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Tiger Pros win 2017 T35 Championship
It was a cool breezy morning with wind gusts of 15-25 mph all day. These were going to be some testing conditions for bowlers, batsman and above all fielders. On one side, you have the Hill Country Cricket Association Ravens. A team who had only one (very close) loss all season and then caught fire going into the Playoffs. They enjoyed most of their success in games while chasing. Their opponent, the Round Rock Cricket Club Tigers Pro. Tigers Pro did not lose a single game this season. They had a slow start with the season with few rained out games in a row and won majority of their games chasing too.
Both captains made their way to do the toss. Tigers Pro won the toss and elected to field first. Both captains briefed their players and were ready to begin.
Ravens opened with Pravin Hedge and Anirudh “Ani” Chitaluru. Tigers Pro chose to start off with Araaf Saqib, a young fast bowler. Pravin and Ani both started off well with the aid of extras from the bowlers, until Eraaf bowled Pravin for the first wicket of the innings. Adithya “Adi” Nagarajan was the next batsman in. Tahir Khan bowled a fiery 5 over spell which helped restrict the Ravens to around 4-5 runs an over for the first 10 overs or so. Mohammad Adnan was bought into the attack a jolted the Ravens with 2 wickets of Adi and Ani. Ani and Adi put together a 40-run partnership which setup a good base for incoming batsman Ashish Malhotra to come and express himself. Sunil Sudhakar and Ashish Malhotra put up rapid partnership of 105 runs. They played some brave shots and clever shot with the wind to clear the boundary 17 times between themselves. Ashish scored a blistering 83 off 57 with 8x4 and 2x6. While Sunil scored a solid captain knock of 59 off 42 with 4x4 and 3x6. Ravens were looking to score a big total until the young left arm spinner Saad Humayun and the very experienced Mohammad Adnan were bought into the attack to get the wickets of Ashish and Sunil, respectively. Rajashekar “Raj” Tadi and Kedar Purohit played some fearless shots to help accelerate the final score to 250 for the Ravens. This was the highest total posted by any team against the Tigers Pro this season. It was going to be a tough and tricky total to chase.
Tigers Pro need 251 runs to become the CTCL 2017 T35 Champions. Tigers Pro opened with their two young righty openers, Majjid Zubair and Araaf Saqib. With some extras and big shots from Majjid Zubair the Tigers were 46-0 in 5 overs. With so many runs being leaked, the bowling change to bring in Karthik Iyer from one end and Raj from the other would prove match changing. Majjid fell to a wide delivery from Raj that was caught behind and ended a 46-run partnership with Araaf. Basit Zubair went one down and then quickly got out while trying to clear the boundary off Karthik’s bowling. After 2 quick wickets fell Humayun Bashir was sent in to stabilize the innings for the Tigers Pro. Humayun then got out to a miscued shot that was caught on the straight boundary from Karthik’s bowling again. Arun Reddy was the next batsman to come in and cut down this total but was LBW his first ball off Raj’s bowling. Tigers Pro fell to 71-4 in quick time. Ravens put themselves right back into the game and put themselves in good position to get the Tiger Pros all-out. Young left-handed Saad Humayun had lots of pressure on him to help his team cross the finish line. Araaf and Saad got the Tigers Pro back on track. They were systematically chasing down the target. They were required to get 7 runs an over. Araaf was smashing boundaries with some incredible shots and Saad rotated strike enough to keep up with the Run Rate. Ravens were creating many chances to get Araaf and Saad out but failed to capitalize on any. Ani was bought into the attack late and broke up a 157-run partnership between by getting Araaf caught out on the boundary. Araaf scored 134-run with 8x4 and 10x6. Gohar Tareen was sent in next to chase down the last 20-odd runs left in 5 overs.
Tigers Pro won with 16 balls to spare. Araaf was the Man of the Match for his outstanding performance on both sides of the ball.
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