Kanpur, 5th September 2023: Swastik Chikara’s third consecutive century of the tournament led the Meerut Mavericks to a nine-wicket victory against table-toppers, Noida Super Kings at the ongoing UPT20 in Kanpur. Chasing a moderately challenging total of 172, Swastik Chikara scored 104* runs in 56 balls to grant Meerut their second victory of the competition with four overs to spare. His breathtaking innings were supplemented by Shoaib Siddique (35) and a quick blitz from Rinku Sigh (28*). Earlier in the day, Yash Garg was lethal with the ball for Meerut finishing with figures of 3/18, derailing the Noida Super Kings’ top order.
Invited to bat first, the Noida Super Kings moved the scorecard at a rapid pace as the in-form pair of Almas Shaukat (47) and Samarth Singh (36) took them to 56/0 by the end of the powerplay. Halfway through the innings, Noida looked well on their way to a massive total. However, the 86-run alliance between the openers came to an end in the 11th over after the crafty spin of Yash Garg picked up the well-settled Almas Shaukat and Nitish Rana (0) in quick succession to plug the flow of runs.
Soon after, Meerut’s Vishal Chaudhary scalped Samarth Singh, followed up by Aditya Sharma (1) becoming Garg’s third wicket of the night. The Noida Super Kings’ innings stuttered at 92/4 in 12.1 overs as Arjun Veer (18) and Prashant Bharadwaj (24) combined to stabilize the innings with a 35-run partnership to bring Noida to a score of 129/6 in 17.2 overs, before they departed. In a critical late innings injection, Osho Mohan (13*), and tail-enders, Saurabh Kumar (14) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (14) scored briskly, scoring 45 runs in the final three overs to catapult the Noida Super Kings to a competitive total of 172/8 in 20 overs.
In response, the Meerut Mavericks looked eager to make a quick meal of their target, with Swastik Chikara (108*) leading the assault they finished the powerplay at 63/0. Chikara brought up his half-century in 25 deliveries and along with Shoaib Siddiqui (35), the pair continued to accumulate runs before the juggernaut of a partnership was broken by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in the 11th over as the score read 110/1. Rinku Singh (23*) joined Swastik Chikara as the opener brought up his third century of the tournament in 51 balls, comprising ten fours and six sixes. The pair of Chikara and Rinku Singh saw the Meerut Mavericks cross the finish line comfortably with four overs to spare as the Mavericks finished on 172/8.
Meerut Mavericks won by 9 wickets and 24 balls
Noida Super Kings – 172/8 in 20 overs (Almas Shaukat – 47 runs in 39 balls, Samarth Singh– 36 runs in 29 balls, Prashant – 24 runs in 16 balls, Yash Garg – 3/18, Yogendra Doyla – 2/45, Vishal Chaudhary – 1/25
Meerut Mavericks – 174/1 in 16 overs (Swastik Chikara – 108* runs in 56 balls, Shoaib Siddiqui _ 35 runs in 28 balls, Rinku Singh – 23* runs in 12 balls)
The Kashi Rudras lost opener Shiva Singh (2) early to Gorakhpur’s DP Singh, followed by Shivam Bansal (17) who fell to Vasu Vats as the Kashi Rudras finished the power play at 41/2. Despite the loss of wickets, Skipper Karan Sharma (63) seemed determined to steer his team to a winning total as he put on a century partnership along with Prince Yadav (59*).
Karan Sharma, in fine form, crossed the half-century mark in a mere 30 balls. Before the end of the 15th over, Abdul Rehman finally broke the partnership dismissing Karan Sharma after the dynamic batsman had struck seven fours and three sixes. The Kashi Rudras were placed at 135/3 in 15 overs as Ankur Malik ((33) joined Prince Yadav.
While Prince Yadav brought up a well-deserved half-century and remained unbeaten, Ankur Malik unleashed a barrage of boundaries with three fours and two maximums in only 19 balls to move the run rate along. However, in a potent display of death bowling, Abdul Rehman bowled a shrewd final over, conceding only six runs and taking the wicket of Ankur Malik to restrict the Kashi Rudras to 178/4.
In response, the Gorakhpur Lions had a troubled start to their run chase. Abhishek Goswami (4) was trapped LBW by Shiva Singh and Sameer Choudhary (10) suffered a similar fate at the hands of Bobby Yadav which meant the Lions were struggling by the end of the powerplay at 35/2. Opener Nikhil Pratap Rao (28) laid down the anchor while Siddharth Yadav (41) played aggressively to try to control the mounting required run rate.
The duo built an alliance of 37 runs before Nikhil Pratap Rao was sent back by medium pacer, Prince Yadav with the score reading 65/3 in 9.5 overs. The Lions were falling behind as Yashovardhan Singh came in at number five to join Siddharth Yadav, who soon became Shiva Singh’s second victim of the night. Shivam Sharma chipped in with 13 runs before his dismissal and Yashovardhan Singh (26) was scalped by Atal Bihari Rai to effectively extinguish the Gorakhpur Lions’ chances. The target proved too steep as the Gorakhpur Lions finished at 147/7 to lose the encounter by 31 runs.
Kashi Rudras won by 31 runs
Kashi Rudras: 178/4 in 20 overs (Karan Sharma – 63 runs in 39 balls, Prince Yadav – 59* runs in 42 balls, Ankur Malik – 33 runs in 19 balls, Abdul Rehman – 2/31, Dhruv Pratap Singh – 1/27, Vasu Vats – 1/37)
Gorakhpur Lions: 147/7 in 20 overs (Siddharth Yadav – 41 runs in 27 balls, NP Rao – 28 runs in 27 balls, Yashovardhan Singh – 26 runs in 24 balls, Shiva Singh –2/15, Atal Bihari Rai – 2/34, Prince Yadav – 1/15)