Summer League gets under way
The Summer League finally got under way with five games scheduled for the weekend of July 4-5. Based on Saturday’s games, the seven team Summer League looks to be highly competitive. In the opener, Avengers edged the NL Tigers by just one wicket. The Tigers batted first and new recruit Ali Raza made a rapid 56 from 36 balls, taking them to 84/2 from 11.2 overs before he was bowled by Praveen Manhas. Mohammed Zilani (16) and Imran Ahmed (20) helped the Tigers to 143/9 from 20 overs. Four Avengers bowlers took one wicket, and Praveen Manhas two. Praveen contributed 15 to a 93 run opening partnership with Gurman Khurana, who was fourth out with 72 to his name. At that point the Avengers only needed 19 to win, but wickets tumbled and it fell to their last wicket pair to scramble the last two runs for victory.
The second match saw an outstanding bowling performance from Royal Challenger’s Mukul Dhawan lead them to an upset win over last year’s league champions, NSK. Mukul bowled a brilliant opening spell, taking 5 wickets in his first three overs, reducing NSK to 28/5. He came back to take two more wickets in his last over, with final figures of 7/17, the best bowling figures recorded since league play started in 2011 (and earning him a place on the honours board). NSK were all out for 64, and Royal Challengers cruised to an 8 wicket victory in 9.2 overs, Bhupesh Sharma making an unbeaten 35.
In the final match on Saturday, the Hurricanes made their debut against the Eagles, restricting them to just 101/8 from 20 overs – and that was dependent on a 20 run 10th wicket partnership between top-scorer Taqrim Ghous and Osama Saeed. Their batting was less successful, however, only Mohammed Ruhel Miah reaching double figures as they were bowled out for 75. Raheel Zaman took 4/18, and Osama Saeed 2/5.
Sunday was cool and damp with fog and drizzle in the skies as the NL Stars made their debut against the Royal Challengers. Dropped catches cost the Stars dearly as Amit Neghani and Ranvir Rana (44) made the most of their second chances, putting on 79 for the first wicket. Aakash Singh made 25, and after the third wicket fell on 142, Amit and Maanik Arora put on 99 together to take RC to 241/3. Maanik made 65* from 28 balls, and Amit Neghandi batted through the innings for 75*.
The skies started to clear when the Stars batted, and they got off to a promising start, Shivam Chauhan making 23 of a 41 run opening partnership. Junayed Tushar came in at 3, and played a fine innings of 80 in just 43 balls, but the Stars fell well behind the required run rate, and were 80 runs short when their innings closed.
In the final match of the weekend saw the Avengers cruise to a big win over the Eagles. Rahul Vashishtha (92 from 55 balls) and Gurman Khurana (76* from 35 balls) put on 149 for the third wicket, and the Avengers totalled 235/4. The Eagles got off to a good start with Adeel Ilyas (16) and Raheel Zaman (38) putting on 59 for the first wicket, but then Bharath Shetty got his name on the honours board with an excellent spell, taking 6/21 and the Eagles were bowled out for 108 in 14.4 overs.
Scorecard (note Nouman Rashid was run out by M Asim)
Some socially distant team pictures..