PORVORIM: Goa Police produced a steely performance to script a 12-run victory over Salgaocar Cricket Club and enter the semi-finals of 1st Manohar Parrikar Trophy cricket tournament organised by Yuva de Goa in association with Pilerne Cricket Club. Goa Police will now clash with Mandovi Parivar Canacona in the last-four stage on Friday.
Chasing Goa Police’s total of 152/6, Salgaocar CC led by Goa Ranji Trophy pro Lakshay Garg, looked in control of the match as they required 52 runs off the final eight overs with six wickets in hand. A well-set Alam Khan (28 off 35 balls) had talented all-rounder Lakshay Garg for company. It looked like Sagaocar would cruise from here but cricket being a game of glorious uncertainties, Goa Police staged a remarkable comeback via Ashok Rathod. The wily medium-pacer bowled a stunning over to dismiss players with big-hitting capability – Lakshay and Badal Singh – in the same over while giving away just 2 runs in the 14th over of the nail-biting encounter. He returned in the 16th over to send back Alam to turn the game completely in the favour of the policemen.
For his marvelous performance of picking 3 wickets for just 17 runs off his four overs, Ashok Rathod was named man-of-the match. “The pitch was not easy to play strokes straight away for a new batsman. We knew we had to keep the runs in check. Captain Chandrakant Ghadi provided a lot of confidence,” said Ashok at the presentation ceremony. About his bowling, Ashok revealed the trick that foxed the batsmen, saying: “I bowled with a release of the ball to skid it and not hit the deck so that the batsmen would have difficulty in picking the bounce.”
Earlier after winning the toss, Chandrakant Ghadi played a crucial knock of 46 runs as Goa Police recovered from a nervy start to post a decent total.
No. 4 batsman Ghadi struck four boundaries in his responsible knock of 43 balls as he combined for a 56-run third-wicket partnership with opener Avinash Gawas (37 off 31 balls). Avinash played some stunning shots, three of which sailed over the boundary rope while two fours came of the all-rounder’s bat.
Ghadi, who is also the wicket-keeper of his team, then put on 43 runs for the fourth wicket with Samarth Gawas (16), thereby steadying the Goa Police innings.
Salgaocar’s left-arm spinner Badal Singh (3/24) was the chief wicket-taker. He dealt two blows in quick succession in early stages of Goa Police batting while bowling his first three overs economically. However, Badal went for 15 runs in his final over as Swapnil Malik (18 not out) went after him but the skillful bowler also snared the important wicket of Ghadi. Gauresh Nagvekar made a successful debut in season-ball cricket, with two wickets for 27 off his four overs.
In reply, Salgaocar started their chase confidently with an opening stand of 24 runs. They were 66/2 in 6 overs at the end of the power play. Opener Gaurish Kambli went on to make 25 runs off 14 balls, hitting four boundaries. Prathamesh Gawas scored 16-ball 23 with the help of two sixers and a boundary while the third-wicket and fourth-wicket partnerships realised 31 and 27 runs respectively. Goa Police left-arm spinner Sahadev Khanolkar played a big role in sparking the fightback of his team as he broke these developing partnerships with his accurate bowling spell of 4-1-2-14. Sanjay Naik also picked up two wickets.
After Ashok Rathod turned the game with three wickets in the space of two overs, Salgaocar lower-order batsman Shadab Khan was the only glimmer of hope but he was unable to hit the big shots with 20 runs needed in two overs. He perished to a lofted shot for 19 runs to his name off 15 balls having hit one boundary and all hopes of Salgaocar were over as they watched Samarth Gawas taking the catch 10 yards inside the boundary rope off the bowling of Vinod Wilson, who gave away just 2 runs. Salgaocar needed 18 runs in the last over bowled by Avinash Gawas, who picked the wicket of Rahul Chanpa as the Salgaocar tail found it hard to get the bowling away for runs, and Goa Police emerged deserving victors to book a place in the semi-finals.