Azim Kazi stars as Ratnagiri thump Nashik Ratnagiri Jets and Eagle Nashik Titans reach playoffs of Shriram Capital Maharashtra Premier League

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Pune June 21, 2023: Azim Kazi was at his best as a captain on Wednesday night. He brought himself on into attack at the perfect time and scalped three wickets (3 for 29 in 4 overs). His astute captaincy helped Ratnagiri Jets defeat Nashik Nashik Titans by 12 in Shriram Capital Maharashtra Premier League (MPL) at the MCA International Stadium in Gahunje.

The result means that both Ratnagiri Jets and Eagle Nashik Titans qualify for the playoffs. After Wednesday’s outcome, both teams are on 6 points (P4, W3, L1) and will have a chance to make it to the final irrespective of other results.

Chasing 201 for the victory, Nashik looked on course for their fourth win on the bounce. Wicketkeeper Mandar Bhandari 74 (39b, 8x4s, 4x6s) and skipper Rahul Tripathi 24 (20b, 1×4, 1×6) had put on 78 for the second wicket.

Having opened the bowling, Kazi brought himself on for his second spell in the 12th over and sent his opposite number back with the very first delivery. Tripathi, who was once again playing a perfect second-fiddle role, holed out to Divyang Hinganekar at the long-on. On the third ball, he scalped another big wicket. Bhandari chopped one onto stumps, trying to cut a short ball.

Kazi then removed India U-19 World Cupper Siddhesh Veer in his next over to reduce Nashik to 128-4 from 110-1. He wasn’t done yet. He also bowled the 18th over of the innings and gave away just five runs to finish with figures of 3 for 29 and take home the Player of the Match award.

Dhanraj Shinde 43* (23b, 2x4s, 4x6s) tried to take Nashik over the line but his fine innings went in vain. Pradeep Dadhe (1 for 27 in 3 overs) and Hinganekar (1 for 27 in 4) were the other wicket-takers for Ratnagiri.

Earlier, asked to bat first by Nashik captain Rahul Tripathi, Ratnagiri posted a formidable 200 for 4. Opener Dhiraj Phatangare top-scored with 70 (51b, 6x4s, 4x6s) to lay the platform for the team’s big total after losing his skipper Kazi 14 (8b, 3x4s) cheaply. He then stitched two crucial partnerships — first of 52 with Preetam Patil 33 (19b, 5x6s) and then of 63 with keeper Nikhil Naik 41 (28b, 3x4s, 2x6s) to take the team towards a formidable total.

Youngster Kiran Chormale 18 (5b, 1×4, 2x6s) and all-rounder Divyang Hinganekar 17 (9b, 2x4s) provided a final flourish that helped Ratnagiri Jets reach 200.

Samadhan Pagare (2 for 32 in 4) and Aditya Rajhans (1 for 27 in 4) were the pick of the Nashik bowlers, but pacer Izhaan Sayed (1 for 62 in 4) went for plenty.

Brief scores: Ratnagiri Jets: 200 for 4 in 20 overs (Dhiraj Phatangare 70, Nikhil Naik 41; Samadhan Pagare 2-32) bt Eagle Nashik TItans: 188 for 5 in 20 (Mandar Bhandari 74, Dhanraj Shinde 43; Azim Kazi 3-29) by 12 runs.