Mumbai: Skipper Suryakumar Yadav struck a whirlwind knock of 90 not out as Triumph Knights Mumbai North East on Wednesday beat Shivaji Park Lions by three runs to become the champions of the inaugural T20 Mumbai League.
Chasing the challenging score of 182 for 5 put up by the Knights at the Wankhede Stadium, the Lions made a brave effort before falling short at 179 for 8, despite a partnership of 82 in 59 balls between Alpesh Ramjani (48 in 38 balls) and Hardik Tamore (39), resurrecting them from 57 for three just past the power play.
Both got dismissed in the space of five balls in the 17th over bowled by medium pacer Vaibhav Singh who ended up with fine figures of 3 for 38.
Shivam Dubey nearly pulled the rug out from under the Knights in the last over, when they needed 26 runs, as he smacked three sixes and one four to bring his side agonisingly close to victory.
The Lions needed four off the last ball from Shashank Singh, who bowled a dot ball to seal the victory. The left-handed Dubey, who made his Ranji debut earlier this season, remained unbeaten on 33 off 12 balls, studded with four sixes and one four.
It was a brave but vain effort by the unheralded Lions, lacking big names, as they had won the eliminator and the second qualifier against Namo Bandra Blasters and Sobo Super Sonics to enter the final.
The Lions' run-chase came after rival captain Yadav tore apart their bowling. Coming to the crease with his team fumbling badly at 34 or 5, the Knights' captain remained unbeaten till the end, ten short of a coveted ton, and rescued his team from a sorry-reading 34 for 5 to a score of 182 for 5 in the company of Parikshit Valsangkar, who remained unconquered with 59 off 49 balls.
The Ranji batsman, who will be playing for defending IPL champions Mumbai Indians this season, slammed seven huge sixes and as many fours in his audacious knock of 90 off just 42 balls. He reached his fifty with a six in 32 balls. Valsangkar gave him fine support by first beginning calmly and then opening out to strike five fours and two sixes.
The sixth-wicket duo put on a whirlwind, unfinished partnership of 148 in 84 balls, the highest partnership of the league, to give their side a fighting chance to lift the title.
Yadav finished the innings on a rousing note as he carted left-arm pacer and Mumbai Ranji teammate Roystan Dias for 24 runs in the last over, hitting two sixes, including one off the last ball, and three fours.
The title winners took home Rs one crore in prize money, while runners-up Lions got Rs 50 lakh.
Brief scores: Triumph Knights Mumbai North East 182 for 5 (Parikshit Valsangkar 59 not out, Suryakumar Yadav 90 not out; Siddharth Raut 2 for 11, Royston Dias 2 for 53) beat Shivaji Park Lions 179 for 8 (Bravish Shetty 32, Alpesh Ramjani 48, Hardik Tamore 39, Shivam Dubey not out 33; Vaibhav Singh 3 for 38, Atif Attarwala 2 for 23) by three runs.