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Punjab Kings captaincy in doubt, Mayank Agarwal smashes ton to lead Bengaluru Blasters into Maharaja Trophy final

The Bengaluru Blasters batter Mayank Agarwal has been in fine touch in spite of the fact that there are reports that his franchise Punjab Kings are considering replacing him as captain for the IPL 2023 season. 

Punjab Kings captaincy in doubt, Mayank Agarwal smashes ton to lead Bengaluru Blasters into Maharaja Trophy final

It was yet another great night for the batters at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, a high scoring venue, as Mayank Agarwal and Rohan Patil scored sensational centuries, entertaining one and all on a Tuesday (August 23) night. That set-up a titanic clash between the Bengaluru Blasters and the Gulbarga Mystics, with the Mayank Agarwal-led Blasters winning by 44 runs, and becoming the first team to qualify for the final of the Maharaja Trophy. The Gulbarga Mystics have another go at making the final when they face Mysuru Warriors in Qualifier 2 on Thursday.

Batting first on home turf in an all-important contest, the Bengaluru Blasters openers, LR Chethan and Mayank Agarwal, gave their side a solid start. While Chethan kept rotating the strike and picking up a boundary here or there, his partner Mayank was having none of that.

The Punjab Kings captain has been a cut above the rest all through the tournament, and kept up with that theme, piercing the field and going over the top with utmost ease, as the Blasters notched up 59/0 at the end of the powerplay. Mayank brought up yet another fifty in the 10th over, off 33 deliveries while the century stand for the openers was completed in the 11th over. In the 14th, Chethan got to his fifty with the Blasters ready for lift off.

Chethan changed gears after getting his fifty and both the openers had a century in sight as the last five overs began with the score at 149/0. Chethan however was the first to depart, scoring a scintillating 48-ball-80, having hit 5 fours and as many sixes.

Right after, Aniruddha Joshi joined the party, giving Mayank company as the Blasters inched closer to 200. Joshi was dismissed for a quick 20 but Mayank wasn’t slowing down, and brought up a well deserved hundred in the final over. Mayank, who has scored two hundreds in the tournament, finished unbeaten on 112 off 61 balls, having clobbered 6 sixes and 9 fours as the Blasters, with a score of 227/3 took control of the contest.

The Bengaluru Blasters batter has been in fine touch in spite of the fact that there are reports that his franchise Punjab Kings are considering replacing him as captain for the IPL 2023 season with English batter Jonny Bairstow. Head coach Anil Kumble is already on his way out from PBKS.

The Mystics would need one big team performance and Rohan Patil was keeping up his end of the deal but Jeswath Acharya (12), Krishnan Shrijith (7) and Manish Pandey (6) could not stick around, departing before the end of the powerplay.

Rohan was dealing in big hits from his end, getting to his fifty with a boundary off the 17th delivery he faced. The powerplay ended with the Mystics on 84/3 with the opener in belligerent mood.

In the 16th over, Rohan got his second century of the tournament, reaching the milestone off 42 balls, keeping his side in the hunt for a berth in the final. However, the Mystics lost Pranav Bhatia (14) but it was Rohan Patil who was standing in the way of a Blasters’ win.

However, in the 18th over, Rohan ran out of steam and was run-out for 108 off 49 balls, having smashed 10 fours and 7 sixes. Eventually, the Mystics were bowled out for 183, falling short by a whopping 44 runs.

Brief Scores: Bengaluru Blasters 227/3 (Mayank Agarwal 112 n.o., LR Chethan 80; Vidhwath Kaverappa 2/48) bt Gulbarga Mystics 183 in 18.2 overs (Rohan Patil 108, Manoj Bhandage; Ronit More 3/41, J Suchith 2/29)

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