T20 Mumbai League 2019: North Mumbai Panthers advance to the finals after a last-ball thriller

Pravin Tambe, batting for just the second time this season, faced the last delivery and sent it straight past the fielder at mid-off to finish the contest for his team

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A back-and-forth contest at the Wankhede that evoked every conceivable emotion and went down to the last ball ended with the North Mumbai Panthers just triumphing over the ARCS Andheri by two wickets to book their place in the final of T20 Mumbai Season 2.  

Batting first, the ARCS were dealt an early blow, as an inch-perfect yorker from pacer Prathamesh Dake caught Andheri skipper Kevin Almeida pad first, giving the Panthers their first breakthrough in just the second over.

In walked all-rounder, Iqbal Abdulla and, alongside Akhil Herwadkar, took the attack to the Panthers’ bowlers and helped the team finish at 47-1 at the conclusion of the powerplay. The pair continued to score freely and picked up 20 off the next 10 deliveries to get their team in a commanding position in the contest.

However, a miscued lofted shot from Abdulla went straight into the hands of the long-off fielder to end his inning of 27 off 22 balls. Next man in was Shubham Ranjane and he, along with Herwadkar, looked comfortable out in the center and continued to build on the foundation laid by Abdulla, forging a 50-run partnership in 37 balls, which placed the ARCS at 125-2 with five overs left in the contest.

Herwadkar’s dismissal in the 16th over after scoring 69 off 47 balls, turned the tide of the contest in the Panthers’ favour, as they curbed the scoring rate which resulted in wickets at regular intervals in the final five overs of the contest. In the 18th over, Prathamesh Dake picked up two scalps and in the subsequent over pacer Atif Attarwala dismissed the dangerous Sufiyan Shaikh as the Panthers allowed just 28 runs in the four overs that preceded the 20th.

Ranjane batted brilliantly in the final over and smashed two boundaries and a six off the final four deliveries to complete his 50 and help the ARCS finish with 166-6.

In reply, Shaw got his team off to a flyer, smashing 12 off the first over but two wickets in quick succession in the third and fourth over put the Panthers on the backfoot and they finished the powerplay with just 38 on the board.

The ARCS picked up their third scalp after some quality work behind the stumps by the keeper as the Panthers were left reeling at 40-3. Over the next four overs, Skipper Shaw and new batsman Swapnil Salvi kept the scoreboard ticking, rotating the strike with relative ease and cashing in any loose delivery on offer and built a quality partnership that got their back in the hunt in the contest.

Salvi completed the pair’s fifty-run stand in grand style, smashing Abdulla for a six straight down the ground and his partner returned the compliment in the very next over, hitting Ankur Singh for a six over deep square leg, a ball after completing his 50.

With the required rate just under 11 with six overs left in the contest, the pair decided to switch gears and scored 28 off the next two overs, which included a couple of sixes and boundaries. Salvi completed his 50 with a massive six in the 17th and picked up another boundary off the final delivery of the over leaving the Panthers to get just 21 off 18 balls.

A six from Shaw on the second ball of the 18th over had seemingly sealed the deal for his team but two wickets in the next four deliveries followed by Tushar Deshpande’s incredible 19th that yielded just two runs and a wicket left the Panthers with nine to get off the final over.

After a single on each of the first two deliveries, Salvi tried to finish the contest with a six over long-off, but his flat and powerful shot found Gaurav Jathar on the boundary in what seemed to be the telling twist in the contest. But more drama ensued on the final three balls, as Attarwala smashed a six to put the scores level but was bowled on the next delivery to leave one to get off the final ball of the match.

Pravin Tambe, batting for just the second time this season, faced the last delivery and with all players inside the circle, the veteran swung his bat at a wide-ish delivery and sent it straight past the fielder at mid-off to finish the contest for his team.

Brief Score:

North Mumbai Panthers (Prithvi Shaw 76, Swapnil Salvi 62, Tushar Deshpande 2-31) beat ARCS Andheri (Akhil Herwadkar 69, Shubham Ranjane 51, Prathamesh Dake 3-37) by two wickets.

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