Ankit smashing ton takes Kolhapur home

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Pune, June 17, 2023: Maharashtra Ranji captain Ankit Bawne scored a scintillating unbeaten 105 (60b, 11x4s, 4x6s) and punished Ratnagiri Jet for a life they gave him in 30s to single-handedly guide Kolhapur Tuskers to four-wicket victory in their Maharashtra Premier League (MPL) match at the MCA International Stadium in Gahunje on Saturday night.

The entire match, it looked like Bawne and Ratnagiri Jets’ Preetam Patil 69 (32b, 5x4s, 6x6s) batted on a belter of a wicket and their teammates on a pitch difficult to bat on. Kolhapur chased down the target of 177 with two balls to spare.

“I wanted to take the game long, as my plan was to score around 50 at the back of the innings and we managed to do that,” said the player-of-the-match Ankit Bawne, dedicating the award to the fans in the stadium.

Batting throughout the innings, Ankit kept his composure to keep the scoreboard ticking even when he was losing partners at the other end at regular intervals. Tuskers’ skipper Kedar Jadhav 6 (6b, 1×6), MPL’s most expensive buy Naushad Shaikh 7 (8b), Sahil Autade 2 (5b) and Sachin Dhas 13 (19b) failed to get going.

However, the 30-year-old experienced batter kept finding the boundary at regular intervals to keep the target in sight. At death, Taranjitsingh Dhillon scored 21 off 14 balls with two sixes to play a vital cameo.

In hindsight, what proved to be a deciding factor was the mind-boggling 45 dot balls played by Ratnagiri Jets compared to the equally baffling 40 dots played by Kolhapur Tuskers.

“I am more happy for Ankit than our first win, he has been playing cricket for a long time and has been a fantastic cricketer for Maharashtra. He is one of the bests we have,” said Kolhapur skipper Kedar Jadhav.

Earlier, coming into bat 9 for 1 in the second over, Patil 69 (32b, 5x4s, 6x6s) single-handedly dragged Ratnagiri to a modest total. He stitched a 93-run partnership with Tushar Srivastav 32 (40b, 2x4s), who had steered them home the previous night. However, during that partnership, Srivastav’s contribution was only 24.

Other Ratnagiri batters also struggled to time the ball cleanly with the exception of Patil, Kiran Chormale 27 (17b, 3x6s) and Nikhil Naik 16 (5b, 2x6s). For Kolhapur, Akshay Darekar (1 for 26), Shreyansh Chavan (1 for 27) and Taranjitsingh Dhillon (1 for 28) bagged a wicket-a-piece.

Brief scores: Ratngiri Jets 176 for 4 in 20 overs (Preetam Patil 69, Tushar Srivastav 32, Akshay Darekar 1-26) lost to Kolhapur Tuskers: 181 for 6 in 19.4 (Ankit Bawne 105*, Taranjeetsingh Dhillon 21; Pradeep Dadhe 3-31) by four wickets.