Mumbai Champs earn consolation win
Mumbai Champs 187 for 3 (Paul 50, Khanolkar 64) beat Kolkata Tigers 180 for 9 (Jhunjhunwala 32, Astle 3-26) by 7 runs
Mumbai Champs, already out of the contention for a semi-final slot, earned a seven-run win over Kolkata Tigers to end a four-match losing streak in the tournament.
Brian Lara, the Champs' captain, opted to bat and the move paid off straightaway as Vikram Solanki and Subhojit Paul put on 46 for the first wicket in 5.3 overs. However, it was the next stand between Paul and Shreyas Khanolkar that set up the winning total for the Champs.
The duo were involved in a 106-run partnership, the first century stand of the tournament. Paul scored 50 off 41 while Khanolkar was more aggressive and hit seven fours and three sixes in his 39-ball 64. The two scored at a brisk pace, with Upul Chandana, the former Sri Lankan legspinner, conceding 17 in one.
Kiran Powar, who had scored a fifty in the match against Chandigarh Lions on Sunday, finished the innings off with 27 off 12 deliveries as the Champs stacked up an imposing 187 for 3. Surprisingly, neither Lara nor Nathan Astle turned out to bat. The score was a daunting one, especially given the fact that the highest successfully chased target in the tournament had been 163.
The Tigers were always in the hunt, with all their batsmen getting healthy starts. Openers Darren Maddy and Deep Dasgupta scored 16 and 31, and were followed by scores of 32, 29 and 28 from Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Craig McMillan and Rohan Gavaskar.
Their inability to stay around longer led to their team's downfall, with the rest of batsmen only managing single-digit scores. Astle took the key wickets of Jhunjhunwala and McMillan in the 11th and 15th overs, and then bowled a tight penultimate over, with the Tigers needing 19 off 12 for victory.
Conceding only six runs in that over, he imposed the pressure that led to the fall of Chandana and Rajiv Kumar, leaving the Tigers with 13 to get off the final over with two wickets remaining.
The tailenders, however, could only manage five to hand the Champs a deserved victory, their first in five games. The Champs will play the fifth-place playoff on Saturday, while the Tigers face the Heroes on Wednesday in a game that will prove decisive in deciding the qualifiers for the semi-finals.