Rohtak Road Gymkhana let slip one within their grasp as they lost to gritty Golden Hawks in the quarter-final of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Hot Weather Cricket at Modern School grounds to set up a semi-final clash against Sonnet Cricket Club.
Keshav Dabas’s century (124 off 114 balls) and opener Ankit Kumar’s brave initiative with the ball (2/14 off 3) when it all seemed lost as well as some impatient batting from Rohtak Road batsmen saw the Hawks coast to a 16-run win.
At 228/2 in 34.4 overs — 51 needed off 32 balls with eight wickets in hand – the game was for Rohtak Road to win, especially with centurion Dhruv Kaushik (110 off 87) at the crease.
But Kaushik’s attempt to clear skipper and spinner Mohammad Bilal over long on failed and he was caught in the deep.
“It was a difficult wicket to bat on and there was lot of support for spinners as the ball was gripping. I batted myself in and built a good partnership with Rushal Saini (76 off 81 balls). But unfortunately, I could not clear the boundary,” said Kaushik after the game.
Kumar, who bowls part-time off-spin, demanded the ball from the skipper as Hawks were struggling to take wickets. He bowled tightly and created pressure on the batsmen.
“There were left-handed batsmen at the crease so I thought let me give it a try. I bowled to my field and thankfully stemmed the flow of runs,” added Kumar.
Kumar has been playing bravely in this competition and has never shied away from shouldering responsibility. In one of the qualifying games, he smashed 147 off 58 balls to help defeat Yorks Cricket Club, who had set Hawks a target of over 10 an over.
Even though he clicked with the ball on Friday, he failed to get going with the bat.
After his fall, Dabas stepped up and handled the Rohtak Road bowlers on a tough pitch. His century was the reason why the team could get this far.
“The pitch was soft in the morning and left-arm spinners were bowling from both ends. My partner Vaibhav Sharma (56) and I had a discussion and we decided to take the innings far because we knew that if we collapse at the start, we won’t be able to improve the strike rate later. Conditions were in their favour. But I fought even though there was a bit of struggle,” said Dabas after the match.
“It was hard to step out and hit the spinners as there was a chance of getting out stumped. I tried to play my shots and sweep over mid-wicket and slogs over mid-on. I backed my shots. My strength went in my favour on this pitch,” added Dabas.
Ekansh Dobal also put in an all-round show with two wickets and 40 runs.