5 talking points: Everything that made Season 2 of T20 Mumbai stand out

The first ever league century, first hat-trick and the growth of left-arm spin were among the key insights from the second season.

A thrilling final on Sunday played between the North Mumbai Panthers and the SoBo SuperSonics drew curtains on a successful season in the T20 Mumbai league. It was the Panthers who ultimately triumphed in the league, showing its unpredictability and close competition as last season’s second from bottom side resurrected their fortunes this time around. Here are the top five things we learned from Season 2 of the T20 Mumbai league.

Unpredictable and exciting

Last season’s finalists, the Triumph Knights Mumbai North East and Shivaji Park Lions, finished bottom of their respective groups in the second time of asking, showing that nothing can be taken for granted in the tournament. It also exemplified the close competition between all sides as there wasn’t an outright favourite team throughout, as every franchise lost at least once in the group stages. Another changing trend was the fact that North Mumbai Panthers and ARCS Andheri, who finished in the bottom two last season, played out the first semi-final this time around.

After two seasons gone, it would be difficult to pin-point to one particular team as favourites or strong contenders as the margin for error remains very narrow in T20 cricket. Next year could spring up many more surprises in the current trend remains.

Emergence of left-arm orthodox spin

Left-arm orthodox spin seemed like a dying art in India with wrist spinners like Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal taking over in the International circuit. However, in the Mumbai domestic arenas, the breed of left-arm spinners seemed to thrive with almost every team in the competition sporting at least one of their kind. The leading wicket-taker in the league as well as the leading wicket-taker for ARCS Andheri were both left-arm orthodox spinners, with Dhrumil Matkar and Iqbal Abdulla nabbing those honours respectively. Apart from those two, the likes of Aditya Dhumal, Karsh Kothari, Shams Mulani and Sagar Mishra all having good tournaments.

First ever centurion

It took until the semi-final of Season 2 but finally the T20 Mumbai league got its first ever centurion in SoBo SuperSonics captain Jay Bista. There had been six scores in the 90’s before, including the previous league high of 99* by Sujit Nayak when he played for the SuperSonics last season, but Bista went one better to make a place for himself in the record books by scoring 110. Playing the second semi-final against the Aakash Tigers, the 23-year-old and his opening partner Hersh Tank put on an opening stand of 196 to take the game away from the opposition before even reaching the halfway mark. Bista smashed a 57-ball century with nine fours and five sixes to help his side get a convincing victory and book a place in the final for Season 2.

First ever hat-trick

It was the Aakash Tigers who found themselves on the receiving end of yet another record, this time it being Eagle Thane Strikers’ spinner Ankush Jaiswal’s hat-trick. The Tigers had 74 runs of the board with two settled batsmen in Arjun Tendulkar and Aakarshit Gomel when Jaiswal was introduced into the attack. He first bowled Tendulkar and then trapped Siddharth Akre plumb in front of the wicket off consecutive balls to get his side back in the contest. Jaiswal then got the captain Dhawal Kulkarni leg before wicket as well when he came on to bowl next, to cap off the first ever hat-trick in the history of T20 Mumbai. Apart from picking up those wickets, Jaiswal conjured a collapse from the batting side that ensured the Eagle Thane Strikers got their first win of the tournament.

Captains lead from the front

Being a development league, T20 Mumbai provides an opportunity for the upcoming stars of the city to rub shoulders with some of the more seasoned cricketers. And what an apt motivation all the captains have been for the rest of their team. Four of the captains in Aditya Tare, Jay Bista, Suryakumar Yadav and Prithvi Shaw were the leading run scorers for their respective teams. Even Dhawal Kulkarni showed his class by emerging as the leading wicket-taker for the Aakash Tigers while Shreyas Iyer chanced his arm with the ball and picked up three wickets after having a mediocre season with the bat this time around.  

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