Pacific Ventures to take on Knight Riders in Challengers Cup Gold Final
It’s quite fitting that the two most capable teams of the tournament will meet each other in the Gold Division Final of the Challengers Cup at the ICC Academy.
The Pacific Ventures confirmed their place in the showpiece event on the 21st of April, with the Knight Riders booking passage a day later.
Playing against Al-Futtaim Logistics, team Pacific did really well to defend their low score of 39, proving that it is possible to win after posting a low score in this tournament.
But it was no easy walkover for Pacific Ventures, who were pushed all the way by Al-Futtaim, who in the end fell tantalisingly short by just one run.
Things did not begin brightly for Pacific Ventures, when they picked up just one run from their opening three overs, but things picked up for them after that as Ramveer and Zahoor contributed 17 runs from the next three overs.
It was important that Pacific Ventures kept up that scoreline, but they could only add 21 runs from their next six overs.
Knowing they would need a terrific performance with the ball, Pacific Ventures steeled themselves to deliver just that.
But Al-Futtaim had other ideas in mind. Aqib and Isham scored 16 runs from the first three overs, but balance was restored when Jude and Rizwan could only muster eight runs from the next three.
The pressure must have been immense in the indoor nets: one over had gone in favour of both teams and no-one knew how the match would swing next. Sadhik and Faizal set up a thrilling final over after they added 11 runs to the board, which meant Al-Futtaim needed just five runs from their last three overs.
Pressure can affect a team in many ways, and the Pacific Ventures bowlers were certainly feeling it as the match rested on a knife-edge. Girish and Lasantha thought it would be easy, but Pacific picked up two quick wickets to set their opponents back 10 runs.
A grandstand finish to a grand game saw Al-Futtaim put up three runs in their last three overs as team Pacific squeaked through by a hair’s breadth to go through to the Gold Final.
In comparison to the hair-raising antics between the two teams, the second semi-final between the Knight Riders and BPN was a more sedate affair, a match the former won by 24 runs.
The Knight Riders were consistent throughout their innings: Aamir and Asif scored 24 runs from their first three overs and that excellent start was continued by Raku and Safdar, who contributed another 25.
Another 29 runs came from the six remaining overs to leave the Knight Riders with a very handsome score of 78.
In response, BPN started brilliantly, with Ratheesh and Naushad putting up 21 runs in the first three overs and Srikanth and Sherry adding another 12.
But once again, it was a case of losing momentum that slowed BPN’s run scoring. Just one run came with Thoufeeq and Shamsir at the crease and although that was soon righted when Balaji and Kiran added another 20 runs, you couldn’t help but feel it was a case of what could’ve been for team BPN.
The finals of the Challengers Cup take place on the 23rd of April at the Home of Elite Cricket. The breathless close-quarters action makes from some very addictive, enticing cricket.
The Silver Semi Final is between team SFS and the Oxford Marines, who were Gold Champions the last time around, while the Bronze Final will see Sandpipers take on DBMSC.
See you there!