Lakshay Thareja century takes Goat XI to win in Lala Raghubir cricket

- May 23, 2023
| By : Khurram Habib |

The Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman hits 16 off the last three deliveries to snatch a thrilling two-wicket win for his team

Lakshay Thareja hit 130 not out off 93 balls

Lakshay Thareja, the 25-year-old Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman, snatched victory for his team, Goat XI, from jaws of defeat with an unbeaten 130 off 93 deliveries against the fancied Delhi Capitals Bal Bhawan in the 46th Lala Raghubir Singh Memorial Cricket Tournament.

The right-handed batsman, who represented Delhi in two Ranji Trophy games, three one-dayers and two T20s this season, had taken his team that was struggling at 159/5 after 21.2 overs to a two-wicket victory on the last ball of the match.

With the team needing 15 in the last over, the north Delhi resident watched from the other end in anguish as wickets fell on the first two balls.

“I just wanted them to take a single and give me strike. I knew if I was there till the last ball, I would take the team to victory. I have done this multiple times in the past. I love chasing. It becomes easier to calculate when you are chasing. I knew even if we need 20 runs in last over, we can win,” said the player, who represents Air India in DDCA league and is on a stipend for them.

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After two wickets, the No. 10 batsman, Aatrey Tripathi, managed to give him strike.

“When I got the strike, we needed 14 off the last three balls and I had this belief that I will win the match for the team. Luckily, I delivered,” said Thareja.

The bowler, Vansaj Sharma, an under-25 left-arm spinner representing Jammu and Kashmir, wanted to execute yorkers in the last over. He failed to do so.

Thareja reverse-swept the fourth delivery between deep point and third man for four. With the equation down to 10 off two, he got a full toss from Sharma, and made room to clear the ball over cover boundary for a six. On the last ball too, he hit a six over cover to take his team past the target.

What stood out was his fitness. Even after he had gone past his century, he was aware of the opportunity to take runs off an overthrow and quickly grasped it.

Earlier Arpit Rana’s 101 (off 65 balls) and Dev Lakra’s 85 (off 53 balls) helped DC Bal Bhawan make 304 before they were all out in 39 overs.

Rana, the 19-year-old opener, who represented Delhi under-25 batted aggressively.

“I wanted to go after the bowling and hit boundaries. Wanted to play less dot balls. The wicket was good for batting. I just wanted to give off my best. When powerplay ended, we had 80 runs on the board,” said the Janakpuri resident Rana who had completed half-century in the powerplay overs itself.