In the last leg of the CCL qualifiers, the Kerala Strikers were looking for a consolation win, but their formidable opponents gave them no chance whatsoever.
Last Updated: 01.33 PM, Mar 11, 2023
This weekend, the Celebrity Cricket League action has shifted to Jodhpur, where the first match of the day was between the Kerala Strikers and the Bhojpuri Dabanggs. The match was expected to be lop-sided, what with the Strikers having lost all their earlier games, while the Dabanggs had won three. For the Strikers, a consolation win was the objective, while the Dabanggs were looking at making a clean sweep of having won all their qualifiers in the run-up to the semi-finals in Hyderabad next week.
The Kerala Strikers, led by Kunchacko Boban, won the toss and decided to send the Dabanggs in to bat, but the latter went in determined to make their opponents sweat. Pravesh Yadav scored the first century of the tournament, powering the team to a massive 167-2 in their first 10 overs, which is the highest recorded innings score in the tournament yet. His unbeaten knock of 114 of only 42 balls was, no doubt, the highlight of the innings. The Dabanggs had set the Strikers a mammoth task - chase and get close to their target or aim higher and even get a lead.
In response, the Strikers lost opener Rajeev Pillai early on, Antony Pepe, who came in to replace him then left on a duck. From there on, it was an uphill task for the team, with the Dabanggs maintaining a good line with their bowling and demonstrating great fielding too. Arjun Nandakumar’s 64 of 31 balls and Siddharth Menon’s 25 of 13 helped the Strikers get to 119 for the loss of 5 wickets, giving the Dabanggs a 48-run lead going into the second innings. In their second innings, though, the Dabanggs did not have the same momentum and managed only 115 for the loss of 1 wicket, but with their first innings lead, it still meant that the Strikers needed 164 for a win – the biggest chase in the tournament yet.
The target was, no doubt, daunting, but at no point did it even seem that the Strikers were even trying to get close to it. It was almost as if they’d lost hope already and the end result was that the team was bowled out for only 88 runs in the final over. And with that, the Bhojpuri Dabanggs remain unbeaten with four victories and are currently at the top of the points table. In close second place are the Karnataka Bulldozers, who are set to take on Sonu Sood’s Punjab De Sher team in the second match of the day.