Celebrity Cricket League on the roll

On Saturday, those who went hoping for a popcorn game went home watching an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

In a Celebrity Cricket League match that witnessed fortunes swinging between the two sides, Kerala Strikers pulled off a victory from the jaws of defeat against Mumbai Heroes. Hats off to the lower middle order batsmen who dug in their heels and slugged it out here at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium on Saturday.

The match that overshot the scheduled time to midnight went down to the wire with seven runs needed of the last over. However, the young all-rounder Vivek Gopan finished off the match in style with a towering six over long on with five more balls and 3 wickets remaining.

A little cameo by the southpaw Sumesh followed by a spunky little partnership between Bineesh Kodiyeri and Vivek Gopan eventually sealed the match. Gopan was declared the man of the match.

Things were all looking downhill as the home team lost its way completely as five wickets fell in a heap with the sixth over by Raja Bherwani alone scalping three. The score read 26 when opener Nivin Pauly departed. Indrajit, Rajeev Pillai, Madan Mohan and Santhosh Sleeba all returned to the dugout contributing just 16 runs.

As the home batsmen began their procession back to the dugout, some dejected spectators also left the stadium though the majority stayed back. The southpaw Sumesh kept the team in the hunt for a while with a flurry of sixes and fours before being dismissed for 34 off 22 balls with the score at 86. A run out claimed another wicket for the addition of 11 runs.

Earlier, Mumbai Heroes who won the toss and elected to bat were restricted to 135 for the loss of five wickets, thanks to disciplined bowling and superlative fielding by Strikers. Strikers threw themselves around making marked improvement in fielding, which was a shortcoming in the last edition .

The home team got off to a splendid start when Manikuttan claimed the first wicket of Varun Badola who played on with just two runs on the board in the very first over.

Mumbai managed only 30 runs in the first six overs of mandatory power play. All three boundaries at that stage came from opener Sunny Singh. Even as Mumbai was consolidating, Vivek Gopan struck a second blow for the visitors as he castled the wicket-keeper batsman Raja Bherwani with the total at 38.

Sunny Singh struck a meaty blow over long on for the first six of the innings at the stroke of tenth over.

Immediately after the drinks break Mohanlal introduced his strike bowler Bineesh Kodiyeri who sent down a tight over conceding just three runs. Bineesh scalped Sunny Singh. Santhosh Sleeba cleaned up Aftab soon thereafter before a splendid work by Madan Mohan and Rajeev Pillai in the final over saw Shabir Ahluwalia running himself out.

That there is no better cocktail than cricket and cinema when it comes to entertainment was proved once again by thousands that packed themselves into the stadium.

And the presence of a long list of stars including Salman Khan, Mammootty, Mohanlal, Dileep, Bobby Deol, Bhavana, Mamta Mohandas meant that they had a sore throat by the time the game ended.


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