T20 Mumbai League: Aakash Tigers down Shivaji Park Lions to qualify for semi-finals
After beating Shivaji Park Lions by seven wickets in their last league game of the tournament at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday, Aakash Tigers jumped from the fourth position to second
Aakash Tigers Mumbai Western Suburb, one of the two new teams in T20 Mumbai League pipped another debutant team - Eagle Thane Strikers - to qualify for the semi-finals.
After beating Shivaji Park Lions by seven wickets in their last league game of the tournament at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday, Tigers jumped from the fourth position to second and earned six points in the Group 'A' standings after North Mumbai Panthers. Strikers (four points) had to be content with the third spot.
Chasing Lions's modest total of 127 for six, Tigers batted cautiously, scoring 37 for one in the first six overs of the Power Play. One-drop batsman Bhavin Thakkar (65 not out off 49 balls) and young Shams Mulani (40 not out off 32) stitched a match-winning 89-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Earlier, Eagle Thane Strikers beat NaMo Bandra Blasters by seven wickets in their last T20 Mumbai League game at Wankhede Stadium yesterday thanks to half-centuries from Rakesh Prabhu (64 not out in 21 balls, 1x4, 8x6) and skipper Aditya Tare (50 off 27), The Strikers rose to second position in Group 'A' standings with four points from five games with a net run rate of +0.277 to keep themselves in contention for a spot in the semi-finals.
Chasing Blasters's 148 for 7 in 20 overs, Strikers's left-handed batsman Prabhu, who was promoted in the batting order, joined Tare at the crease with the team reeling at 49 for two in 5.1 overs.
Prabhu, Tare are Strikers!
While the Prabhu-Tare combination changed the course of the game, Prabhu amazingly slammed eight sixes and only one four. He was harsh on Nikhil Date when he hit the pacer for three sixes in the ninth over of the innings.
Twenty-five runs were scored in that over. In the next, Prabhu smashed Shreyas Iyer's leg breaks for three sixes as the Blasters skipper conceded 23 runs in the over.
Tare, who hit five fours and three sixes put on a 91-run match-winning stand with Prabhu in just 34 balls. For the Blasters, left-arm spinners Aditya Dhumal and Karsh Kothari picked up two and one wicket respectively.
Earlier, Blasters's Shreedip Mangela (42 off 34), Sujit Nayak (26* off 18 balls) and Iyer (25) battled hard, but could not help their team post a decent total. Strikers pacer Kruthik Hanagavadi, who bagged seven wickets in four earlier games, claimed two for 33.
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