Mumbai, May 17 : ARCS Andheri came back from the brink of defeat to beat last year’s losing finalists Shivaji Park Lions by 4 wickets in the second edition of T20 Mumbai here at Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
Akhil Herwadkar, the reliable opening batsman, was the star of the victory and was adjudged Man of the Match as he paced the chase to perfection with an unbeaten 79 (58b, 9x4, 3x6).
Chasing the Lions’ total of 159 for six, Herwadkar and Sufiyan Shaikh got off the blocks in a hurry and raced to 67 before Shaikh miscued a heave off Shivam Dube with a solitary ball remaining in the Powerplay.
However, the next seven overs saw the middle-order being pegged back by a spirited spin performance by the Lions. Having lost three wickets for 33 runs, ARCS required 60 runs off the last seven overs. Naturally, the onus was on Herwadkar to see the team through along with big-hitters Pankaj Jaiswal and Azhar Ansari.
When Jaiswal miscued Siddharth Raut to Dube in the 18th over, ARCS required 32 off 15 balls. Raut followed it up with three dot balls to give Lions a clear edge. Then came the turning moment of the match, with the left-handed duo of Ansari and Herwadkar crushing promising pacer Shivam Malhotra. With Malhotra erring in line and length, Ansari started off with a four and six before rotating the strike off the third ball. Herwadkar then took over and repeated the boundaries’ sequence to end the over with a couple.
As if the 23-run over hadn’t sealed the deal for ARCS, Ansari’s six off Dube off the first ball of the last over took all hopes of another late comeback by the Lions. Despite losing his wicket off the next ball, veteran Iqbal Abdulla cut Dube through point for a four to complete the formalities.
Had it not been for Raunaq Sharma’s (51* off 30b, 3x4, 4x6) assault in the death, the Lions wouldn’t have been able to set the Andheri boys a target of 160 runs. After coming in to bat with the team reeling at 86 for five in the 13th over, right-handed Sharma restrained from going for the big hits despite losing big-hitter Shivam Dube soon.
Sharma waited till the penultimate over to open up his arms and it fetched high rewards. The last two overs saw the Lions plunder 42 runs, with Sharma hitting three sixes off in-form pacer Tushar Deshpande in the last over. In the end, it wasn’t enough for the Lions.
Brief Scores: Shivaji Park Lions 159/6 in 20 overs (Raunaq Sharma 51*, Swapnil Pradhan 44; Iqbal Abdulla 2/16, Kevin Almeida 1/7) lost to ARCS Andheri 163/6 in 19.5 overs (Akhil Herwadkar 79*, Sufiyan Shaikh 25; Shivam Dube 2/41, Vijay Gohil 1/11)