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Maharaja Trophy : All-round Gulbarga Mystics crowned champions of inaugural edition

Bengaluru : A stylish fifty by Devdutt Padikkal, a late blitzkrieg by captain Manish Pandey and then some accurate bowling by the bowlers led by Manoj Bhandage helped the Gulbarga Mystics lift the inaugural edition of the Maharaja Trophy.

The Mystics saw off the challenge of Bengaluru Blasters by 11 runs at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday night.Batting first, the Gulbarga Mystics got off to a flying start with the in-form Jeswath Acharya and Rohan Patil firing on all cylinders in the powerplay.

Both batters were dealing in boundaries in the initial phase scoring at more than 10 runs an over, as they put on a stand of 60 runs before Patil was the first to depart for 38.

Acharya was joined by the stylish Padikkal and they continued to keep the momentum going.The partnership though wasn’t a big one as Acharya walked back for 39 in the 7th over.

From then on, Padikkal took charge, playing some rather stylish shots and looking set to get a big one.Krishnan Shrijith added a quickfire 38, hitting a couple of sixes and as many boundaries before Manish Pandey and Padikkal took charge in the final phase, with the Mystics well in line for a score in excess of 200.

Padikkal got to his fifty in the 18th over and had the best seat in the house as captain Pandey was going through the gears at a rapid pace at the other end. The 19th over saw Pandey hammer a hat-trick of sixes which pushed the score beyond 200, as the Mystics finished with 220 runs on the board.

In response, the Blasters did not manage a good lift-off, even though Mayank Agarwal and L.R Chethan were looking solid initially. The openers could only put on a 20-run stand before the skipper was castled.

That opened up the floodgates as the middle order collapsed with Kush Marathe (1), Shivkumar Rakshith (0) and Aniruddha Joshi (7) being the next three to fall as the Blasters huffed and puffed their way to 46/4 by the end of the powerplay.

Chethan, meanwhile, was holding one end up. J Suchith was dismissed for 5 while Chethan at the other end had got to his half-century in 21 balls.The Blasters were losing wickets at regular intervals and quite rapidly and needed 139 runs from 11 overs with 5 wickets in hand.

From here on, the complexion of the game changed with the Blasters counter-attacking through Chethan, who had good company in Kranthi Kumar.Chethan was moving along at a rapid pace, dealing in big hits only as he hurtled along towards a century, just about keeping his side in the chase.

The Blasters needed 74 from the last 6 overs. Chethan’s explosive knock though lasted only 40 deliveries during which he scored 91 runs, smashing 8 sixes and 6 fours. The opener’s wicket pretty much put the writing on the wall for the Blasters.

Kranthi Kumar finished with 47 while Pradeep T. was packed off for 3 before Rishi Bopanna (13) and Ronit More (22*) raised hopes with a late onslaught. However, it was a bridge too far for the Blasters, who lost the final by 11 runs.

Brief scores:

Gulbarga Mystics 220/3 in 20 overs (Devdutt Padikkal 56*, Manish Pandey 41*, Jeswath Acharya 39, Rohan Patil 38; Aniruddha Joshi 1/15, Rishi Bopanna 1/35) defeated Bengaluru Blasters 209/9 in 20 overs (LR Chethan 91, Kranthi Kumar 47, Ronit More 22*; Manoj Bhandage 3/32, Ritesh Bhatkal 2/20, Pranav Bhatia 2/39) by 11 runs.



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