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Report: DDCA vs Kerala, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, 2014

Kerala pull off 14-run win against Delhi

Kerala beat Delhi by 14 runs in their opening game of the BCCI T20 Super League in Mumbai. The Kerala openers set up the game in their team’s favour with an 89-run opening stand. Their bowlers then struck at regular intervals to keep the Delhi batsmen in check and held them to 136 for nine to bowl their side to victory.

Earlier, asked to bat first at Wankhede stadium, the Kerala openers got off to a flying start. VA Jagdeesh and Rakesh KJ struck the bowlers all over the ground to lay the foundation for a competitive score. Scoring at over eight runs per over, the pair was cruising along until Yogesh Nagar removed both batsmen off successive deliveries in the 12th over. V A Jadgeesh, who had reached his 50 in the previous over, was the first to depart for 52, while his opening partner was bowled shortly afterwards.

With the team on 89 for two, Kerala had two new batsmen – Sanju Vishwanadh and Rohan Prem – at the crease. And then, Rohan Prem departed off the first ball of the next over. The loss of quick wickets affected the run-rate a little. But Sanju and Sachin Baby worked to stem the fall of wickets and keep the scoreboard ticking. Kerala then reached the three-figure mark in 13.5.

Sachin Baby reverse swept Nagar for four in the bowler’s last over to take Kerala to 121 for three at the end of 16 overs. However, departed after adding 18 runs to the total. Jafar Jamal was the next to return to the dugout. Sachin Baby, who had earlier slammed Sumit Narwal for a six, followed Jafar into the dressing room later in the same over. With the team on 138 for six in the penultimate over, Anfal PM joined P Prasanth in the middle. The pair added nine runs in the last over to take their team to a respectable 150 at the end of the innings.

While chasing the target, Delhi lost their first wicket with 16 runs on the board. Mohit Sharma was caught by the wicketkeeper and was replaced by Kshitiz Sharma in the middle. 10 runs later, Aditya Kaushik was castled by P Prasanth bringing Jagrit Anand to the crease. The batsman then opened his account with a boundary through the leg side off the last ball of the over.

In his next over P Prasanth clipped Kshitiz’s bails to leave Delhi on 35 for three. Striving to take the innings forward Nagar joined Anand in the middle and the duo took the team to 52 for three at the end of ten overs. The batsmen took a few risks while they looked to increase the run rate.

With the pressure increasing, Nagar looking to up the run-rate, holed out to deep mid-wicket off Jagdeesh. In the next over, Anand struck Rakesh for six and was caught at long-on by Sachin Baby off the next ball while looking for another big hit.

While the Kerala bowlers kept the opposition batsmen in check, the fielders also put a good effort in the field. With five wickets down, Bisht came out to the middle and returned after adding just five to leave Delhi on 89 for six. Pratuyush Singh then joined Narwal in the middle. Narwal, who then hit Rakesh for a six and a boundary, was castled by the bowler. Rakesh claimed two wickets while conceding 13 runs off his last over.

With 46 required from the last three overs, Varun Sood clobbered Prasanth for two sixes on the leg side to collect 17 runs off the over. With the match precariously poised, Pratuyush’s edge went past the ‘keeper to the fence. The pair took their chances as they looked glean runs off the Kerala bowlers.Then, Vinod Kumar dislodged Pratuyush’s bails off the last ball of the penultimate over to leave Delhi on 129 for eight.

With 22 required off the last over, Thampy was handed the ball by his skipper. And soon, Sood perished for 22 (off 13 balls) with three deliveries left in the innings. With Kerala firmly in the driver’s seat, Javed then joined Vikas Tokas in the middle. But it was too little too late for Delhi as Kerala pulled off a 14-run win.  

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Difficult to express this feeling: Sangakkara

Sri Lankan ‘keeper-batsman ecstatic as side’s hard work pays off

The big win is finally here for the islanders. After four years of being in World Cup finals, Sri Lanka has finally got the monkey off their back. They last won a World Cup in 1996, and after 18 long years, Sri Lanka have managed to get another World Cup title under their belt.

It was a fitting farewell for two stalwarts of Sri Lankan cricket in the shortest format of the game – Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Sangakkara, who scored a match-winning half-century in the final against India on Sunday, was humbled by the fact that his side wanted to win the World Cup for the veteran duo.

"It is wonderful that the side wanted to win it for us," Sangakkara said. "This is the first time I have been a part of a team that has won a World Cup. It is hard to describe exactly what you feel, but you feel humble. You realise how difficult it is to get here, how much support you need, not just from your teammates, but from your family, your fans, and the support staff.”

Sri Lanka has every right to be proud. They have trounced a side that was clinical throughout the tournament, a side that had not faced a loss in the 2014 WT20 until the final. For Sri Lanka, the hard work had finally paid off. "Anyone can say anything. Some say winning is luck, some say winning is talent. I really trust that we didn't have luck. We worked hard, we know our ability, we can do that, everyone is talented, that's why we won the match.” Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga said.

Sangakkara was not in the best of forms and was hardly amongst the runs throughout the tournament. But come the big day, one can always bank on their experienced players to come good, according to Malinga. "I think Sanga has been struggling because in a few matches he didn't get runs, but I am always talking with him. I knew he only had to get one knock, and we would win the match. I've played over 10 years in this team, I know every single player, their ability, what they can do. I used that experience during my captaincy and I was successful.”

Sri Lanka’s run chase was nothing less than dramatic. The Indian bowlers tried to strangle them by taking wickets at crucial junctures, but Sangakkara kept his cool at one end, and he was ably backed by some power hitting by Thisara Perera.

"That's why we always trust Thisara Perera," Malinga said after the game. "We knew that we have to score at a brisk pace. Thisara has the ability to clear the boundary, whether there are fielders there or not. That's why we wanted to send him in before Angelo. He did good for us."

Sangakkara also shed light on his batting approach in the final. "What I did differently was that I probably watched the ball a bit better today," Sangakkara said. "I was a bit more positive. Earlier, when I went in at two-down, I was cautious, trying to build a partnership, not being positive and showing intent. That's something I changed today."

You usually don’t see an animated Sangakkara. The left-hander kept his emotions in check during the finale and only let loose once his side was guaranteed a victory. "I am a great believer that if you get emotional, you have to use it to your advantage. If not, then forget about being emotional. When we had 11 to get and I top-edged a boundary, I knew it was a couple of shots away, and with Thisara at the other end, it was a done deal. That's when I thought I could show some emotion. Sometimes you have to pump yourself up to get over the line. That's what happened today."

The Sri Lankans were certainly pumped. They took a victory lap, carried the Sanga-Mahela duo on their shoulders and showed how much the victory meant for the side. After all, two of their best campaigners were signing off in style in the shortest format of the game.