Devdutt Padikkal, Manish Pandey star as Gulbarga Mystics lift the inaugural edition of the Maharaja Trophy

A stylish half-century by Devdutt Padikkal, a late blitzkrieg by captain Manish Pandey and then some accurate bowling led by Manoj Bhandage helped the Gulbarga Mystics lift the inaugural edition of the Maharaja Trophy. The Mystics saw off the challenge off Bengaluru Blasters by 11 runs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday evening.

Batting first, the Gulbarga Mystics got off to a flying start with the in-form Jeswath Acharya and Rohan Patil attacking on all cylinders in the powerplay. Both batters were dealing in boundaries in the initial phase. The openers were scoring at more than 10 runs an over, and they put on a stand of 60 runs before Patil was the first to depart for 38.

Acharya was joined by the stylish Devdutt Padikkal and they continued to keep the momentum going. The partnership though wasn’t a big one as Acharya walked back for 39 in the 7th over. From then on in, Padikkal took charge, playing some rather stylish shots and looking set to get a big one.

Krishnan Shrijith added a quickfire 38, hitting a couple of sixes and as many boundaries before Manish Pandey and Padikkal took charge in the final phase, with the Mystics well in line for a score in excess of 200. Padikkal got to his fifty in the 18th over and had the best seat in the house as captain Manish was going through the gears at rapid pace at the other end. The 19th over saw Manish hammer a hat-trick of sixes which pushed the score beyond 200, as the Mystics finished up with 220 runs on the board.

In response, the Blasters did not manage lift off, even though Mayank Agarwal and LR Chethan were looking solid initially. The openers could only put on a 20-run stand before the skipper was castled.

That opened up the floodgates as the middle order collapse with Kush Marathe (1), Shivkumar Rakshith (0) and Aniruddha Joshi (7) being the next three to fall as the Blasters huffed and puffed their way to 46/4 by the end of the powerplay. Chethan meanwhile was holding up one end. J Suchith was dismissed for 5 while Chethan at the other end had got to his half-century in 21 balls.

But the Blasters were losing wickets and time quite rapidly and needed 139 runs from 11 overs with 5 wickets in hand. From here on in, the complexion of the game changed with the Blasters counter-attacking through Chethan, who had good company in Kranthi Kumar.

Chethan was moving along at rapid pace, dealing in big hits only as he hurtled along towards a century, just about keeping his side in the chase. The Blasters needed 74 from the last 6 overs. Chethan’s explosive knock though lasted only 40 deliveries during which he scored 91 runs, smashing 8 sixes and 6 fours. The opener’s wicket pretty much put the writing on the wall for the Blasters.

Kranthi Kumar finished up with 47 while Pradeep T was packed off for 3 before Rishi Bopanna (13) and Ronit More (22*) raised hopes with a late onslaught. However, it was a bridge too far for the Blasters, who lost the final by 11 runs.

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