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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Pankaj Advani’s Chennai Strikers stunned in Indian Cue Masters League opener

Pankaj Advani-led Chennai Strikers lost to Gujarat Kings in the opening tie of the Indian Cue Masters League.

other-sports Updated: Aug 19, 2017 23:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Gujarat Kings rode on their home advantage to stun India’s star player Pankaj Advani’s Chennai Strikers in the opener of the Indian Cue Masters League.
Gujarat Kings rode on their home advantage to stun India’s star player Pankaj Advani’s Chennai Strikers in the opener of the Indian Cue Masters League.(HT Photo)

The inaugural edition of the Indian Cue Masters League got off to a dramatic start in Ahmedabad on Saturday as Gujarat Kings rode on their home advantage to stun star player Pankaj Advani’s Chennai Strikers 3-2.

In the day’s second tie, Bengaluru Buddies got the better of Delhi Dons 3-2 to join the Kings on top of the standings.

Played to a near full house at the revamped Rajpath Club, the international duo of Andrew Pagett and Daria Sirotina got the first point for Kings in the mixed doubles by easily overcoming Indian pair of Pankaj Advani and Vidya Pillai in the three-frame encounter.

READ | After Asian gold, Malkeet Singh ready for Cue Slam League and the world stage

Dharminder Lilly fought back to regain parity for the Chennai team but only after many nail-biting moments. He needed a dream 9-ball shot to put down veteran Alok Kumar.

Pankaj Advani came under the spotlight once again, this time in a straight battle against Welsh Pagett. But Pagett held on to his nerves and dragged the first frame to the tie-breaker. He used the momentum to defeat the poster boy of Indian snooker 37-30.

The second frame of the Icon game also went to the wire as the two were tied at 17-17 with only two reds left on the baize. None of the duo was ready to yield the advantage, making it a game of patience. But Pagett again found the opening to take a seven-point lead (37-30). He waited out the 10-minute time frame for his second victory to make 2-1 in favour of the Kings.

While the Icons were busy settling egos, Vidya Pillai partnered Dharminder Lilly to defeat the pair of Alok Kumar and Daria Sirotina from Russia in the mixed doubles pool game.

READ | Indian Cue Masters League launched, 25 stars picked during players’ draft

Again, it was up to the Bangalore-based lass Pillai to score the nine-ball shot to make it 2-2 in the tie.

In an interesting turn of events, it all came down to two Indians playing for their respective franchises in the last and final six-red snooker game. Brijesh Damani, playing for the Kings, swiftly racked up 32 points and Faisal had no option but to accept defeat after the 10-minute time frame.

The Bengaluru-Delhi tie started off in a battle of the sexes in the Icon Game where Kelly Fisher took on the experienced Darren Morgan. Bengaluru’s Darren stormed away to victory riding on a 42-point opening gambit.

Fisher, however, showed her class in the second frame, scrambling to a nail-biting 34-32 win. In the decider, Fisher didn’t let up to beat Morgan to make it 1-0 for her team.

On the blue baize, the Bengaluru Buddies consolidated their position as the pair of Sundeep Gulati and Anastasia Anchaeva beat the Dons’ Laura Evans and Malkeet Singh 2-1 in the three-frame encounter.

READ | Pankaj Advani-led India beat Pakistan to win Asian Team Snooker Championship

Although, Kelly brought her side back into the match by breezing past Sundeep Gulati in the singles nine-ball pool game, defeating him in straight games.

In the singles six-red snooker game decider, Laxman Rawat of the Buddies had to pull out all the tricks up his sleeve to contain the dangerous Pushpender Singh to win 29-27 to hand Bengaluru Buddies the tie.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 22:44 IST

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