Panthers display nerves of steel to beat the Strikers in a thriller

Despite Tare and Chikhalikar’s magnificent knocks, the Panthers came out on top in a nervy affair.

A brilliant inning from Aditya Tare proved to be insufficient as the North Mumbai Panthers beat the Eagle Thane Strikers by six runs in a high-scoring thriller at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday. 

Having been put into bat, the North Mumbai Panthers were off to a fiery start, as openers Prithvi Shaw and Vilas Auti smashed 28 in the first three overs, with the former playing some incredible strokes to race to 22 in just 12 deliveries. However, the skipper’s inning was cut short after he was run out in his attempt to steal a quick single, giving the Eagle Thane Strikers their first breakthrough.

New man Ajinkya Patil and Auti managed to neutralise the early wicket by forging a 45-run partnership before the latter was dismissed by Asif Shaikh in the ninth over. Captain Aditya Tare brought part-time bowler Sarfaraz Khan into the attack and both batsmen decided to attack the bowler and smashed 10 off his first four deliveries. But Sarfaraz had the last laugh as he got rid of Ajinkya Patil for 24 with the scoreboard reading 79/3 after 10 overs.

In the 11th, the Panthers lost their fourth wicket after Sashikant Kadam had to depart after playing just two deliveries putting the team in a tough position. But batsman Sairaj Patil decided to throw caution to the wind and smashed 33 off the 10 balls in the next two overs to swing the momentum back in his team’s favour.

Eagle Thane Strikers finally managed to get rid of Sairaj just four short of his half century in the 15th over and no longer had they breathed a sigh of relief, they were on the receiving end of another onslaught from Karan Nande, who took the attack to the Strikers’ bowling attack.

Nande smashed five straight boundaries in the 19th over to complete a well-made half-century off just 22 balls. Pacer Moondeep Mangela bowled a brilliant over giving away just three runs bringing the Panthers’ batting effort to a close at 190/8.

In reply, the Strikers were dealt an early blow as opener Sachin Wagh had to walk back after scoring just three off six deliveries, but skipper Tare along with Kaushik Chikhalikar forged an outstanding partnership to put their team in command of the chase.

The two forged an 87-run partnership in 55 deliveries before Prathamesh Dake got a much-needed breakthrough for his team, inducing a mistimed shot from Chikhalikar who had to depart after scoring 56 off 41 deliveries. With the team needing 89 in eight overs, new batsman Sarfaraz Khan decided to go hammer and tongs at the Panthers’ bowling, smashing 13 in just five deliveries. But a mistimed scoop shot attempt from Sarfaraz went straight into the hands of Pravin Tambe at short fine leg.

With his team suffering back-to-back blows, captain Tare took the onus of bringing his side home upon himself, picking up 14 in the next three overs and was well-supported by Sagar Mishra who scored 20 in just 12 deliveries. With Strikers needing 26 off the final two overs, bowler Atif Attarwala was spot on with his line and gave away just four in the first three deliveries, making a big hit imperative for the chasing team.

And the pressure that Attarwala built paid off, as he got rid of both set batsmen on back-to-back deliveries to put his team on top in the contest. A four and a six in the next two balls followed by a single left the Strikers needing 11 off the final four deliveries, but bowler Mangela held his nerve and gave away just four runs to secure a nailing-biting victory for the Panthers.

Score kya hai?

North Mumbai Panthers (Karan Nande 50, Sairaj Patil 46, Ankush Jaiswal 1-23) beat

Thane Eagle Strikers (Aditya Tare 71, Kaushik Chikhalikar 56, Atif Attarwala 3-37)

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