S Ganesh struck an unbeaten 77 to help Don Bosco (Egmore, Chennai) ease into the title round of the second and final phase of The Muthoot Group-sponsored 4th Junior Super Kings Inter-school T20 Championships 2017 at the ICL Sankar Nagar cricket ground (turf) in Tirunelveli on Thursday with a convincing 47-run win over Jayendra Saraswathi (Coimbatore).
In Friday’s final to be played under lights (6.30 p.m. start), Don Bosco will meet AVM Rajeswari, a 36-run winner over Srirangam Boys (Tiruchi) in the other semifinal. Don Bosco had defeated AVM Rajeswari in the Chennai leg final late last month.
Ganesh, a ’keeper-batsman, put on 68 for the opening wicket with southpaw V Abishek to give the side a good start on opting to bat as last year’s second phase runners-up posted a commanding 142/3 to take early control of the match.
Abishek holed out at long on while giving pacer T Prashanth the charge but the left-hander, who hit off-spinner B Sachin for three sixes in an over, set the tempo and punchy Ganesh stood firm until the end.
Ganesh played some impressive shots and was quick to dispose poor deliveries as he swept off-spinner S Saran for consecutive boundaries. He had a reprieve on 42 before reaching his fifty with a six off pacer T Prasanth.
Jayendra Saraswathi lost three wickets early before off-spinner TM Shreyas struck twice is succession to firmly push the opposition on the defensive. Opener D Aswath, who scored 42 out of the team score of 95, was ninth man out. “I didn’t get the required support,” Aswath said.
Man of the match Ganesh said his side finished 20 runs short. “The pitch was a bit difficult early on due to overnight rain and we only got 24 in Powerplay,” he said.
In the other semifinal, the middle order rallied to lift AVM Rajeswari to 134/7 after opting to bat against Srirangam Boys and losing main batsman Ram Arvindh early. Left-hander Adithya Venkatesh scored 32 not out and R Sri Hari lashed 18 runs off 7 balls, including consecutive sixes off pacer M Vigneshwaran in the final over.
A fighting 46 by opener S Suriyanarayanan kept the Tiruchi side in the race (56 required to win off 30 balls) but his exit, caught at long on by Arvindh off off-spinner A Magesh, was the turning point.
“It went really close,” said Man of the match Venkatesh.
Internationally renowned Kookaburra white balls are being used from semifinals onwards.
Brief scores (semifinals):
Don Bosco (Egmore, Chennai) 142/3 in 20 overs (S Ganesh 77 n.o., V Abishek 37, T Prashanth 2-20) bt Jayendra Saraswathi (Coimbatore) 95/9 in 20 overs (D Aswath 42, Adithya Geethan 2-5, A Aasrit 2-19, TM Shreyas 2-9). MoM: S Ganesh. Spirited performer: D Aswath.
AVM Rajeswari 134/7 in 20 overs (A Magesh 22, Adithya Venkatesh 32 n.o., M Vigneshwaran 2-35) bt Srirangam Boys (Tiruchi) 98/6 in 20 overs (S Suriyanarayanan 46, Vignesh Yadav 2-14, A Magesh 2-19). MoM: Adithya Venkatesh. Spirited performer: S Suriyanarayanan.