PANAJI: Prescon Panthers stormed into the final of the inaugural Panjim Gymkhana Members League (PGML) T20 fun cricket after an emphatic five-wicket victory over Dempo Challengers in the Qualifier 1 at PG ground, Campal, here on Sunday.

Dempo Challengers, who had defeated Prescon Panthers in the league stage and finished at the top of the table, were totally outplayed in today’s duel. They will have another chance to make it to the title clash when they play in the Qualifier 2 on January 29.

Prescon Panthers chased down Dempo’s total of 152/7 with a fair degree of ease as they reached 153/5 in 18.4 overs. Buddhadev Mangaldas (2/21 & 6-ball 14) was named man of the match. Rajesh Dempo was the chief guest and gave away the award in the presence of other dignitaries.

Buddhadev Mangaldas receives man of the match award from Rajesh Dempo

A 51-run partnership between openers Prashant Pangam and Prajyot Rivonkar put Prescon Panthers on course to victory as the duo constructed a solid foundation. Prashant scored 32 runs off 23 balls with five boundaries and a six in the mix. Prajyot came up with run-a-ball 27, which included one sixer. Swayam Naik guided his side to victory as he played the key role in the finish, remaining undefeated on 33 off 34 balls. Buddhadev came up with a cameo as he belted a four and a sixer in his six-ball knock of 14 runs.

Dempo Challengers were found wanting in the bowling and fielding department as they gave away a big number of extras totalling 30, which included 24 wides. Their misery was also down to a hamstring injury to wicketkeeper-batsman Mahesh Gawande, who was replaced by makeshift ‘keeper Gaurish Agni. No bowler could make an impression as such with Aryan Mashelkar, Mukhtar Kadri, Sargam Falare and Nakul Mhamal picking up a wicket apiece. Ajay Pednekar, who was presented the Purple Cap before the match, went wicketless and remained on 7 wickets for the tournament. He has now been overtaken by Buddhadev (8 wickets).

Earlier put into bat, Dempo Challengers once again rode on the solid knocks by captain Mukhtar Kadri and youngster Mehank Dharwadkar to amass a decent total. Mukhtar, who was presented the Orange Cap for leading the run-scorers list before the match, hammered his way to  22-ball 35 runs that also included a couple of boundaries and sixes each. He has scored 183 runs over the five innings so far in the competition. Mehank Dharwadkar scored 35 runs (32 balls, 3×4). The duo put on 71 runs for the second wicket in good time as Dempo Challengers raced to 100 just after the halfway mark of their inning. Sargam Falare 22 (26 balls) and Kiran Shirwaikar 20 (14 balls; 1×4, 1 x6) were the other notable contributors.

However, Dempo Challengers lost their momentum once Mehank retired at 35 in the 14th over at the team total of 111/2. There were hardly any significant partnership to provide a boost to the scoring rate towards the slog overs and the Challengers could just manage to score 41 runs of the last six and a half overs.

Prescon Panthers have struggled to control their extras throughtout the PGML and it was a similar tale today with 26 extras including 19 wides. Nevertheless, the bowlers did manage to keep a check on Dempo’s run rate towards the end with Buddhadev Mangaldas being the most successful of the pack with figures of 3-0-21 -2. Iftikar Agha (1/25) was the other wicket-taker. Captain Vivek Karapurkar bowled his three overs economically, giving away just 10 runs.

Meanwhile, due to a rain interruption, the second match scheduled for the day – the Eliminator between LPK11 and Baale Tigers, has been rescheduled for January 26.

Brief scores: Dempo Challengers
152/7 (Mukhtar Kadri 35, Mehank Dharwadkar 35, Sargam Falare 22; Buddhadev Mangaldas 2/21). Prescon Panthers 153/5 in 18.4 overs (Swayam Naik 33, Prashant Pangam 32, Prajyot Rivonkar 27; Aryan Mashelkar 1/12).


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