Rampant Ramasundaram helps West XI upset champions Associates
Big-hitting Rajesh Ramasundaram bludgeoned an unbeaten 90 as West XI produced the first upset of the new Evening Cricket League season by thrashing The Associates, the defending champions, by ten wickets in the opening round of the delayed 2021 knockout at Shelly Bay.
West XI will be joined in this weekend's semi-finals by CV Chargers, who piled up their biggest ever 16-over total to crush De Wicketest by 90 runs.
Ramasundaram smashed eight sixes and six fours as he and opening partner Jim West, who made 31 not out, raced to 129 for no wicket as they overhauled The Associates' modest 125 with 25 balls to spare to set up a semi-final meeting with second-seeded Tuff Dogs.
West, the captain, earlier did the bulk of the damage with three for 40 and Jeet Singh chipped in with two for 19 as The Associates ― winners of the tournament in 2019 and 2020 ― folded with one ball remaining after being sent in.
Chargers, who won the toss, piled up 202 for two off their 16 overs, spearheaded by Piers Carr's unbeaten 78, which included six sixes and six fours, 61 from Rowan McLean, which contained four sixes and seven fours, and 41 from Matty Watson, the club's new captain.
Watson then put the brakes on De Wicketest's reply, restricting them to 112 for eight with three for 30 as only Tallent Clark, who made 43, and Justin Brookes, the captain, with 22, offered any meaningful resistance.
Chargers will face Renegades, last season's top team, in Saturday's other semi-final of a tournament that was called off at the end of last season because of a surge in coronavirus pandemic cases.
"Great to be back playing again after last season came to an end quite abruptly," said Somers Carr, Chargers' former captain.
"It was a really solid effort from our guys making our record score of 202 with only losing two wickets.
"Our new captain Matty Watson was clinical in his fielding tactics and bowling."
He added: "I'd also like to give a special mention to Tariq Ahmed [one for six] and Shane Dietz [one for seven], who took their first wickets after three years with the team."
The league schedule will start next Monday when West XI take on Bailey's Bay, back in the league for the first time in six years, at Sea Breeze Oval, while North Village, returning after a two-season break, face De Wicketest at Shelly Bay.