PANCHKULA: Mumbai Champs thrived on some erratic bowling by Kolkata Tigers to project a challenging target, thanks to some calculated batting by Shreyas Khanolkar and Subhojit Paul.
Brian Lara chose not to bat even though the spectators can look forward to an appearance from this legend in the classification matches for minor placings. But Lara’s involvement as a captain was total as he cheered his bowlers and repeatedly communicated with them, running from his position in the covers.
Khanolkar was considered a bright cricketer when he was with the Railways. His decision to join the Indian Cricket League may have come as a surprise to many but he had his plans in place. It took the last match of the contest for him to make a statement that justified his desire to play Twenty20 cricket than the traditional form.
Khanolkar lifted the Mumbai Champs’ spirit with a timely knock of 64 that showcased his penchant to play a wide range of strokes. It was an electrifying charge even if it came when his side had been eliminated from the race for a semifinal place.
Electing to bat, Champs prospered on the good work by the top half of the batting with the openers, Subhojit Paul and Vikram Solanki, striking some hefty blows. Kolkata Tigers was rattled and the dismissal of Solanki (26) paved the way for Khanolkar to walk out and produce a scintillating show.
Paul, a former Bengal player, hit some delightful shots and compiled a 41-ball 50 with five fours and a six. Khanolkar needed a mere 39 balls with seven fours and three sixes before he was run out in the 17th over.
His association with Paul was worth 106 runs for the second wicket.
The scores: Mumbai Champs 187 for three in 20 overs (Shreyas Khanolkar 64, Subhojit Paul 50) vs Kolkata Tigers..