Rakesh Prabhu recalls his blitz for the Strikers

In a crunch game, his destructive batting nearly made the difference for Eagle Thane Strikers.

All-rounder Rakesh Prabhu revealed that he was promoted up the order by his coach and encouraged by captain Aditya Tare, that allowed him to blaze the fastest fifty during the second season of T20 Mumbai.

It was a crunch game against NaMo Bandra Blasters, the final league match for Eagle Thane Strikers, where his side not only needed a win but needed to do so in little time to boost their net run rate. That would keep their hopes alive in the tournament and a place in the semis.

“We were given a target to chase,” Rakesh Prabhu said during an Instagram live session with TennisCricket.

“We had played four matches up to that point, and had won one and lost three. This was the last match and we had to chase around 150 in 12 overs,” he narrated. “That's what they had scored in 20 overs.”

Eagle Thane Strikers’ pursuit floundered in the first over with opener Jaideep Pardeshi falling victim to Karsh Kothari.

Captain and opener Aditya Tare tried to steady the ship with the next batsman, Alpesh Ramjani. However, the team suffered another blow when Ramjani departed after scoring a brisk 29.

The scoreboard read 49 for 2 with the Eagle Thane Strikers needing 100 runs in 6.5 overs at a run rate of nearly 15.

The team management trusted Rakesh Prabhu, who usually bats lower down the order, to complete the mammoth task by promoting him up the order.

“I was told to go next by the coach,” he revealed. “For the last couple of matches, we were already discussing the possibility of letting me bat higher up.

With big-hitting being the only option, he started swinging his bat from the first ball.

“The situation was such that I couldn’t defend. Even Aditya Tare told me to start hitting,” he said. “I was lucky that I got a life on the second ball.”

An ill-timed shot almost ended his innings before he could add any runs as he was dropped on his second delivery.

But after that, it was the Rakesh Prabhu show.

“It flowed well for me and I was connecting the ball well,” he looked back.

He punished the opposition bowlers, hitting them all over the Wankhede Stadium as he teamed up with Aditya Tare to add 91 runs in just 34 balls.

The skipper’s half-century coupled with Rakesh Prabhu’s blistering 64 not out off 21 took Eagle Thane Strikers past the total in less than 12 overs, keeping them in contention for the semi-finals.

He hit eight towering sixes and a four at an astonishing strike-rate of 304.76, recording the fastest fifty of Season 2.

It was his second season in T20 Mumbai, having played the inaugural one with North Mumbai Panthers, with the stint so far admittedly polishing his skills.

“I have rubbed shoulders with some big names, like Ajinkya Rahane,” he said referring to his experience in the league. “It feels good.

“You get to learn a lot; how to play and how to keep calm. You get to play good cricket,” he reasoned.

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