Challengers CC lived up to their name by not only challenging, but beating Division 1 champions WISCI Wanderers, to enter the finals of this year’s Texmoda JCA Champions Cup finals, where they take on Yadavas Senayan CC.
As they have done many times this season, Challengers CC decided to bowl first after winning the toss and their opening bowlers hit the straps right away. Vimal Nair bowled one of the best spells of the league as he had the WISCI batsman in knots. Impeccable lengths coupled with clever use of straighter ones helped Vimal benefit from the extra bounce and he kept the batsmen unsure of whether to play back or come forward. Good support from the other end from Manickavasagan & Chander Pandey helped curtail the scoring and WISCI were looking short at only 78 after 24 overs.
WISCI skipper William Noronha & Dave Holmes then decided to up the tempo and did so very successfully to garner 96 runs in the last 11 overs and give WISCI a very good chance as they finished on 174 after 35 overs. In reply, Challengers CC top order went for too many shots early on and were well on the ropes at 39 for 4 mainly due to some fantastic swing bowling by the experienced David Holmes. WISCI looked well on course to yet another win & it looked like the Challengers skipper, Chandrasekar was not going to be able to get the birthday gift he was looking for.
Then followed, one of the best partnerships in the JCA league as Chander Pandey and Satinder Minhas got together to put on a brilliant counter-attacking 110 runs stand for the 5th wicket. They started off cautiously and infact, Chander was dropped very early in his innings. However, that was the only chance the pair gave as they snuffed out WISCI’s chances off a win. Chander started timing the ball beautifully and his knock which included a Yuvrajesque flick for a six of Big Dave, was a treat to watch. Satinder, meanwhile, played good foil to Chander at the other end and even matched him in skills with a gorgeous flick of his own.
Despite the loss of Chander Pandey to a tired looking shot, the partnership had done enough to take Challengers CC to a comfortable win, thus giving their skipper his much deserved birthday gift. Challengers CC now take on Yadavas Senayan CC in the Champions Cup finals on 16th July. In the meantime, the JCA T20 competition kicks off its 2017 edition this weekend.
Thanks to Subramonia Gopalakrishnan & Suresh Subramanian for umpiring the game