CICC men canter to T20 victory over Challengers

Chorweiler, Saturday 6th August.  “Nine-thirty sharp at the ground, team!” – a bright and early start requested by captain Tushar, keen to make amends for the last-gasp defeat to arch-rivals Challengers in the 50-over fixture back in May. But a bad start: CICC lost the toss in what appeared to be good batting conditions, which Challengers’ openers proceeded to make the most of, putting on a steady 29 before Said clean-bowled Santhanu. But then Balaji and no. 3 Chakri started to look very threatening, seeing off the opening bowlers Ritvik and Said before Chakri moved up a gear with a string of 6s off spinners Samar and Lovejeet.

The opposition was now rattling along at nearly 10 per over, which posed a headache for the captain: stick with spin or turn to pace?  In an inspired move which probably surprised everyone watching on and off the field, Tushar handed the ball back to Lovejeet for a 3rd over, who duly proceeded to turn the match on its head by whittling out 4 wickets in 8 balls, finishing his 4-over spell with 4-22. Challengers collapsed from 68 for 1 to 78 for 6 – the prize wicket of Chakri bagged by Samar – and their fire-power was all but spent, finally ending on 101 for 7.

Fresh from a stunning batting performance the previous weekend, this should have been an easy target for the CICC top-order batters, and so it proved. Ricky and Samar got things rolling with a solid 36-run opening partnership before Samar was bowled by Prashant playing across the line. Anish came in with some intent before a sharp stumping by the Challengers wickie sent him back with the score one short of 50. With Ritvik providing a solid anchor at one end, Vikram then strolled out to the middle in no mood to hang around, smashing a rapid 40 off 34 balls (including 4 sixes and 1 four) to see us home with 5 overs to spare with an excellent 8-wicket victory.

After 3 wins out of 3, CICC now top the T20 Pool 3 and have a good chance of making the quarter-finals: