Shreyas Iyer cut out the frills, scored an unbeaten half century and led his team to a convincing eight-wicket win against Delhi in a Group `B’ Super League match of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Emerald Heights International School ground on Saturday.
Once Delhi capitulated to Tushar Deshpande’s incisive second spell, it was hard-pressed to post a challenging total.
With two losses in as many matches, the last year’s winner, Delhi, has virtually ruled itself out of a place in the final, especially with Karnataka picking up four more points with a ten-run win against Uttar Pradesh at the Holkar Stadium.
It was Karnataka’s ninth straight win in the tournament.
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Under immense pressure to repel the Karnataka seam and spin attack in the opening league match on Friday, Iyer had fallen prey to seamer Manoj Bhandage, but in the second match of the ten-team tournament, the Mumbai captain chose the safe option with his team in pursuit of a target of 145.
The arrival of senior professional in Suryakumar Yadav after the downfall of opener Jay Bista perked up the run rate, and in the end, Iyer hit a match-winning boundary shot and bring cheer to his teammates.
Generally, Iyer likes to be buccaneer-like, bludgeoning the ball and scattering it to all parts of the field. It’s his aggressive batting style and accumulation of runs that that brought to the spotlight, but stung by the hammering his received at the hands of a high-quality opponent, Iyer (47b, 5 x 4s, 1 x 6) applied his mind to a task and did not leave the scene till victory was achieved.
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First and foremost on the second day of the Super League, Iyer and Mumbai took the bold decision to effect three changes from the side that went down to Karnataka; it brought in Bista, Eknath Kerkar and Royston Dias for Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare and Dhawal Kulkarni.
Bista, who was picked in the squad for the injured Ajinkya Rahane, played his part. After Prithvi Shaw chipped a straightforward catch to mid-on fielder Lalit Yadav off Navdeep Saini, Bista helped Iyer add 57 for the second wicket in a cautious manner that kept the Delhi attack at bay.
After Bista’s departure, Yadav looked for the big shots, hit Saini for two sixes - over mid wicket and straight - made a 26-ball 42 with three 4s and two 6s, and raised an unbeaten partnership of 76 for the third wicket. Eventually Mumbai won with six balls remaining.
Maharashtra posts seven-wicket win
In the first match at Emerald Heights, Maharashtra scored a seven-wicket win against Bengal with Rahul Tripathi scoring a fine half century.
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