Left-arm pacer Pradeep Sangwan, who missed most of the last first-class cricket season due to injury, returned to Delhi cricket circuit with a bang, scoring a century, but ended his first outing with a whimper, being smacked for two successive sixes in his last over, as his team Sporting Cricket Club lost to Carpediem India by six wickets in the first semi-final of the 46th Lala Raghubir Singh Hot Weather Cricket Tournament.
Opening the batting, Sangwan scored 102 off 96 balls (11x4s, 3x6s) to help his struggling team reach 276/9 in 40 overs. It was a below par score which was overhauled by Carpediem India in 39.1 overs. The winners’ total was built on a century by Shantanu (109 off 98 balls).
“The batsmen up the order, they didn’t play well. Three-four batsmen failed. Even if one of them had built a 50-60 run partnership with me, things would have been different,” said Sangwan, who was with the Gujarat Titans this IPL season but did not get a game.
After an opening partnership of 77 in nine overs between Sangwan and Vikas Solanki (31 off 24), Sporting Cricket Club lost a few quick wickets with Sangwan stranded at one end.
Left-arm spinner Mohammed Asif Mansoori, a freelance cricketer in Delhi who has represented Jharkhand in age-group cricket, ran through the Sporting Club’s middle-order picking 4/48 in his eight overs.
Sangwan managed to add 85 runs with skipper Shivam Gupta (62 off 39) for the fifth wicket.
In response, Carpediem India lost an early wicket but then Shantanu, who hails from Meerut and trained at Victoria Park that gave the likes of internationals Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Praveen Kumar, and their No. 3 batsman Akshdeep Nath (68 off 74) added 156 for the second wicket in 24.1 overs.
“We could get only one batsman early. If we would have two-three breakthroughs early, then we would have had an advantage. The spinners were ineffective too,” said Sangwan.
Shantanu stayed till the 35th over – when they needed around 40 to win — ensuring that he took the team within touching distance of the total.
The 24-year-old’s shots came all around the wicket. His sixes came over cover and one was off a slog-sweep as he paced his innings well.
“We were trying to build a partnership and Akshdeep bhai batted very well. His experience [with Uttar Pradesh Ranji team] came handy and he kept guiding me throughout the innings,” said Shantanu.
“Initially, when I went into bat, I wasn’t getting boundaries. I thought about the innings and planned. I told myself that I would spend some time on the wicket and runs will follow. That eventually paid off. In the later stages of the first power-play, I covered up my strike rate. I am really happy that I scored a hundred,” added Shantanu.
Sangwan, who had picked the openers, tried to make a contest of a match they were losing. He bowled the penultimate over when Carpediem India needed just 15.
The left-arm seamer conceded just two runs off the first four balls. But Sameer Chaudhary, another product from Meerut’s Victoria Park, flicked the seamer towards mid-wicket for six. He then hit a six straight down on the last ball.
That onslaught titled the game heavily in Carpediem India’s favour and a six by Ovais Ahmed off the first ball of the next over sealed it for them.