Bengaluru Buddies shock Chennai Strikers in Indian Cue Masters League

Ahmedabad, August 20: Bengaluru Buddies came from behind to beat Chennai Strikers in the Indian Cue Masters League here on Monday.

The Strikerswere sitting pretty at 2-1, after Bengaluru-based Vidya Pillai notched up twopoints for her team, pairing up first with Pankaj Advani to win the MixedDoubles Snooker match and then with Pandurangaiah from Nellore to win the MixedDouble Pool match as well.

But in adramatic Icon Match, Darren Morgan (Wales) stunned Pankaj literally with just afew seconds to go to make it 2-all. In the decider, the snooker singlesshootout, Laxman Rawat cruised to a 42-0 victory against Dharmender Lilly(Punjab) to clinch the tie for the Buddies.

The Buddiesgot off to a winning start, with Sundeep Gulati (Delhi) trouncing veteranDharmender Lilly (Punjab) in straight frames in the 9-ball pool contest. 

The mixeddoubles encounter, thereafter, was a game of patience and nerves, with bothteams opting to play safe. Pankaj Advani and Vidya Pillai kept Darren Morgan(Wales) and Anastasia Anachaeva (Russia) on their toes, running neck to necktill 9-9.

At thatpoint, Morgan whipped out a perfect snook to create a nice opening for hispartner. They notched up 10 points to win the frame 19-7.

The secondframe too was all about skill and strategy. The score card moved slowly as bothpairs had to be content with the reds. But Pankaj pulled off a brown to take aslender 10-8 lead. It was enough to fetch the Strikers the frame and take thegame to the decider.

Pankaj andVidya again jumped to a 9-1 lead to put pressure on the Bengaluru Buddies duo.They consolidated it to 18-2 to comfortably win the frame 22-5 and the crucialsecond point for their team.

Pandurangaih(Nellore) paired up with the in form Pillai to brush aside the Buddies’challenge (Sundeep Gulati and Anastasia) in straight games to take a 2-1 leadfor the Strikers.

In thehighly anticipated Icon clash, Pankaj began by clearing out 5 reds and rackingup 30 straight points to win the first frame 41-10. He fell behind in thesecond frame though as Morgan raced away to a 29-6 lead. 

But withjust two minutes left, Pankaj went on a rampage to narrow the lead down to29-23. With just 15 seconds left, however, he missed the last last ball on thetable to lose it in dramatic fashion.

In thedecider too, Morgan jumped to a 15-9 lead. With just a little over two minutesleft, Pankaj made it 18-15 but couldn’t put away the pink. Morgan pounced on itto regain the led and win the frame and the point.

"It wasa tight and nerve wrecking game against Pankaj. We both were under pressure andit reflected as we missed easy points which we usually don't," said theWelshman playing for the Bengaluru Buddies. "I am happy with the endresult. And hope all the Indian viewers and fans will accept such anentertaining new concept," he added. 


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