Skipper Suryakumar Yadav struck a whirlwind knock of 90 not out as Triumph Knights Mumbai North East vanquished Shivaji Park Lions by three runs to become the champions of the inaugural T20 Mumbai League.
Chasing the tricky score of 182 for 5 put up by the Knights at the Wankhede Stadium, the Lions made a brave effort before falling short at 179 for 8 despite a partnership of 82 in 59 balls between Alpesh Ramjani (48 in 38 balls) and Hardik Tamore (39) resurrecting them from 57 for three just past the power play.
Both got dismissed within the space of five balls in the 17th over bowled by medium pacer Vaibhav Singh who ended up with fine figures of 3 for 38.
Shivam Dubey nearly pulled the rug from under the Knights' feet in the last over, when they needed 26 runs, as he smacked three sixes and one four to bring his side agonisingly close to a victory.
The Lions needed four off the last ball from Shashank Singh, who bowled a dot ball to seal the victory. The left-handed Dubey, who made his Ranji debut earlier this season, remained unbeaten on 33 with 12 balls studded with four sixes and one four.
It was a brave but effort by the unheralded Lions, lacking big names, as they had won the Eliminator and the second Qualifier against Namo Bandra Blasters and Sobo Super Sonics to enter the final.
The Lions' run-chase came after rival captain Yadav tore apart their bowling. Coming to the crease with his team fumbling badly at 34 or 5, the Knights' captain remained unbeaten at the end, ten short of a coveted ton, by rescuing his team from a sorry-reading 34 for 5 to a score of 182 for 5 in the company of Parikshit Valsangkar, who remained unconquered with 59 off 49 balls.
The Ranji batsman, who will be playing for defending IPL champions Mumbai Indians this season, slammed seven huge sixes and as many fours in his audacious knock of 90 off just 42 balls. He reached his fifty with a six in 32 balls. Valsangkar gave him fine support by first beginning calmly and then opening out to strike five fours and two sixes.
The sixth wicket duo put on a whirlwind, unfinished partnership of 148 in 84 balls, the highest partnership of the tournament, to give their side a fighting chance to lift the title after Lions, had looked down and out at the end of power play after losing two wickets each in the third and fourth overs and another in the sixth.
Yadav, along with Valsangkar, totally dominated the bowling to strike as many as eight sixes and four fours in the last five overs which helped Lions add as many as 84 runs in this period.
Yadav finished the innings on a rousing note as he carted left arm pacer and Mumbai Ranji teammate Roystan Dias, who had taken two wickets in successive balls in the fourth over, for 24 runs in the last over, hitting two sixes — including one off the last ball — and three fours. Dias ended up by giving away over 50 runs after nearly securing a hat-trick in his second over.
Earlier, Siddharth Raut and Dias were both on hat-tricks by packing off two batsmen each in successive balls in the third and fourth overs to reduce Lions to 16 for four after 21 balls.
Chasing the stiff target, Lions got off to a poor start losing opener Paul Valthaty in the fourth ball and were revived by a breezy knock of 32 in 17 balls, studded with one six and five fours, from skipper Bravish Shetty.
Losing him in the fourth over with 43 on board was a big blow for the Lions who then lost Siddharth Akre in the 7th over and looked in difficulties at 57 for 3.
However, Ramjani and Tamore had other ideas as they stitched a crucial stand to put the Lions on the path to victory just as they had done yesterday against the Super Sonics. Both got out in the same over, 17th, and their departure ended their hopes of a title triumph.
The title winners took home Rs 1 crore in prize money while runners-up Lions got Rs 50 lakh.
Brief scores: Triumph Knights Mumbai North East 182 for 5 (Parikshit Valsangkar 59 not out, Suryakumar Yadav 90 not out; Siddharth Raut 2 for 11, Royston Dias 2 for 53) beat Shivaji Park Lions 179 for 8 (Bravish Shetty 32, Alpesh Ramjani 48, Hardik Tamore 39, Shivam Dubey not out 33; Vaibhav Singh 3 for 38, Atif Attarwala 2 for 23) by three runs.
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