Diamonds sparkle the brightest

Davangere side emerges triumphant in a low-scoring match

Left with what appeared a regulation chase after they had restricted Shamanur Davangere Diamonds to a modest 116 for six, Provident came badly unstuck through a combination of their own diffidence, accurate Diamonds bowling backed up by outstanding fielding – Sunil Raju the stand-out performer on both counts – and the harder pink ball that doesn’t encourage stroke-production.

By settling for an anaemic 112 for eight when they ran out of time, Provident have made the worst possible start to their title defence following the four-run defeat, and have a mountain to climb if they are to make the knockout semifinals on September 29.

It won’t be out of place to identify the arrival at the bowling crease of Raju, the tall off-spinner, as the point at which the match turned on its head. Until then, Provident appeared on course without taking the match by the scruff of the neck, benefiting from the experience and composure of Thilak Naidu and Amit Verma who added a match-high 44 (50b) for the second wicket.

When Raju was brought on by Sunil Joshi – again outstanding with the new ball and then towards the death – Provident needed 54 from nine overs with eight wickets in hand. In an unchanged four-over spell (4-0-12-2 including 15 dot balls), the offie accounted for Naidu and the dangerous Aniruddha Joshi, effected a direct hit to dismiss Sunil Kumar Jain and showed great intelligence to relay a long throw to the ’keeper from long-on to run Rahul Bhatkal out in a tense last over.

All this came on the back of veteran Yere Goud’s brilliant pick-up and throw from covers in the second over that accounted for the in-form MK Manjunath. Talk about fielding making the difference!

The Diamonds innings had found no momentum after Anand Katti invited them to bat first. The common sense approach of Goud and the enterprise of Raju heralded their best batting phase as the third-wicket pair realised 41 (47b), but after that, the bottom fell out of their batting once the Provident bowlers, marshalled quite beautifully by Katti, hit their straps. Provident was the happier outfit at the break, but the Diamonds sparkled the brightest at the finish after their first win of the competition.


SHAMANUR DAVANGERE DIAMONDS: Mayank Agarwal c Manjunath b Sunil 17, CM Gautam c Naidu b Aiyappa 3, Yere Goud b Katti 30, Sunil Raju c Bhatkal b Jagan 23, BN Bharath c Bhatkal b Jagan 11, Sunil Joshi (not out) 18, M Nidish st Naidu b Katti 3 (4b), V Bharath Kumar (not out) 1. Extras (B-1, LB-2, W-6, NB-1) 10. Total (for 6 wkts, 20 overs) 116.
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Gautam), 2-31 (Agarwal), 3-72 (Raju), 4-79 (Goud), 5-93 (BN Bharath), 6-107 (Nidish).
Bowling: NC Aiyappa 4-0-27-1 (w-4), DH Sunil Kumar 4-0-20-1, Abhishek Jagan 4-0-22-2 (w-1), Rahul Bhatkal 1-0-5-0, Anand Katti 4-0-18-2 (w-1), Sarfaraz Ashraf 3-0-21-0 (nb-1).
PROVIDENT BANGALORE: MK Manjunath (run out) 5, Thilak Naidu c Joshi b Raju 25, Amit Verma c Patil b Rajesh 20, Sarfaraz Ashraf c & b Joshi 16, Sunil Kumar Jain (run out) 8, Aniruddha Joshi b Raju 7, Rahul Bhatkal (run out) 6, NC Aiyappa st Gautam b Patil 1, DH Sunil Kumar (not out) 8, Abhishek Jagan (not out) 1. Extras (B-3, LB-8, W-3, Nb-1) 15. Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs) 112.
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Manjunath), 2-49 (Verma), 3-64 (Naidu), 4-88 (Ashraf), 5-95 (Joshi), 6-96 (Jain), 7-100 (Aiyappa), 8-111 (Bhatkal).
Bowling: BN Bharath 3-0-20-0 (w-2), Sunil Joshi 4-0-19-1, P Magizhendan 3-0-9-0, DC Rajesh 4-0-29-1 (nb-1), Prasanna Patil 2-0-12-1 (w-1), Sunil Raju 4-0-12-2.

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