It was the perfect team game Southern Champs Jain University, Bengaluru could have played in the Toyota University Cricket Championship. With Mumbai coasting to victory at 76 for 2 in the 11th over in pursuit of 146, Bengaluru's slow bowlers combined with their fielders to stop the home team six runs short on a dramatic night at the historic Brabourne Stadium. Mumbai, of course, helped with their batsmen blowing away the good work done by their bowlers earlier on Friday evening.
Story first published on: Friday, 08 March 2013 12:03 IST
Bengaluru skipper Kaunain Abbas congratulated his teammates for "keeping their cool under pressure" and backing each other up when it was needed most in the tournament so far.
"I had to keep cool too. If I didn't, my players would get upset. I always knew 145 would be a good score to defend. We had the bowlers and we had the belief. This win will give us lot of confidence going into the final on Sunday (vs Jamia Millia Islamia)," Abbas said.
Bengaluru had a trick up their sleeves on Friday. They played left-arm spinner Suchith Jagadeesh for the first time in the tournament because he was away on Ranji ODI duty for Karnataka. Suchith did the star turn on Friday with four for 10 runs off three overs to destroy the backbone of the Mumbai batting. "It was a good spell and coming as it did under pressure, I am happy we could win the match," said Man of the Match Jagadeesh.
Abbas singled out Jagadeesh's bowling, Nihal Ullal's cameo 32 not out off 20 balls and Liyan Khan's world class catch to dismiss dangerman Kevin D'Almeida for special mention. "It was a combined effort and that is something to feel good about," Abbas said.
The Bengaluru skipper, who remains the tournament's best batsman with an aggregate of 280 runs, said Pankaj Jaiswal's wicket was the "turning point" of the match. "We just wanted his wicket. Once we got him, I was sure the rest would not be able to get the runs as our bowlers were doing well and the fielders were backing them up," Abbas said.
Mumbai captain Jaiswal admitted his batsmen gifted the semifinal away. "While chasing is always difficult, we should have scored 146 runs. We had the depth but our middle order played lousy cricket and we don't have any excuses to make," lamented Arjuna Ranatunga-look alike Jaiswal.