Photo Credits: The Goan
Dempo Challengers overcame a stern test of their title defence credentials with a narrow 2-run victory over a battling Desserts N'More Avengers in the first Eliminator match of the 3rd Panjim Gymkhana Members League T20 tournament on Sunday.
Dempo Challengers will meet Prescon Panthers in the second Eliminator clash on February 17.
The victory was a result of a collective team performance by Dempo Challengers, who posted a challenging total of 162/7 after electing to bat first. The new-entrants of the PGML, Desserts N'More Avengers batted with confidence and paced the chase very well to get within a scoring shot of victory before losing their last wicket at the total of 160 on the second-last ball of the final over.
Dempo Challengers skipper Kiran Shirwaikar was named Man-of-the Match as he bowled the all-important last over where Desserts N'More needed 12 runs, and took the crucial wicket when just 2 runs were required off last two balls. Kiran (39 off 26 balls; 3x4, 2x6) was also one of the major contributors with the bat for Dempo Challengers. Niraj Lotlekar was the top-scorer, making 40 runs off 29 deliveries with the help of five boundaries and a sixer. The wicket-keeper was also brilliant behind the stumps as he effected two important stumpings later in the match to swing the tide in Dempo's favour. Sumiran Mehta (25) and Dhilan Shah (24) also chipped in with valuable runs in the do-or-die battle.
Desserts N'More Avengers bowlers did their best to relatively restrict their rivals on a good pitch to bat on. Balakrishna Hodarkar took 2 wickets, while skipper Sameer Chodankar and Rohit Salgaonkar picked up one wicket each.
In their reply, Desserts N'More Avengers kept their asking run rate at par after opener Sairaj Dhond played a blazing cameo of 16-ball 27 with three sixes and a boundary providing the impetus. Sameer Chodankar (24) and Harsh Jethaji (24) helped keep the momentum going before Saif Ali Karajgi provided the late charge and almost finished the job with an entertaining knock of 37 runs off 20 balls (1x4, 3x6). He was, however, stranded at the non-striker end when last-man Siddhesh Sane was adjudged LBW off the second-last ball of the innings.
Dempo Challengers bowlers worked hard with Shekhar Amonkar being superb once again taking 2/09 in his 3 overs. Dinesh Amrute also took two wickets while Dhilan Shah, Harsh Parekh and Sudin Kamat claimed one wicket each.
Sharad Pednekar was the chief guest for the presentation and gave away the Man-of-the-match award in the presence of Girish Parekh.