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Amarchand, Kochhar set up dream final, trounce Luthra, Titus

The semi finals of the ongoing 3rd SILF-Khushal Inter Law Firms Cricket Cup – 2011 (“Tournament”), played last Saturday, saw the two more deserving sides notch up contrasting victories to set up a dream final.

Luthra & Luthra v. Kochhar and Co

In the first semi final, defending champions Luthra & Luthra took on the mighty Kochhar & Co in a rematch of their battle from a few weeks ago in the Turf T20 tournament. While the previous encounter between these two evenly matched sides was extraordinarily low scoring yet tense, this one swung completely the other way and marked the highest completed run chase of the Tournament this year.

Batting first, L&L did extremely well to rack up a supremely challenging 221 in their allotted 20 overs – battling not only the demonic memories that would have been playing in their heads, but also the generally outstanding bowling of Sultan.

Hitesh (who must surely be the batsmen of the Tournament!) once again lived up to his billing as L&L’s top bat with a fine 89 of 41 balls, which included 15 beautiful boundaries and 3 monstrous sixes. Vikram Sobti, the all rounder, contributed an important 41(30) to rack up a big partnership with Hitesh, with further contributions coming from the blades of Karan (26 of 16), Prashanth (17 of 9) and Mahesh (16 of 11). While L&L scored at over 10 an over, the Man of the Match, Sultan, bowled his 4 overs for just 30 runs and also claimed the important wickets of Karan and Sachit, bringing down a potential chase of 250+ to a more manageable 222.

Kochhar began the run chase poorly, losing Bharat in the first over to the bowling of Sachit. Despite the pressure of chasing a huge total, made that much more difficult by the loss of this early wicket, Ishvinder and Bobby were able to put their heads down to forge a partnership of 60 runs for the second wicket to bring Kochhar back into the game.

The exit of Bobby (20 at a run a ball) brought in the dangerous left hander Sultan, who immediately stamped his authority on the L&L bowling with 2 sixes of his first 4 balls. With the score reading at 105/3 in 10.2 overs, the match was perfectly poised midway through the run chase, though the momentum was shifting towards Kochhar, mainly as a result of Sultan’s onslaught.

What should have been a team chase quickly became a one man show with Sultan reeling off sixes at will and hammering the L&L bowling to all corners of the ground, with a special soft corner for the cover region. The numerous chances that were put down by L&L, a weakness that was highlighted earlier as well, were no doubt the single most important reason for their loss, allowing Sultan repeated opportunities to undo the efforts of the bowling.

Sultan eventually perished to the bowling of Vikram Sobti, but not before he had swung the game decisively Kochhar’s way with a stunning 116 of 44 balls (13 sixes and 5 fours!). The loss of Sultan and Sunil right at the fag end of the chase added even more drama to an already tight game, though eventually Sultan had done just enough to knock L&L out of the Tournament.

Amarchand v. Titus & Co

Though this was expected to be the most exciting match of the Tournament, pitting two extremely evenly matched sides against one another, it did eventually turn into a fairly one-sided affair.

Having won the toss, Amarchand made the safe decision to bat first and to allow Titus to chase in the pressure of a semi-final. Riding on an extremely well-compiled 89 of 63 balls by Prashant Mehta (13 fours and 3 sixes) and an important 30 of 20 balls from Mazid, Amarchand ran up a challenging 199 all out in their allotted overs. Despite the rest of the Amarchand batting line-up failing to make any significant contribution, the gift from Prashant and Mazid in their partnership of a 104 and the 25 extras conceded by Titus ensured that Amarchand would not be bowled out for a less than par score.

Once again high on the confidence derived from their batting performance, Amarchand began their defence well, getting rid of the dangerous Jaymith in the first over and the even more dangerous Raj Kamal for a mere 10 runs.

Saurav Anand, undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the Tournament, lived up to his potential and threatened to do to Amarchand what Sultan had earlier done to L&L. Sadly for Titus, Saurav fell after contributing a professional 77 (47 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes) and left the rest of the Titus batting line up too much to do.

Though Praveen and Vishal tried hard to keep Titus in the hunt and to rescue victory from a difficult position, after their exits, the rest of the Titus batting simply melted away to hand Amarchand a convincing 35 run victory.

In the space of 5 overs, Titus went from a threatening 128 for 3 to 164 all out, with Vaibhav Mishra breaking the back of the middle order and grabbing 3 wickets. Gaurav and Varun too chipped in and finished with two wickets a piece and Ashish too bowled well to briefly stem in a soaring run rate.

While Amarchand has been impressive in this Tournament and has done extremely well to get this far, their only hope of winning the Tournament lies in getting rid of Sultan early and in playing out his 4 overs without the loss of too many. Should they be able to do that and to bat to potential, they should be able to overcome Kochhar and earn a deserved trophy.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author only and Legally India takes no responsibility for anything written in this article or any views expressed herein. The author of this article was formerly with Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, Delhi and any bias apparent in these articles may be attributed to this former association.

Photo by TC7

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