Blasters spinners script nervy win over Lions to stay in the competition

Shivam Dube’s 87 not out goes in vain as the Bandra Blasters live to fight another day.

Shivam Dube batted out of his skin, gave it his blood, sweat,tears and everything, but ultimately that innings proved to be just a pretty mantle piece in an illustrious wardrobe of personal performances, as it was the NaMo Bandra Blasters who weathered the storm to emerge victorious by three runs. Their spinners Aditya Dhumal and Karsh Kothari were exceptional on the night, giving away just 23 runs in their seven overs combined, and despite the pacers leaking runs at the death with Dube smashing them like watermelons, the early work helped them get over the line.

Having been put into bat, the NaMo Bandra Blasters decided to tweak their opening combination by sending left-handed Shrideep Mangela alongside Eknath Kerkar, instead of using Shreyas Iyer. The move paid dividends as Mangela raced off to 22 runs within the first five overs.

However, Shivam Dube struck in the last over of the powerplay, trapping Kerkar plumb in front of the wicket. Iyer came out to bat as the Bandra Blasters decided to go slow and pace their innings, getting to 51 after eight. The very next over, Iyer tried to free his arms and score a six over long on, but only managed to hit it straight to the fielder in the deep.

A few overs later, matters got worse for the batting side as Mangela got out caught trying to attempt a slog sweep to leave the score at 66/3 after 11. New players Sujit Nayak and Prasad Pawar did well to steady the ship for the Blasters, but it was the Shivaji Park Lions spinners who stole the show with their economical bowling which ensured the scoring rate remained at six.

Nayak finally upped the ante in the 16th over, with a six and four which propelled the Blasters’ score past a hundred. The left-hander continued his onslaught as he added two more boundaries off Shivam Malhotra’s over to get his side’s score to 125/3. Pawar too joined the act with two spectacular straight sixes to get more than 50 runs off the final five overs.

With a couple of deliveries left, Nayak pulled one which reached the square leg boundary, bringing up his second fifty of the tournament and helping his side finish strong with 152 runs on the board.

In reply, the Shivaji Park batsman started off slowly, getting just 10 runs off the first four overs with Aditya Dhumal and Yash Malap doing a good job at containing the scoring. The pressure eventually paid off with Karsh Kothari picking up three wickets in his very first over, dismissing both Swapnil Pradhan, captain Siddhesh Lad as well as the explosive Rudra Dandey.

A few overs later, Siddharth Chitnis got into the act by dismissing Sachin Yadav for 23, leaving the Lions wounded at 45/4 after ten overs. Dube finally began to play his shots a few overs later and scored two consecutive sixes off Chtinis’ last over to ensure the chasing side needed 64 off the last five overs.

However, Kothari came back into the attack and delivered once again, this time picking up the wicket of Hardik Tamore. That was followed up by a tidy 17th over by Malap, who gave away only six runs to leave the Lions needing 50 runs off the last three.

New man Raunaq Sharman though kept the fight going with two huge sixes off the next over to keep his side in the hunt. The duo then added 13 runs of the next over to leave them needing 18 in the last over. Dube gave it his all, scoring a six and a four, but ultimate it was the short ball that was his kryptonite as he was once failed to time it sweetly leading to the Blasters edging out this nervy affair by three runs.

Score Kya hai?

NaMo Bandra Blasters: 152/4 (Sujit Nayak 54, Prasad Pawar 37, Vijay Gohil 2/27) beat

Shivaji Park Lions: 149/6 (Shivam Dube 87, Sachin Yadav 23, Karsh Kothari 4/19)

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