Herwardkar and Ansari masterclass helps ARCS Andheri get off the block

Sujit Nayak’s all-round performance goes in vain as NaMO Bandra Blasters start campaign with a defeat.

A well-constructed half century by Akhil Herwardkar coupled with a late cameo by Azhar Ansari helped the ARCS Andheri pick up their first victory of Season 2. The duo’s brilliant batting cancelled out a quickfire half-century by Sujit Nayak and ensured the NaMo Bandra Blasters started off their campaign with a loss.  

After losing the toss, the NaMo Bandra Blasters got off to a good start with sixteen runs on the board, but an excellent third over from Tushar Deshpande sent both their openers, Shreyas Iyer and Eknath Kerkar, pack to the pavilion as ARCS Andheri fought their way back into the contest.

New man Nikhil Patil steadied the ship with the six and a four off Ankur Singh’s first over as the Blasters managed 47 runs on the board after the powerplay. The ARCS spinners though managed to curtail the scoring rate as the batting side added only 31 runs off the next five overs.

Prasad Pawar though was looking solid for the Blasters after scoring two classly boundaries off Iqbal Abdulla’s third over; but lost his wicket when his miscued his shot and was caught by Deshpande in the deep. Patil though continued the charge with two fours and a six in the subsequent overs to bump the score up to 113 after 16 overs.

Bandra’s big money signing Sujit Nayak too joined the act with back to back sixes in the next over bowled by Vineet Sinha. He continued the rampage in the next over as well, scoring 17 runs off the next over. Nayak followed that up with two more sixes as he went on to score his fifty off just 20 deliveries.

The pair of Nayak and Patil added 86 runs off the last six overs to guide the NaMo Bandra Blasters to a heathy total of 176 after their quota of 20 overs.

In response, the ARCS got off to a great start as they accumulated 24 runs off the first two, with Akhil Herwardkar nabbing two sixes and a four. However, captain Shreyas Iyer decided to introduce spin early on to curb the partnership, and Aditya Dhumal struck in just his second delivery with a quicker one that beat Sufiyan Sheikh all ends up.

Captain Kevin Almeida though kept the aggression going with a six and the four off the next couple of overs, but Saksham Jha managed to pick a wicket with his first ball to send the southpaw packing. The wicket curbed the scoring as ARCS Andheri ended the powerplay with 51 runs despite that explosive start.

New man Shubham Ranjane began rebuilding his side’s innings with Herwardkar, as the duo added 34 runs in the next five overs to keep ARCS Andheri in the chase. Ranjane then smashed two sixes off Sagar Chhabria’s over to bring the required rate to under nine heading into the midway stage of their innings.

However, Sujit Nayak who starred with the bat earlier proved to be the Bandra Blasters’ golden arm as he picked up the dangerous Ranjane which conceding only seven runs in his two overs. The wicket meant that ARCS Andheri needed 60 off the last six overs with Pankaj Jaiswal coming out to bat.

Jaiswal though was immediately on his way back courtesy a brilliant diving catch by wicket-keeper Kerkar. Nayak then struck again with the ball, this time dismissing the well set Herwardkar to put the Blasters in firm control of the game.

New batsman Azhar Ansari played a quick cameo of 24 off just 10 deliveries which included four boundaries, to ensure his team needed just 12 runs off the last over. In the final over, Ansari perfectly time a bouncer to beat the fielder at short fine-leg and get a priceless boundary. Then he nonchalantly flicked one to beat the thirdman fielder and get ARCS Andheri their first points of the season.

Score kya hai?

ARCS Andheri (Akhil Herwardkar 56, Shubham Ranjane 39, Sujit Nayak 2-19) beat

NaMo Bandra Blasters (Nikhil Patil 55, Sujit Nayak 52, Tushar Deshpande 2-36)

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