PANAJI: Prescon Panthers emerged the champions of the inaugural Panjim Gymkhana Members League (PGML) after a hard-fought five-wicket victory over Dempo Challengers at PG ground, here on Sunday.

Chasing a modest total of 116, Prescon Panthers had to work hard and reached 117/5 in 19.3 overs in a tense finish. All-rounder Buddhadev Mangaldas was named man of the final for a crucial role with the bat in a low-scoring encounter. Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis was the chief guest and gave away the prizes in the presence of other dignitaries.

Prescon looked in control throughout, but failed to get the forceful shots at will and as such, progressed slowly thus keeping Dempo Challengers in the game. Swayam Naik was the top scorer with 31 runs in 26 balls. Opener duo of Prajyot Rivonker and Prashant Pangam scored 15 runs each. However, Prashant was too far behind with his strike rate, and Prescon required some aggressive tactics before it got to a high-pressure situation.

It required Buddhadev to come out with big hits and he delivered in his 15-ball stay at the crease, hitting two sixers in his cameo of 24 runs, to get the required runs to a run-a-ball situation. Iftikar Agha contributed 12 runs and Prescon scored a deserving triumph, having played a consistent brand of cricket across the PGML.

Demo Challengers once again bowled and fielded well with Nakul Mhamal picking up two wickets to clinch the Orange Cap with nine wickets to his name and the best economy rate. Ajay Pednekar also finished with nine wickets along with Buddhadev.

Earlier on winning the toss, Dempo Challengers failed to put up a decent batting performance and were bowled out for a below-par 116 in 19.4 overs.

Dempo’s marquee player Aryan Mashelkar was the top scorer with 25 runs off 28 balls. He applied himself and played steadily as wickets fell around him. His innings contained two welcome boundaries as runs were hard to come by in the wake of disciplined bowling performance by the Panthers. Kiran Shirwaikar (12) hit the only sixer of their inning, but he failed to bat responsibly as he had done in the Qualifier 2 with a man of the match performance.

Mahesh Gavande scored 14 runs and combined with Aryan for 24 runs partnership for the ninth wicket. It was the second-highest stand in the innings after the 27-run partnership for the second wicket between Naishad and Mehank.

Naishad Kamat struck two fours in his 13, at the top of the order. Mehank Dharwadkar (10) and Sargam Falare (10) were the other batsmen to get into double digits.

Dempo Challengers were in dire straits in the 11th over with the score reading 76/7. And getting to almost run a ball total seemed like a mini-recovery for the bowlers to have a respectable score to defend. Prescon Panthers conceded 14 wides in the total of 18 extras in Dempo’s final score of 116.

Narayan Kambli (3-0-9-2), Vivek Karapurkar (3-0-13-2) and Rohit Salgaonkar (3-0-20-2) bowled very well for Prescon Panthers. Prajyot Rivonker and Buddhadev Mangaldas picked up a wicket each.

Dempo captain Mukhtar Kadri was named the player of the tournament with 189 runs and 6 wickets to his name. Mahesh Gavande walked away with the best fielder award, while Devidas Kolkar (153) of LPK11 bagged the best batsman award.

Brief scores : Dempo Challengers 116 in 19.4 overs (Aryan Mashelkar 25, Mahesh Gavande 14, Naishad Kamat 13; N Kambli 2/9, Vivek Karapurkar 2/13) Prescon Panthers 117/5 in 19.3 overs (Swayam Naik 31, Buddhadev Mangaldas 24; Nakul Mhamal 2/24)


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