Eagle Thane Strikers’ Rakesh Prabhu, promoted to No. 4 for his power-hitting, lashed eight sixes in 21 balls to inspire his team to a thumping seven-wicket win over Namo Bandra Blasters in a T20 Mumbai clash at the Wankhede stadium on Thursday.
Chasing 149 in 20 overs, Strikers cruised home in the 12th over on the strength of some astounding strokeplay by the burly left-hander (64 not out). Aditya Tare, from the non-striker’s end, admired the shower of sixes while making 50 off 27 balls (5×4, 3×6).
Prabhu strode to the crease in the sixth over with Strikers at 49 for two. “The coach expected quick runs from the batsmen and informed me about the plan to reach the target inside 12 overs to improve our run-rate,”said the Victory CC player, representing Jain Irrigation on the local circuit. “The ball was coming on nicely and I executed the given task.”
Prabhu hammered 25 off Nikhil Date and 23 off Shreyas Iyer. He was quick to judge the length and get under the ball for clean hits over the bowlers’ head. His fourth-wicket stand with captain Tare fetched 91 off just 34 balls.
Prabhu’s teammates ran on to the pitch and hugged him after the victory was sealed. “Players like us are always waiting for an opportunity to showcase our game. The atmosphere in the dressing room was positive,” said Prabhu.
Blasters’ 148 off 20 overs appeared laboured in comparison as the Strikers bowlers, supported by some excellent catching, kept the heat on the batsmen. Shrideep Mangela and Nikhil Patil broke free while forging a sold stand for the fourth wicket after Shreyas’ early exit (25, 22b, 1×4, 1×6) forced the two to join hands. Mangela top-scored with a timely 42 (34b, 3×4, 1×6).
Prabhu’s heroics, however, gave Strikers their third win in five games, though a place in the knockouts is yet to be confirmed.
Namo Bandra Blasters 148 for seven in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 25, Shrideep Mangela 42, Sujit Nayak 26, Krutik Hanganwadi two for 33) lost to Eagle Thane Strikers 150 for three in 11.2 overs (Aditya Tare 50, Alpesh Ramani 29, Rakesh Prabhu 64 n.o., Aditya Dhumal two for 29).