Bengaluru Blasters captain Mayank Agarwal played an explosive knock, helping his side register a massive 9-wicket win against the Shivamogga Strikers here on Friday.
Mayank, who finished with 102 not out, having hit 10 fours and 6 sixes during the 49-ball knock, is the second batter to score a century in the tournament so far and also finishes the night with the Orange Cap. Gulbarga Mystics’ Rohan Patil scored the first century on Thursday against the Mysore Warriors.
Asked to take strike first, the Shivamogga Strikers were off the blocks quickly with openers Rohan Kadam and Sharath BR going great guns. The openers took the attack to the Blasters’ bowling from the first over itself, intent to make good use of the powerplay.
Kadam and Sharath matched each other shot for shot in the powerplay, and whether it was driving it through the covers or whipping it through the on side, the batters looked in supreme touch. At the end of 6 overs, they had 54 runs on the board and continued in the same vein till midway, when rain came calling.
Both players were approaching fifties, and promptly got their milestones after the break which resulted in the game being shortened to 19-overs a side.
The duo made batting look easy, especially Kadam as the eased past the 100-run mark to get 116 for the first wicket. Sharath was the first to depart for 51, having hit 5 fours. Kadam walked back to the hut soon after as well with a handsome score of 84 from 52 deliveries with 8 boundaries and 3 sixes to go.
Captain K Gowtham and Avinash D added a couple of big blows in the final phase, taking the Strikers to 173/2 after 19 overs. The target according to the VJD method would be 175 for the Blasters.
The day wasn’t to get easier for the bowlers, as the Blasters’ opening pair of captain Mayank Agarwal and LR Chethan too made good use of the batting conditions and the powerplay, scoring at good clip.
Neither held back, Chethan and Mayank threw the kitchen sink at the Strikers’ bowling, playing them over the top and piercing the gaps in the field with utmost ease during the first phase, bringing up the fifty partnership in the fourth over. Chethan departed in the next over for 34 off 15 deliveries, with the score on 69.
The wicket though did not slow down Mayank, who was making batting look ridiculously easy. And with Aneesh KV holding down his end, Mayank got to his half-century off 23 deliveries. The skipper continued to hammer whatever was thrown his way by the bowlers, marching on towards a century.
The skipper’s brutal hitting had driven the Blasters to 150/1 in 13 overs with the Strikers struggling to find a breakthrough. Mayank reverse swept the medium pacer Hoover for a boundary and then smashed him for another boundary to get to his century, before Aneesh wrapped up the contest with another four to fine-leg in the 16th over. Mayank finished unbeaten on 102 and had been miles ahead on the day, while Aneesh finished on 35 not out.
Saturday will see Hubli Tigers taking on Shivamogga Strikers at 3pm while the Bengaluru Blasters play Mysuru Warriors in the 7pm game, both in Mysore.