The 16-year-old comes of age to play a matured innings in the company of skipper Takawale to set up the first win for his side.
Young Yashasvi Jaiswal came up with a matured knock to lead North Mumbai Panthers to a convincing five-wicket win over Shivaji Park Lions in the T20 Mumbai League on Thursday night. He smashed 69 in 43 balls with five boundaries and three elegant sixes.
Perhaps the youngest player in the league at 16, Jaiswal shared a 96-run partnership with stand in skipper Yogesh Takawale to help their team chase 135 and secure their first win of the league and stay alive after two consecutive losses.
Takawale, who led the side in the absence of icon player Ajinkya Rahane, who had pulled at the last moment due to back spasms, joined Jaiswal at the crease after the side lost three early wickets. Takawale, who has played first class cricket for Maharashtra and captained Tripura, showed experience to drop as anchor and scored a laboured 23 in 33 balls, while Jaiswal played his strokes. The lanky left-hander got his timing right and runs started to flow from his bat.
“After I was out for a duck in the last game, Ajju bhai (Rahane) gave me confidence to bowl well and do well in the field. Those words meant lot to me and I was confident today. I got an opportunity to play MPL and seniors in the team have been backing me that's why I could play freely. It is a special day for me,” said Jaiswal, who has scored tons of runs in age-group cricket for Mumbai.
Shivaji Park Lions, who also were playing without their icon player Siddhesh Lad owing to a shoulder injury, fancied their chances till the 17th over, when Panthers required 30 in 15 balls, but Jaiswal struck three consecutive sixes off an otherwise miserly Roystan Dias to bring the equation down to 12 in 12 balls. His first six was hit straight over the bowler’s head, the second, elegantly over long on and the third was wristy scoop over fine leg.
“I saw that the fine leg was up, so I went for the length ball and there was good connection with the bat,” a confident Jaiswal said after the match. “We concentrated on building a partnership as per instructions from the coach. The partnership between a left-hander and right-hander put them under pressure and runs started flowing, which disturbed their line,” added the talented leg-spinner, who revealed that he is working on his “awkward” action.
Both Takawale and Jaiswal were dismissed in the penultimate over, but they had done enough to finish on a winning side. Takawale, who played at the venue for Mumbai Indians in IPL and later represented Royal Challengers Bangalore, was also happy with the win.
“It was nice to bat again at Wankhede after a long time. We needed this win. I hope we have found the winning combination,” he said. When quizzed, on how Rahane fits in the winning combination, he said, “That’s is up to the team management. Though I had been told before to captain in the absence of Rahane, but I got to know of leading today, five minutes before the match,” Takawale said.
Batting first, Lions struggled to end up with medicoire score of 135/9 under difficult batting cconditions. Saeed Shaikh then ran through the Lions’ middle-order with a spell of 4/18. It was only because of Siddharth Akre at No. 3 and some late heroics from Raunaq Sharma and Shams Mulani, that Lions were able to post a respectable total. Akre was one of only three Lions’ batsmen to have a strike rate above 100. His 39 came off 32 balls, and included five fours and a six.
Sharma smashed 28 from 16 balls with the help of three fours and a six, while Mulani’s 13-ball 18 included one four. Sharma and Mulani added 27 runs in three overs for the sixth wicket. Apart from Shaikh, Shivam Malhotra turned out to be a star performer with the ball for Panthers. He took two wickets for just 14 runs in his four overs.
Brief scores: Shivaji Park Lions 135 for 9 in 20 overs (Siddharth Akre 39, Raunaq Sharma 28, Saeed Shaikh 4-18, Shivam Malhotra 2-14) lost to North Mumbai Panthers 138 for 5 in 19.4 overs (Yashasvi Jaiswal 69, Yogesh Takawale 23, Sagar Trivedi 2-26, Siddharth Raut 2-19) by five wickets.