Royal Bengal Tigers stormed their way to the top of the table after outclassing Mumbai Champs by 12 runs in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) Twenty20 Championship at the Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday.
Chasing a target of 171 in the allotted 20 overs, the Champs were bowled out for 158 in 19.5 overs to hand Bengal their third successive win in the tournament.
Champs lost their first wicket, Taufeeq Umar (0) in the very first over. Captain Nathan Astle, who came in after the fall of Umar, put up a 55-run partnership with opener Dheeraj Jadhav, before getting out in the ninth over after making 33 runs.
Jadhav held forte as wickets kept falling at the other end. Hasan Raza (0), Kiran Powar (2) and Raviraj Patil (3), fell in three successive overs to put the Champs in trouble.
With the pressure building, Jadhav too got run out in the 14th over after a brilliant fielding effort by Tigers' Rohan Gavaskar, leaving the Champs tottering at 82 for six.
A 66-run partnership between all-rounder Johan van der Wath and wicket-keeper Subhojit Paul gave some hopes to the Champs. But the joy was short-lived as Paul got out at 32 in the 18th over, followed by Van der Wath (35 off 19 balls) in the next over.
The Champs were all out for 158 in 19.5 over with Michael Kasprowicz remaining four not out.
For the Tigers, Abu Ahmed was the highest wicket-taker with figures of 3/22, followed by Eklak Ahmid (2/25) and Andre Adams (2/28). The brilliant bowling was complemented by some good fielding by the Tigers.
Earlier, the Tigers, who won the toss and elected to bat, got off to a flying start with both the openers Hamish Marshall and Deep Dasgupta smashing the Champs bowlers all over the park.
Marshall scored his half-century off 30 balls with four fours and three sixes. He along with Dasgupta shared a partnership of 84 runs before the latter was stumped of the bowling of Shridhar Iyer for a score of 32 in 25 balls.
Marshall was the next to go at 55 in the 12th over. Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, who came in to bat at the number three, could not add much to the team score and was caught off the bowling of Avinash Yadav.
Skipper Craig McMillan too got out cheaply after scoring just seven runs off five deliveries.
But an unbeaten innings by Lance Klusener (30 off 21 balls) and Rohan Gavaskar (30 off 12 balls) helped Tigers post a stiff target of 170.