Opener Hrithik Shokeen, whose father was inspired by Virender Sehwag and therefore put his son in cricket at the age of seven, blitzed the St Stephen’s field like the former India star with sixes and fours on his way to 52-ball 92 to help Goat XI power enter semi-finals with a three-wicket win over Chand Khanna CC in the Goswami Ganesh Dutt Memorial Cricket Tournament, on Tuesday.
Chand Khanna had scored 283/4 in their 40 overs. In response, Goat XI reached the target in 32.2 overs, losing seven wickets.
“I played my natural game. The surface was good and the ball was coming onto the bat. I thought I will play my best shots here,” said Shokeen after the game.
The 22-year-old right-handed batsman, who is also an off-spinner, has just returned from the Indian Premier League, where he represented Mumbai Indians.
He batted freely as he hit shots all around the ground to give his side a 151-run partnership for the first wicket with Gulzar Singh (61 off 35).
By the time Shokeen was dismissed in the 17th over as the second wicket, Goat XI had already reached 191 and victory from there was a mere formality.
“I played the ball on merit, adapting according to the situation,” said Shokeen, who also took two wickets for 30 runs in seven overs.
Considering what he said, it appears there weren’t too many deliveries worthy of merit.
Once he was dismissed, Chand Khanna bowlers sensed an opportunity as they picked five more wickets before Shokeen’s side hung on.
“The outing in such matches is good for the upcoming domestic season,” added Shokeen, who graduated from the Swami Shraddhanand College.
Shokeen’s knock overshadowed the century by Chand Khanna batsman Yugal Saini (112 off 81 balls).
The 20-year-old, who represents Mount Cricket Club in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) league, played a lot of inside-out shots over the field against left-arm spinners Yashjeet Bhalara, Ankit Chauhan and Rajat Lohchab.
Saini, who started cricket at the age of 12, hit a couple of sixes down the ground at the sightscreen and one over mid-wicket.
The Palam resident built on a good start from the openers, who added 96 for the first wicket. Saini added 129 for the third wicket with Ankit Pratap Singh.
“We got a good start from openers and wanted to continue. Those who came down the order, if they had struck partnerships, we could have crossed 300,” added Saini while mentioning the below-par score on a batting surface.