Batsman Dev Lakra is making a comeback to Delhi cricket circuit from a knee injury that had ruled him out last season following a promising start in 2021-22.
The 20-year-old Dwarka resident has been on the money in the two matches he has played in the Hot Weather tournaments, getting scores of 80-odd on both occasions.
The second one that came on Thursday — a 54-ball 81 against Sahgal Cricket Club — in the Goswami Ganesh Dutt Memorial Cricket Tournament, guaranteed a place for his team, Goat XI, in the final of the tournament.
The innings assumed importance considering the fact that Goat XI had lost their openers – Gulzar Singh and Hrithik Shokeen — early. Himmat Singh (14), who stuck around to add 48 with Lakra too returned in the 13th over.
Lakra, however, did not buckle under pressure and showcased his entire repertoire of strokes.
“We lost two wickets early. I thought I will play my shots since I had keep my run-rate up. I backed my shots. Whenever the ball was in my slot, I hit it. I wanted to play aggressively right from the start,” he said after the match.
The match had been reduced to 32-overs-a-side due to rains.
“We always eye a score in excess of 300, but since the match was reduced to 32 overs, we thought of scoring over 250. I still feel that we didn’t make enough runs in the last few overs,” added Lakra.
The right-hander added 68 with Dhruv Singh (44 off 26, 5x6s) for the fourth wicket.
Goat XI sensed an opportunity when Abdul Samad came into the attack. The J&K leg-spinner, who represented Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL), was hit for two sixes by Lakra on the first two balls of the 16th over of the innings and that set the ball rolling. Both the sixes came down the ground.
“We decided to take on the bowlers in the middle-overs. We thought Abdul Samad is a part-timer, so we should attack him. We got 14 runs from it and that gave us the confidence to attack the main spinners,” added Lakra.
The total of 258 (all out in 31.4 overs) was a big one.
Pace bowler, Vaibhav Arora, who plays for Himachal Pradesh, was the pick of the bowlers with 5/24 in 6.4 overs.
“There were overcast conditions and I swung the ball both ways. I used slow bouncers in the death overs,” said Arora who bowled Hrithik Shokeen in the third over and then mopped up the tail.
Sahgal Club began the chase well, racking up 91 for the first wicket in just over nine overs. Both Ayush Badoni (44 off 34) and Sarul Kanwar (51 off 29) batted aggressively against new ball bowlers.
But they lost their way after Badoni’s dismissal on the third ball of the 10th over. Kanwar followed in the 13th and Abdul Samad fell in the 16th for 16.
“We started well with the bat but lost a few wickets in the middle and that is why we lost to lose track,” said Arora, who represented Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL.
Carpediem India enter Raghubir semis
Carpediem India defeated Haryana Cricket Academy (HCA) XI by three wickets to enter the semi-finals of Lala Raghubir Singh Hot Weather Cricket Tournament.
Batting first, HCA XI were bowled out for 221 in 36.1 overs with Sumit Beniwal (4//39) and Ramesh Prasad (4/31) pick of the bowlers.
In response, Carpediem India chased the target in 36.2 overs, scoring 227 for seven wickets. Rohan Rathi scored 70 off 53 balls to win man-of-the-match award. He shared an 83-run partnership with Kaif Ahmed for fourth wicket and a 61-run partnership with Uvais Ahmad for fifth wicket.