Lacking steam, Pravin Tambe is still trying to fox batsmen in the shortest form of the game that gave him national visibility for four consecutive IPL seasons.
Showing remarkable energy he bowled leg-spin for the Jaipur and Gujarat and was rewarded with 40 scalps.
When the Jaipur franchise picked him for the first time in 2013 at the age of 42, the discerning were surprised because the Twenty20 format of the game was deemed to be fit for young legs and powerful shoulders.
Well into his 48th year now, he was in action for North Mumbai Panthers against Eagle Thane Strikers in T20 Mumbai on Wednesday.
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Tambe did not look the part when called upon to bowl the fourth over and to the Strikers’ second wicket pair in Kaushik Chikhalikar and Aditya Tare.
He conceded nine runs, including a boundary to Chikhalikar. Six overs later, Tambe did well to check the batsmen in his first four balls; then Tare hit a firm cover drive, the Panthers’ captain Prithvi Shaw mis-fielded and the ball found its way to the fence.
Tare punished the sixth ball hitting straight down the ground. Tambe figures read none for 20 off 12 balls.
The Panthers took control of the match when Tambe at fine-leg on the 30 yard circle showed a safe pair of hands to neutralise Sarfaraz Khan’s attempted scoop shot. Then the tweaker bowled the 16th, conceded eight, but failed to gather a throw from Sairaj Patil to run out Tare.
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With Tare going strong, it turned out to be an anxious wait for the Panthers as the Strikers’ captain Tare and Sagar Mishra raised the half century stand quickly.
Yet the pair looked at the daunting task of scoring 27 of 12 balls to win. Swapnil Salvi running in from long on put down a difficult chance of Tare, but Dake did not make a mistake of the next at long off.
After Tare’s exit, the Panthers managed to hold their nerves and win the match by six runs.
IPL's pyrotechnics seemed to have rubbed off on Sairaj Patil (46,18b, 3 x 4s, 4 x 6s) and Karan Nande (50, 23b, 9 x 4s), with the pair taking Panthers to 190 on a batting track.
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