Mustangs chase down big Epi Lions target and sent a clear message to title rivals
In a high scoring game at Happy Valley, Epi Lions after posting 179 runs in alloted 20 overs lost to Mustangs by 3 wickets – who reached the target in the 18th over and served a T20 batting masterclass as they dispatched the Epi Lions attack to all parts of the ground, playing with confidence and style.
Epi Lions late arrival meant the toss being awarded to Mustangs, who opted to field first.
Epi Lions started nervously, as they lost opener Umair to Tiwary in the second over. The other opener, Fahad Khan initially found the going tough against the quicks, specially Kulwinder who bowled a rapid maiden over to him to finish his first spell of 3 overs for 11 runs. At the end of 5th over, Epi Lions were 26 for 1.
However, Shahid Ali batting at number 3 picked up the run rate after that and took the total to 83 alongwith Fahad Khan at the drinks interval for the loss of only one wicket. Soon after the drinks, Tiwary removed the dangerous Shahid Ali for a well played 30.
Fahad Khan then took charge and played some big hits as He pushed the score past the 100 mark. His fine knock of 48 came to end in the 13th over when Satnam took a well judged catach at Square Leg off the bowling of Jagroop.
Skipper Azan Baig made a quick fire 18 and received valuable support from Sadiq – who scored a steady 17. After Azan and Sadiq’s departure, Mehran, Azzan, and Murtaza propelled the score to 179 in the alloted 20 overs.
During the innings break, Epi Lions must have fancied their chances as the batsmen had put them firmly on top of the Mustangs. On the other hand, a livid Mustangs manager was not much impressed with his fielders who dropped or missed more than half a dozen chances and generously gifted additional runs through misfield, over throws, and byes.
Just like Epi Lions, Mustangs started nervously and lost captain Satnam to opposing captain Azan in the third over. In the following over, Bimal was run out by Azan Baig on a wide ball attempting a second run. A top effort from Azan Baig, who dived full length to stop the ball crossing the fine leg boundary and then sent a quick flat throw on top of the stumps to get rid of Bimal.
Mustangs were on the back foot at 22/2 in the 4th over. At this stage, Tiwary was joined by Sachin and two steadied the innings and batted superbly to stay within site of the required rate. Tiwary was the more dominating of the two and made sure that Mustangs score a boundary every over. Sachin gave tremendous support as his nudges and pushes helped rotate the strike and the odd boundaries eased the pressure on Tiwary, who played some beautiful shots as Mustangs reached the drinks interval at 96 for the loss of 2 wickets.
The pressure was back on Epi Lions and they turned to the old war horse Shahid Ali, who removed Tiwary in the 12th over for a superb knock of 52. Sachin (33) along with Gopal (11) made sure Mustangs were always up with the run rate, however, both were run out in the space of 3 balls in the 15th over with Mustangs still requiring 43 off 5 overs with 5 wickets in hand.
The game was all good as over in the next over, as Shahid Ali got hit for 3 conscutive sixes by Kulwinder as He gave away 19 runs. Azan Baig, tried valiantly to keep his side in the contest, as He enforced a run out and then removed Kulwinder in the following over. However, with 18 runs to defend in 3 overs, Umair lost the plot and gave away 18 runs in a forgettable over,as Jassi finished the game in style with a six over cow corner.
Azan Baig finished with figures of 21/2 off his 4 overs, however, no other bowler was able to support him as Mustangs chased down a big total with 2 overs to spare and sent a clear message to title rivals.
Despite being a keenly contested game, the game was played in good spirits by both teams and was enjoyed by guest umpire Gary Martin.
Epi Lions 179/6 lost by 3 wickets to Mustangs 180/7 (18 overs).