The first semi-final was a fiercely contested match that came down to the wire. Until the very end, it could've gone either way. Eventually, the Bhojpuri Dabanggs held their nerve and got victory.
Last Updated: 02.03 PM, Mar 24, 2023
When the Bhojpuri Dabanggs took the field for the first semi-final, they sent in their opponents, Mumbai Heroes to bat. “We want to chase,” captain Manoj Tiwari had said about his team’s game plan. It’s just what the Heroes wanted – they’d won all the matches in which they batted first and set a target. Moreover, the Mumbai Heroes are defending champions, having won the last edition of the tournament in 2019, so it was important for them to make this semi-final count.
In their first set of 10 overs, the Mumbai Heroes managed to put 109 runs on the board for the loss of five wickets, powered by Samir Kochar’s 34 of 17, Apurva Lakhia’s 20 of 12 and Sharad Kelkar’s 18 of 9 balls. The expectation was that the Dabanggs would come out all guns blaring, but that was not the case, as the Heroes literally made them sweat. Captain Manoj Tiwari and Pravesh Yadav’s low double digit scores, 19 and 21, respectively, saw them crawl to 80 for the loss of six wickets.
The Mumbai Heroes had a 29 run lead heading in to the second innings and it seemed that the Dabanggs had changed their strategy, intent on curtailing the score. The plan started well, with the Heroes losing opener Shabbir Ahluwalia on the first ball for a duck. Number 3 Aftab Shivdasani departed soon after in the third over, with the score at 20 only. Only six runs later, the Mumbai Heroes had lost three more wickets, but the team was still positive of a win. “We had a 29 run lead and will put on a decent score in the second innings. The pitch has slowed down considerably and it will be difficult for the Dabanggs also to score,” said team member Vatsal Sheth.
The Dabanggs, though, were in no mood to let go of their winning spree so easily. They put on a scintillating bowling and fielding display that saw the Heroes’ innings fold for 62 runs in 9.5 overs. Manoj Tiwari’s team had a target of 92 runs eventually, but Vatsal’s prediction seemed right, as they struggled to get the momentum going, despite a steady stream of extras. In the final over, they needed 15 of 6 balls. But with one run out attempt and another successful one, it almost looked like the match was slipping out of their hands. Until a pep talk from captain Manoj Tiwari at the non-strikers end got opener Asghar Khan to a final score of 58, with a four and a six to finish the match in style.
All eyes are now on the second semi-final between the Karnataka Bulldozers and the Telugu Warriors. Can Akhil Akkineni’s boys pull the rug from under the Bulldozers and send them packing? Catch all the action on the official YouTube page of CCL. The final of this edition of CCL will be held on March 25 in Vizag