Ahmedabad, Mar 17, 2013
A stroke-filled 87 by opener Asad Pathan helped Gujarat thrash Maharashtra by eight wickets in the inaugural match of the West Zone Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy at the Motera ‘B’ ground at Ahmedabad on Sunday.
Asad, who was dropped twice during his innings, hit seven sixes and six fours in his 44-ball knock as Gujarat overhauled Maharashtra’s 147 for eight in 14.2 overs, to begin their campaign on a winning note.
The Bharuch-based Asad, who opened the innings for Gujarat with captain and wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, was severe on spinners. He hit two sixes in the fifth over off the bowling of Shubham Ranjane as Gujarat raced away to 67 in six overs, despite losing Parthiv early.
The dimunitive wicket-keeper had hit four crisp boundaries in his short innings and provided the initial momentum. Parthiv was out for 18 trying to loft pacer Samad Fallah over the infield, caught at mid-off by Kedar Jadhav.
Niraj Patel, who came to bat in at Number three, anchored the innings even as Asad hit boundaries at will. Even after the powerplay ended, the opener hit a six over mid-wicket off the bowling of off-spinner Ankit Bawne before being dropped by Akshay Darekar in the next ball at long-on.
The drop proved to be a costly one as Asad cut left-arm spinner Darekar behind point for a boundary and pulled him over mid-wicket for another four in the next over as the home team accumulated 90 in eight overs.
In need of a wicket to get back into the contest, visiting captain Rohit Motwani brought back his strike bowler Fallah to the attack and he responded by trapping southpaw Niraj with a low, full ball in front of the wicket. Niraj, had however, played his part by adding 86 runs for the second wicket with Asad.
Niraj’s departure brought Manpreet Juneja to the wicket who helped himself to 14 runs off 8 balls, including a six over deep mid-wicket, as he, in the company of Asad, took Gujarat home without any further hiccups.
Earlier, invited to bat first, Maharashtra began on a sedate note with openers Harshad Khadiwale and Vijay Zol putting on 32 runs for the first wicket before the former was caught by Akshar Patel off the bowling of pacer Mehul Patel for 10.
Thereafter, Zol departed for 23 caught by Juneja off the bowling of Mehul as the visitors slumped to 34-2.
Nikhil Naik and Kedar Jadhav consolidated by putting on 57 runs for the third wicket before the latter was bowled by left-arm orthodox Akshar Patel for 19 runs.
Naik, who hit 52 off 34 balls with four sixes and three boundaries, was joined by Prayag Bhati and the duo took the score to 114 before Akshar had Naik caught by Jesal Karia.
Bhati hit five boundaries and remained unbeaten on 30.
Maharashtra’s lower middle-order failed to make any substantial contribution as Jaspreet Bumrah bowled a tight last over conceding just five runs, helping to keep the visitors under 150.
For Gujarat, Akshar and Mehul took three wickets each conceding 21 and 33 runs, respectively. Bumrah took a wicket in his four overs conceding 20 runs.
“I was hitting balls which were in my range. Went in with a positive frame of mind. The wicket was good to bat on,” Asad told reporters after the match.
Gujarat coach Mukund Parmar said the team will have to improve their fielding before the next match. “The boys played brilliantly. But, we dropped a few catches and have to improve our ground fielding,” said Parmar.
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