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We are finally down to the last three matches in the ongoing Mumbai Premier League which continues to get interesting with every passing match. While SoBo SuperSonics and ARCS Andheri have run away in the points table with four wins each, as many as four teams are tied for the third spot with four points each. Up next in the tournament is the match-up between NaMo Bandra Blasters and Eagle Thane Strikers who are next to each other on the points table and will be looking to get two important points to get back into the contention for the playoffs. Considering the fact that there are so many teams at four points, both the sides will be looking to win and win big as the net run-rate factor might come into the picture later into the match.
After getting off to a rather poor start, NaMo Bandra Blasters somehow bounced back into the contention with a couple of good wins and now stand at the sixth spot at the points table. However, they have a poor net run-rate, better than no other team having the same number of points.
They have done super well in their last two games, first beating the laggards, Shivaji Park Lions, in the tournament and then going on to beat the first-spot holders, SoBo SuperSonics by a reasonably good margin of four wickets.
Their bowlers played an instrumental role in their last win where they restricted the powerful batting lineup of the SuperSonics at just 151. Their new ball bowlers in Aditya Dhumal and Nikhil Date did exceedingly well as they picked up early wickets and ended up with the similar figures of 28 for 2 and 29 for 3 in their respective four overs. With the momentum they have, if they can continue to push their boundaries, they are certainly going to be a threat in the business end of the tournament.
Prasad Pawar, Eknath Kerkar, Shreyas Iyer, Shrideep Mangela, Nikhil Patil, Sujit Nayak, Siddharth Chitnis, Aditya Dhumal, Karsh Kothari, Uzair Khan, Nikhil Date.
Unlike the Blasters, Eagle had a reasonably good start in the competition, but haven't found solid ground after their first win in the competition. With the likes of Aditya Tare, Sarafraz Khan, and Shardul Thakur in their initial squad, their stay at the bottom of the table is surprising.
Their last match was yet another example of their over-dependence on their skipper, Aditya Tare, wherein apart from him, no one was able to get going. Alpesh Ramjani played a vital hand of fifty, but he too has been inconsistent throughout the tournament thus far, which hasn't helped the Eagles cause.
Bowling-wise as well, the Eagles have struggled with consistency with their strike bowlers not able to perform consistently. It was Prashant Solanki's excellent effort, albeit a bit expensive, in their last match wherein he picked up four wickets for just 31 runs. Absence of Shardul Thakur hasn't helped them either. Overall, they need better performances from their other players and if the likes of Sachin Wagh and Jaideep Pardeshi come good, they can be a threating side.
Aditya Tare, Jaideep Pardeshi, Sachin Wagh, Shrikant Limbole, Alpesh Ramjani, Sagar Mishra, Aishwary Surve, Ankush Jaiswal, Prashant Solanki, Rakesh Prabhu, Kruthik Hanagavadi.
Going by the past few matches, NaMo Blasters are clearly on top. They've won two of their last matches, one against one of the most prolific sides in the tournament thus far, and are looking in sublime form. On paper, both the sides are equally matched, but the Blasters have really picked up in the last two games, as far as the team effort is concerned. For those and the above-mentioned reasons, we think that the Blasters are better placed to emerge victorious in the upcoming fixture.
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