Delhi batsman Ayush Badoni, fresh from representing Lucknow Super Giants, rode on the Indian Premier League confidence to hammer 78 off 44 balls at the top and take 2/36 later in Sahgal Cricket Club’s victory over fancied Rann Star Cricket Club by a slender margin of two runs.
The win helped Sahgal Club enter the semi-finals of the 48th Goswami Ganesh Dutt Memorial Cricket Tournament.
But it could’ve easily been the other team had play been stopped due to rain just a ball later.
With Rann Star making a strong case despite losing wickets in their chase of 284 scored by Sahgal in the allotted 35 overs, and the drizzle beginning, the urgency shown by batsmen made the game interesting.
On the penultimate of the 23rd over, wicketkeeper-batsman Aaditya Sharma, an under-25 Uttar Pradesh player, hit a six over deep mid-wicket. He was ready to face another delivery but the umpires asked the players to leave the field.
The game couldn’t resume and Rann Star lost by just two runs.
“When I went in to bat [in the 18th over], I was asked to score at eight an over. I went after the bowling. But immediately after I had hit a six, we were called off. Even a delivery more could have been helpful. We would have got a single and tied the match. In the event of a tie, we would have qualified,” said a disappointed Sharma, who hit 34 off 16 balls with four fours and two sixes.
One of his shots, where he made room on the off to play a ramp shot, drew huge applause.
Rann Star were provided a positive start by opener Sarthak Ranjan, who hit 59 off 37 balls.
“I had to curb my strokeplay a bit since a couple of wickets fell at the other end. I tried to build the innings,” said Ranjan of his knock which comprised five fours four sixes but was curtailed by Badoni’s off-spin.
The wicket pushed them a bit off-track before Aaditya Sharma brought them back.
Earlier, it was Badoni and skipper Mohammad Sultan Ansari’s 79 off 66 balls that built the platform for Sahgal. The two added 110 in 11.2 overs for the first wicket with the former India batsman making most of the chunk in that partnership.
“I thought the pitch was good to bat and I played my shots. They came good,” said Badoni during the break for rain after which the game didn’t start.
Rahul Chaudhary was the pick of the bowlers for Rann Star, with 4/44.
“There was not much help for the bowlers but I tried to bowl in the right areas and got the results. Our fielding was good,” said Chaudhary.