Sunshine Ndovu’s bowlers held their nerve in a thrilling run chase to clinch a one – run win over the S&S Acrovent Rhinos to book a final slot in the second edition of the Maniwa T20 Cup with a match to spare.
Hiren Varaiya posted 36 runs from 25 balls as Sunshine Ndovu made 8/152 batting first while Krishna Babu’s 2 for 30 including the last over wicket of Acrovent Rhino’s top scorer Arun Balaraman (55) helped Ndovu defend a total that proved only just adequate.
Rhinos entered the last over, bowled by Babu, needing 14 runs to win with five wickets in hand, bowling off in the best way possible when he had Varun Prakash caught at cow corner for 11 from seven balls.
Ndovu recovered with a boundary off Ritesh Pamnani and the match would have ended in the next three deliveries had Rhinos’ fielders not stopped three balls that were headed to the boundary for only six runs to leave Ndovus needing four off the final delivery.
Pamnani edged one to covers but Rajesh Selvaraj sprinted and roped it in with the ball just inches to the boundary, his throw catching Lokesh Venkat short of his crease.
“We gave it our all but unfortunately things did not work out in our favour. After a poor start, that finish was the best way to end the match and it’s just unfortunate that it didn’t go our way. Ndovu batted really well at the end of their innings and managed to get the final score. We also lost three quick wickets but managed to get to this finish, so, it was a good match,” Rhino’s skipper Ram Murugesh said.
Ndovu’s innings started poorly, losing their first wicket for 15 runs but Babu (34) and Tathineni Surendra (22) held it up in the middle to get them to 52 after 7 overs.
After Babu was dismissed by Pamnani in the 12th over, Varaiya and Arvind Viswanath (20) stuck on the wicket to get them to the final score.
Pamnani and Prakash were the main wicket takers for Ndovu with 2/31 and 2/23 respectively.
Rhinos lost Tilak Nagraj in the first over for a duck, Antony Dean was brilliantly caught at point by Babu before Santosh Gore was caught behind leaving the Board on 3/21 after 4.1 overs.
It took a patient knock of 55 from 34 balls from Balaraman to get the match within Rhino’s reach before an lbw decision against him off Babu in the 18th over with the board on 123 changed their match fortunes.
Pamnani tried to revive their hopes of a final spot with an unbeaten 42 from 32 balls but that wasn’t enough after the last ball – run out.
With the win, Sunshine Ndovu advance to the final and will play Kifaru Chargers.