Southpaw Karan Shinde’s brilliance (75, 38b, 9x4, 4x6) helped Andhra pull off a two-wicket win against Bihar from a seemingly difficult position at 68 for five in 8.5 overs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T-20 cricket championship Elite Group D match at Holkar Stadium here on Tuesday.
This was the second win for Andhra from four games after the first two were abandoned because of rain.
Andhra, chasing 182, was off to a dismal start losing opener Abhishek Reddy in the first over. Soon, the dangerous looking Ashwin Hebbar (24, 12b, 4x4, 1x6), captain K. Srikar Bharat (5), were dismissed by pacer Abhijeet Saket, who bowled four overs on the trot to pick a three-wicket haul.
Then, left-arm pacer Anuj Raj forced Hanuma Vihari (9) to snick to wicketkeeper Bipin Saurabh, reducing Andhra to 47 for four in 5.2 overs.
Later, a match-winning stand of 92 off 52 balls between the experienced Ricky Bhui (37, 29b, 2x4, 1x6) and the young Shinde took Andhra close to the target. Shinde was the more dominant, capitalising on an erratic bowling to play some extravagant strokes, watched by former India coach John Wright, scouting talent for Mumbai Indians.
Just when Bihar hoped for a comeback, Shinde hit pacer Harsh for three fours in the 17th over to shut Bihar out of the contest. Quite fittingly, K.V. Sasikanth executed a flat batted six off left-arm pacer Anuj Raj to see Andhra finish with its best-ever chase in the championship history.
Earlier, wicketkeeper-batsman Bipin Saurabh (52, 39, 4x4, 3x6) and Babul Kumar (72, 50b, 10x4, 1x6) put on 118 in 13.5 overs with the latter being the more impressive with some audacious inside-out strokes of both pace and spin.
However, Andhra bowlers did well in the slog overs to restrict Bihar to 181 for two despite breezy knocks by Sakibul Gani (33 n.o., 17b 2x4, 2x6) and Sachin Kumar Singh (19 n.o., 3x4).
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