West Coast Rangers continued their sparkling run and beat Blazing Bashers to cruise into the semi-finals of the UTT Mumbai Super League at the NSCI here on Saturday.
It was Sanish Ambekar and Deepit Patil, who sizzled once again to guide Rangers to a tight 14-13 victory which was enough to take them into the knock-out stage with a total of 67 points from four ties. While Sanish came out unscathed in both his matches, it was Deepit who scored a crucial win in the last match of the tie.
Bashers have logged in a total of 37 points after three ties and would need a huge win in their last encounter to keep their title defence hopes alive.
The Rangers did not have the best of the starts with Abhay Mehta going down to Gurcharan Singh Gill 0-3 (4-11, 3-11, 10-11) in the Veterans' match. Sanish got his team back into the tie with a 2-1 (11-5, 7-11, 11-10) win over Raegan Albuquerque in the men's singles clash but Rangers lost the momentum again after Manasi Chiplunkar lost to Shruti Amrute 1-2 (8-11, 10-11, 11-10) in the women's singles competition while the pair of Deepit Patil & Sampada Bhiwandkar went down to Aadil Anand & Tejal Kamble 1-2 (10-11, 11-9, 9-11) in the junior mixed doubles event to see the reigning champions take a considerable lead mid-way into the tie.
However, it was Dev Hingorany who rose to the occasion and got the better of Merwyn Patel 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11-10) to bring smiles to the Rangers' dug-out. Sanish then teamed up with Manasi to beat the pair of Raegan Albuquerque & Shruti Amrute 2-1 (11-7, 6-11, 11-9) to level the score at 9-9.
With the tie poised for an interesting finish, Rangers lost the next two encounters as Sampada Bhiwandkar lost to Tejal Kamble 1-2 (8-11, 8-11, 11-7) in the junior girls' match while Abhay Mehta & Dev Hingorany went down to Gurcharan Singh Gill & Merwyn Patel 1-2 (11-9, 7-11, 9-11) in both the doubles (veteran & cadet). With their backs against the wall, it was young Deepit Patil who showed nerves of steel and won 3-0 (11-10, 11-9, 11-5) against Aadil Anand to put the tie to rest.
In another tie, King Pong steamrolled Kool Smashers 15-12 to stay alive in the competition. King Pong have a total of 47 points with a tie remaining, while Smashers have collected 59 points from their four ties and still have a chance of making it to the last four.
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