By Richard Boxall
Two close matches were played in the 2022 CCA #BAOGroup T20 Cup at Ypsonas, resulting in wins for Punjab Lions and Markhor.
Reigning champions Punjab Lions took on Black Caps, who had won both of their opening matches, and after winning the toss the Lions set an imposing target of 200-8. All the first six batsmen made runs. Neeraj Tiwari and Gurpartap Singh made 50 in 6 overs, and Zeeshan Mehmood and Harvinder Singh doubled it in the next 6.
The fireworks came from Kulwinder Singh and Tejwinder Singh, who helped double the score again, a further 100 runs coming in the last 8 overs. Both batsmen made 39, from 17 and 13 balls respectively.
Amidst the carnage Rajinder Singh (4-17) and Parminder Singh (2-25) returned very respectable figures for Black Caps.
Pawandeep Paul got Black Caps off to a flyer with 52, and the 50 and 100 marks were reached more quickly than their opponents had managed. But despite the efforts of skipper Rajwinder Singh Brar, they were unable to match the rapid scoring of Kulwinder and Tejwinder, and lost wickets to Gurpartap Singh (4-37).
Chetan Sharma came in at the fall of the eighth wicket with 60 runs still needed from 5 overs, and made a valiant effort with 35 from 15 balls, before being last out when Taranjit Singh had him caught by Kulwinder on the second ball of the final over, 9 runs short of Punjab Lions’ score.
The day’s other match also produced a close finish, in this case in a low-scoring game. Sri Lanka Lions managed only 115 all out, with only Sadun Chamal (38) and Roshan Lakmal (33) able to make any headway against the bowling of Markhor, for whom Wasim Abbass (4-30), Amir Sohail (3-19) and Tasawar Gujjar (2-22) had outstanding figures.
Markhor in turn struggled to score runs, and at 46-4 the result was in doubt. But Zeeshan Ahmad made 27 to steady the ship, and although Sujith Tennekoon threatened to win the game for the Lions with 3-12, the later batsmen just did enough to see their team home with 8 wickets down.
This weekend Markhor are in action again with a tough-looking game against Cyprus Moufflons on Sunday, while Punjab Lions take on Napa Kings on Monday.