BHUBANESWAR: BCCI’s decision to give top stars a much-needed rest before IPL proved to be a blessing in disguise for fringe or lesser-known players as they got the opportunity to corner glory in the first four matches of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy All-India T20 Super League at two venues in twin cities Cuttack and Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
Playing his first match of the season in any format, all-rounder Shesdeep Patra scalped five wickets for 18 runs to bowl hosts Odisha to a stunning 17-run win over the formidable Mumbai in their rain-curtailed Group B match at DRIEMS Cricket Stadium in Tangi (Cuttack). Punjab, Gujarat and Andhra registered wins in three other matches of the day.
Rookie wicketkeeper P Roshan Kumar Rao also played a notable role in Odisha’s victory, hitting a 34-ball 48 (6x4, 1x6). Electing to bat in a match, which was reduced to 15 overs due to rain, East Zone champions Odisha piled up 125 for eight with Govind Podder (24 off 22) and Suryakanta Pradhan (20 off 7) also making useful contributions. In reply, Mumbai found Patra’s left-arm spin too hot to handle and folded for 108.
Odisha coach Debasis Mohanty showered praise on Patra and Rao for giving the home team a winning start. “Shesdeep was only drafted in after Pratik Das pulled out in order to appear for his academic examination. Though it was his first match of the season, he played an instrumental role in the victory. With the ball not coming on to the bat easily, Shesdeep’s ploy to bowl with reduced speed worked well,” said Mohanty, a former India swing bowler.
Commenting on Rao’s performance, Mohanty said: “Since Roshan had done well in his debut match against Tripura, we decided to promote him to the opening slot. We are happy that he lived up to expectations with a fine knock. He also did well behind the wicket, taking two catches and effecting one stumping.”
Rohit Dahiya scalped three wickets for just seven runs to guide West Zone runners-up Gujarat to a six-wicket win over East Zone No 2 Jharkhand in another Group A match here. Jharkhand’s hapless batting turned the match into a lop-sided contest as they were skittled out for a lowly 78.
Andhra Make Merry
A fine all-round show by Prasanth Kumar helped Andhra crush Himachal Pradesh by six wickets in their Group A match here at KIIT Cricket Ground. He picked up two for 39 and followed it with a cameo innings of 51 with the help of six fours and one six.
Punjab Post Win
Mandeep Singh slammed a 43-ball 67 (8x4, 1x6) to power Punjab to a thrilling one-wicket win over Hyderabad in their Group B match at DRIEMS Stadium in Cuttack. Chama Milind put up impressive performance for Hyderabad, bagging four wickets for 24.
Brief scores: Odisha 125/8 in 15 ovs (P Roshan Kumar Rao 48; Rohan Raje 3-16, Abhishek Raut 2-25) bt Mumbai 108 in 14.4 ovs (Shoaib Shaikh 34; Shesdeep Patra 5-18, Deepak Behera 2-9) by 17 runs. Jharkhand 78 in 19.2 ovs (Rohit Dahiya 3-7, Rush Kalaria 2-8, Jesal Karia 2-10, Jasprit Bumrah 2-22) lost to Gujarat 79/4 in 12.2 ovs (Chirag Gandhi 22 no; Rituraj Singh 2-16, Vikash Kumar 2-24) by 6 wkts. Himachal Pradesh 122 in 20 ovs (Prashant Chopra 43, Rishi Dhawan 37; C Stephen 2-14, B Ayyappa 2-19, D Prashanth 2-36) lost to Andhra 123/4 in 19.2 ovs (D Prashanth 51, Ashwin Hebbar 44) by 6 wkts. Hyderabad 146/5 in 20 ovs (Akshath Reddy 32, T Suman 31; Siddharth Kaul 2-19) lost to Punjab 149/9 in 19.3 ovs (Mandeep Singh 63; C Milind 4-24, Akash Bhandari 2-29, Ravi Kiran 2-28) by 1 wkt.