Bengaluru, 24th August 2022: If the thrilling and closely-fought eliminator and the first qualifier on Tuesday is any indication then the inaugural Maharaja Trophy KSCA T20 is set for a rousing finale with three teams from the six in the fray still standing.
The second qualifier between Gulbarga Mystics and Mysore Warriors is scheduled for Thursday night at 7pm while the final between the winner of this match and the Kalyani Bengaluru Blasters is set for Friday at the same time at the iconic M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
That the tournament is already a success is well established if the response for each match and the support each team in both the first-leg in Mysuru and the second in Bengaluru has received so far.
“We are very happy with the reaction to this tournament so far which has witnessed some very closely fought matches. Cricket fans have turned up to support their teams despite rain playing spoil sport on certain days and even the TV viewership has been tremendous,” said Roger Binny, Hon. President of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.
“As we had envisioned, we have seen some fantastic new talent coming up the ranks and have utilized this platform to shine. You can expect a bigger and longer tournament next year,” added the former Indian all-rounder and a member of the 1983 World Cup winning team.
Of the 32 matches held so far, 30 league and an eliminator and a qualifier, five matches have gone to the final ball and more than a dozen was decided in the penultimate or the final over including the first qualifier on Tuesday which produced most number of runs and maximum thrills so far in the tournament.
In all 410 runs (38.2 overs) were scored for 13 wickets with 30 (120 runs) boundaries and 23 sixes (138 runs for a total 258) to make it a virtual run-riot right from the start. More than half (220 runs) of that total number of runs came off the bat of the two centurions Mayank Agarwal (112) and Rohan Patil (108) as Bengaluru Blasters pipped Gulbarga Mystics by 44 runs to book a berth in Friday’s final.
“It has been a fantastic tournament so far. We had just a few days to plan and execute this tournament as the Asia Cup is beginning on August 27. So, we have packed 34 matches in 20 days and so far, everything has gone on smoothly,” said Vinay Mruthyunjaya, Hon. Treasurer of KSCA.
“We are very encouraged and very positive going forward. The fans have been great and so are the sponsors. We have also unearthed some good talent in this tournament. So, you can expect a bigger and longer tournament next year,” he added.
The matches have not only been thrilling but it has also provided the right platform for so many youngsters to showcase their talents.
Hubli Tigers captain Luvnith Sisodia and Mystics’ Rohan Patil, in particular, have shone with the bat. The former, a 22-year-old wicket-keeper-batsman, was in irresistible form in leading his team into the playoffs with an explosive 40-ball 80 while Patil, a 20-year-old opener, has been a great revelation scoring two centuries, each inside 50 balls, to amass 358 runs in 10 innings for the best strike rate of 168.08 so far in the tournament.
Sisodia is third in the list for the Orange Cap with 389 runs from 11 innings and Patil fourth while the Blasters captain Mayank Agarwal heads the list with 480 runs from 11 matches and Pavan Deshpande is second with 396 from 11 matches.
Young leg-spinner Shubhang Hegde (14 wickets from 11 matches) has impressed the most along with medium pacer Adiya Goyal (13 from 11) among the young bowlers while all-rounder Jagadeesha Suchith (16 from 11), veteran leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal (16 from 11) and medium pacer Vidyadhar Patil (16 from 11) share the top spot.
With many scouts from the top Indian Premier League teams watching the matches closely in Bangalore, one can easily expect some of these youngsters to feature in the multi-billion-dollar mega event next year.
“We are very happy with the way things have turned around. It was not easy to host a franchise-based tournament at such short notice. But we have pulled it off and it’s another feather in the cap for the KSCA,” said Santosh Menon, Hon. Secretary of KSCA.
“The fans’ response has been so great that we have decided to issue entry passes free of cost for the last two matches on a first-come-first-serve basis. I’m sure it will get bigger and bigger with every year,” he added.
The second qualifier clash between the Warriors, who finished third in the table at the end of the league, and the Mystics, who were the runners-up, tonight is a mouth-watering one as both are capable of outwitting the other.
If rains stay away, the fans can expect another last-ball thriller. The Maharaja Trophy already looks like a worthy successor to the Karnataka Premier League.