August 24-25 matches; a win for Tigers and two for NSK
As the league nears its conclusion the results of weekend matches kept the final positions in doubt.
In the opening match, the Newfoundland Super Kings beat the Avengers by 4 wickets, to tie them on points at the top of the table, only to move past them with another win on Sunday.
NSK won the toss and asked the Avengers to bat. Nick Baxter and Arif Sheikh dismissed the openers early, and Maanik Arora and Gurman Khurana had to rebuild the innings with a partnership of 72. They faced tight bowling (only 3 wides in the innings, and the first boundary did not come until the 9th over), but were helped by NSK failing to take their catches. Maanik made 37 before Nick Baxter caught him on the boundary. Gurman went on to make 59, batting into the final over, and with assistance from Daxraj Mehta (19) helped set NSK a target of 145 to win.
Rahul Vashishtha got the Avengers off to a great start with two quick wickets, and the game was in the balance after Rakesh Negi (25) was caught on the boundary. Abhishek Doshi (27) helped take the score to 84, but then two more wickets had NSK at 104/6. Nick Baxter, however hit well – 5 sixes in his 56*, and with help from Raga Ganesan (18*), NSK won with 9 balls to spare.
In the second match, the NL Tigers beat Royal Challengers by 30 runs, to keep hopes of a 4th place finish alive. The Tigers made 138/8 from 20 overs, with Adeel Ilyas top-scoring with 26, and Abu Syed making 21. Aryan Falke took 4/20 and Mukul Dhawan 2/12 for the Royal Challengers. In reply the Royal Challengers could not get going against tight bowling and fielding, making 108/6, Amit Neghandi top-scoring with 32. The Tigers are now just two points behind the Royal Challengers who are in 4th place.
On Sunday, NSK played the Eagles. Eagles batted first and Nick Baxter had them in deep trouble right away with a hat-trick spanning his 2nd and 3rd over (his second this summer). He finished with the impressive figures of 3/6 from his 4 overs. Khurram Shazaad (45) batted patiently to help the Eagles recover and set NSK 115 to win. Abhishek Doshi (37) top-scored for NSK with 34, and Nick Baxter hit a quick 27* as NSK won by 6 wickets with 3 overs to spare. NSK now lead the Avengers in standings with 9 wins and one loss to Avengers 8 and 2.
NSK have games against Tigers (next week) and Royal Challengers (7 September) left, whereas Avengers play Eagles twice over the Labour Day weekend.