The Telugu Warriors won the toss and opted to bat first and retain their winning streak, but after two consecutive loses, the opposition was determined to change its track record in the tournament.
It was do or die for the Punjab De Sher team, when they played their third match of this season of the Celebrity Cricket League against point table toppers Telugu Warriors on March 4 in Bengaluru. Having lost both their matches so far, Sonu Sood’s side needed the win to stay in the tournament, while Akhil Akkineni’s boys were looking at retaining their lead position. Akhil won the toss and decided to bat first and set a target.
Opening for his side, Akhil tried to pick up the pace, but perished after making 28 of 14 at the start of the third over. Sudheer Babu then joined opener Prince, but returned on a duck only three balls later. By the halfway mark of their first innings, the Telugu Warriors were at 46/3 and then lost one more wicket soon. It was then up to music man S Thaman to steady the innings and get the team to a decent score along with Prince. Thaman’s quickfire 37 took them to a final score of 98 for 4 in the first set of 10 overs, with the opposition needing to top that and maybe even get a lead.
In their first chase, Punjab De Sher lost opener Dev Kharod in the very first over scoring only 4. Binu Dhillon and Babbal Rai steadied the innings for a while, until the former was run out by Thaman. Babbal then took charge unleashing a flurry of sixes and getting to 62 of 32 balls and taking the team to 101-2 at the end of 10 overs.
The Telugu Warriors began their second innings with team owner Sachiin Joshi and Ashwin Babu as openers. Sachiin was back in the dug out soon enough, but Ashwin stayed on, adding another 32 of only 15 balls before being caught out. On the back of Ashwin’s 32, and Akhil’s 27, the team got to a final score of 112 for 5.
Sent a target of 110 in for their final chase, Punjab De Sher lost Navraj Hans for no score early on, but then Mayur Mehta and Ninja B stabilized the innings, with the former scoring 70 of 32 balls and the latter supporting him well for the most part. It took Thaman to break the partnership, bowling Ninja B for 15 runs. Babbal Rai, the top scorer of the first innings, had no luck the second time around and was out for a duck. Anuj Khurana joined the chase when the team still needed 22 of 16 balls. Anuj’s six in the last over tied the scores, sending the team into raptures of happiness. A single of the next then sealed the deal.
For the uninitiated, this time, CCL is being placed as T-20 matches in test format, with each team playing two sets of 10 overs each.