical batting performance largely dominated by the talented southpaw TP Singh, which saw the Chandigarh Lions roar to their third win of the tournament by a handsome margin of 8 wickets.