Ratnagiri win rain-affected game; to play Qualifier 1

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Pune June 24, 2023: Ratnagiri Jets defeated Puneri Bappa, who rested skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad, by eight runs (DLS method) in a rain-truncated affair to ensure a top-two finish in Shriram Capital Maharashtra Premier League (MPL) at the MCA International Stadium in Gahunje on Saturday afternoon.

Ratnagiri will face the winner of the Eagle Nashik Titans or Kolhapur Tuskers, who play on Saturday evening, in Qualifier 1 on Monday, June 26. The toss was delayed due to rain in that game. Should the rain play spoilsport, Sunday is the reserved day.

In the first game, the start of the game was delayed by an hour and a half due to a heavy spell of rain before the scheduled start, reducing the game to 15 overs per side.

The Jets’ skipper Azim Kazi won the toss and asked Pune to bat first. Pawan Shah 12 (13b, 1×4) and Shripad Nimbalkar 30 (19b, 3x4s, 1×6) gave Pune a brisk start before Nikit Dhumal dismissed Shah with his second delivery.

Shubham Taiswal 36 (24b, 3x4s, 2x6s) then smashed Ratnagiri bowlers around the park for an entertaining knock before tennis ball specialist Vijay Pawale got his wicket to break the partnership.

The Pune innings never gained momentum after that and got to 129 courtesy of a quick-fire 23 off 15 by wicketkeeper-bat Suraj Shinde. Left-arm spinner Kunal Thorat (2-23 in 3 overs) was named the player of the match for his outstanding bowling display.

When it came to the chase, Ratnagiri captain Kazi quickly got off the blocks and raced to 21 (9b, 3x4s, 1×6) before he was caught at covers by Abhimanyu Jadhav in the second over. Coming in at No. 3 Preetam Patil 20 (11b, 3x4s, 1×6) ensured that Ratnagiri stayed ahead of the DLS par score with rain looming on the horizon.

The rain eventually did come in the eighth over of the chase, and the game never got going again, resulting in Ratnagiri Jets’ fourth victory of the tournament.


Ruturaj rested

Puneri Bappa skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad was named in the Indian Test and ODI squad for the team’s West Indies tour. Pune had already qualified for the playoffs of the MPL, before the start of the match and with the national duty on the horizon in mind, the team rested Ruturaj for the game.

Brief scores: Puneri Bappa: 129 for 6 in 15 overs (Shubham Taiswal 36, Shripad Nimbalkar 30; Kunal Thorat 2-23) lost to Ratnagiri Jets: 70 for 3 in 7.4 overs (Azim Kazi 21, Preetam Patil 20; Sachin Bhosale 2-17) by eight runs (DLS method).