Bhagmender Lather, 26-year-old left-handed batsman from Chandigarh, walked in when Delhi Challengers was struggling at nine for two after just two overs in their match against Golden Eagle CC in the 48th Goswami Ganesh Dutt Cricket Tournament.
The chase of 287 runs had become a bit steep after the early loss of two wickets.
“After the early loss of wickets, we wanted to play the game normally, and save wickets and focus only on the weaker bowlers,” said the batsman, who represented Chandigarh team in the last Ranji Trophy season.
After his team was reduced 76/4 in the 12th over, he found able company in Delhi all-rounder Lalit Yadav. The two added 124 runs to set their team back on track.
“Lalit and I decided on which bowlers to thrash. Had a good partnership, Lalit and I,” said Bhagmender, who hit a composed 123 off 103 balls (14x4s, 2x6s), after the match.
Yadav, the right-handed batsman and off-break bowler, scored 60 off 42 balls with four sixes and four fours.
“Till Lalit was there, he took charge and went on the attack. But after his departure, I began to score quickly. The wicket was supporting turn, so I had to score square of the wicket. I played sweep, reverse-sweep and also played cut and pull shots,” added Bhagmender, son of a farmer, who trains at Guru Nanak Public School in Chandigarh alongside India pacer Arshdeep Singh.
The batsman, who had scored a century against Uttar Pradesh in Vijay Hazare one-dayers in November, stayed there till the end taking Delhi Challengers to a four-wicket win over Golden Eagles with 17 balls to spare.
Earlier, Golden Eagle CC had managed just 287/8 in 40 overs on a batting-friendly surface.
The opening partnership between Ankit Kumar (47) and Akshay Singh (61) realised 87 runs in 12 overs.
“One of our openers batted slowly. We needed to score quickly with the new ball in the powerplay overs. Unfortunately, that couldn’t happen,” said Golden Eagle skipper Vaibhav Sharma, who had featured in Delhi’s historic Ranji win over Mumbai last season. Sharma top-scored for his team with 66 off 56 balls (2x6s, 7x4s).
“We dropped Bhagmender early (Rounak Waghela had squandered a caught and bowled opportunity). But the crucial moment came when the ball was changed after 22-23 overs. We thought that it was a bit unfair as the ball hadn’t lost shape. It made things easy for the opposition batsmen as they coasted on the newer, harder ball,” added Sharma.