Upul Tharanga’s 76 off 56 deliveries powered Kandurata Maroons to 154 for nine against Otago Volts in the third qualifier at the Punjab Cricket Association Ground, Mohali on Wednesday.
This game is a must-win game for Kandurata as they lost their first game against Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets.
Kandurata began their innings in a sedate manner. The openers Tharanga and Shehan Jauasuriya found run-scoring difficult against the incessant line and length bowled by Otago opening bowlers Ian Butler and James McMillan. Kandurata batsmen were trying too hard to play their shots as desperation set in after a spate of dot balls. The first boundary of the innings came in the fourth over hit by Tharanga that beat the deep cover.
Jayasuriya was dismissed in the final ball of the powerplay over, going for an almighty heave going across the line. Kandurata managed to score only 25 in the first six overs.
Kumar Sangakkara announced his intentions rightaway hitting by charging Neil Wagner off his first delivery of the innings. The Kandurata No. 3 managed to get a top-edge which beat the wicketkeeper for a boundary.
The impetus in the Kandurata innings came in the eighth over — first by Nathan McCullum. Tharanga lifted the Otago off-spinner for two sixes — one over the sightscreen and the other over long-off. Sangakkara welcomed Jimmy Neesham with a six over long-on but got out trying to repeat that shot. Sangakkara failed to time the shot.
Dilhara Lokuhettige, who hit 22 off 10 deliveries against Sunrisers Hyderabad, joined Tharanga who was beginning to open his shoulders. Otago wicketkeeper Derek de Brooder dropped Tharanga off McCullum. That proved to be costly as Tharanga hit a six and a boundary off that over to spoil Nathan McCullum’s bowling figures. The Otago off-spinner’s bowling figures read 2-0-30-0.
Lokuhettige pressed on the accelerator smashing Butler for a four straight down the ground and a six over mid-wicket. Kandurata were enjoying the pace on the ball. Brendon McCullum introduced Ryan ten Doeschate, whose forte is the change of pace, into the attack.
The Dutch all-rounder befuddled Lokuhettige with a slower delivery which was spooned to long-on. In his next over captain Lahiru Thirimanne was a victim of another slower delivery bowled by ten Doeschate. Thirimanne tamely gave a catch to covers and scored a run-a-ball six.
The 18th over turned the momentum in favour of Otago. Butler picked up three wickets and conceded three runs in his final over. Tharanga, who hit six fours and three sixes, tried to go over the covers but managed to find the outstretched hands of Brendon McCullum. Kaushal Lokuararchi tried to improvise first up trying the paddle sweep but managed to expose his stumps. The leg-stump cartwheeled to give Butler a hat-trick chance. Nuwan Kulasekara took a single off the hat-trick ball. Off the last ball of the over, a full and straight delivery was hit across the line by Chamara Silva. Butler was the most successful bowler picking up three for 21 in his four overs.
In the end, Kandurata managed to score in excess of 150 thanks to Kulasekara (14 off eight deliveries). Will Kandurata Maroons defend this total and stay afloat in this competition?
A win for Otago will ensure their entry in the main phase of the competition.
Kandurata Maroons 154 for 9 in 20 overs (Upul Tharanga 76; Ian Butler 3 for 21) vs Otago Volts.
(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)