Needing only 58 runs to win in their 10 overs, Akhil Akkineni’s team got it with nearly four overs to spare. This is the Telugu Warriors' fourth win in nine seasons of the Celebrity Cricket League
Last Updated: 06.15 PM, Mar 25, 2023
When the Telugu Warriors began their CCL 2023 campaign, not many thought they stood much of a chance. They lost two of their qualifying matches and would have been eliminated from the tournament if the Chennai Rhinos had a better net run rate. Luck favoured the Warriors, though, who then vowed to make up for these early failings and then carried out one of the biggest upsets of the season, by defeating the Karnataka Bulldozers, who were fancied to win tournament, after winning all their matches enroute to the semi-final. They then carried this form and the winning streak into the final too, as they took on the Bhojpuri Dabanggs, a team that had won all the matches they played.
The Telugu Warriors it seemed were set on making quick work of the finale. They sent the Bhojpuri Dabanggs in to bat and then displayed great bowling and fielding that had their opponents struggling to get the scoreboard ticking and hold on to wickets. After losing both openers early on, and a brief rain disruption, they just could not find the right rhythm, limping to a measly 72 for six wickets in their first 10 overs.
Skipper Akhil Akkineni opened the Warriors’ first innings and was the only one who gave the Dabanggs some resistance. So much so that if it weren’t his magnificent 67 runs of 32 balls, the team would have been floundering, literally, considering that the next highest score was Raghu’s 13. The Warriors eventually ended their first innings at 104 for the loss of 4 wickets, managing a 32-run lead. This, of course, meant that the Dabanggs had their work cut out for them in the second innings. They’d have to overcome this deficit and add on enough runs to get to a defendable target.
But then, the Warriors were not going to hand them that on a platter, giving the Dabanggs barely any room to breathe. The final score was a tad better at 89 for six overs, on the backs of Aditya Ojha’s 31 (13) and Uday Tiwari’s 34 (18). This, of course, was not going to be enough to keep the Warriors at bay and deny them a fourth shot at the CCL trophy. They needed only 58 of 60 balls to win and sent in big hitters Thaman and Ashwin Babu to open the innings. The duo put on 23 runs for the first wicket stand in 3 overs, when Thaman was sent back to the pavilion after mistiming a shot that landed straight in the fielder’s hands. Sachiin Joshi then joined Ashwin and the duo split the responsibility of taking the team across the finishing line in style. The Warriors won with four overs to spare.
This edition of the Celebrity Cricket League was the first time that a T20 Test format was introduced, wherein each team plays two sets of 10 overs each. The format was a big hit.