Ahmedabad, August 24: Gujarat Kings’ Icon player Andrew Pagett stunned an off-colour Pankaj Advani to beat strongly fancied Chennai Strikers 3-0 and carried the home side into the finals of the Indian Cue Masters League here in Thursday.
Pagett, known as the Welsh Wizard, first paired up with Daria Sirotina to overcome Advani and his in form partner Vidya Pillai in the Snooker Doubles 2-1; then, he took on Advani in the Icons clash and outsmarted him 24-8, 13-20, 37-18 in a thriller.
Before him, his teammate Alok Kumar pulled off another unexpected 2-0 victory over Dharmender Lilly in the 9-ball pool to give the hosts a 3-0 and unbeatable lead.
“I didn’t see it turn out any other way,” Pagett said, immediately after locking the match. “I love to play mind games with Pankaj and with the crowd behind me all the pressure was on him,” he added.
“I am looking forward to play here in the finals now,” Pagett said.
The Kings had a near perfect day, with Lady Luck favouring them and everything going their way.
Riding on the lead provided by Alok Kumar, Pagett and Daria put up a sterling display, not giving any opportunity to Advani and Vidya. They raced away to a 24-8 win in the opening frame.
But in the second, even though they were ahead 12-0 with barely a couple of minutes left, Pagett committed an unexpected error to let the Indian duo back in 12-13. Vidya made it 13-13 and even pocketed the pink but had failed to call a time out. The officials ruled against her, forcing the game into a black ball shootout.
It was a tense, defensive finish, with none of the cueists taking any chance and coming up near-perfect defensive play. Pagett finally was forced into a error, allowing Pankaj to win the shootout and take the contest into the decider.
But this time, it was Pankaj who made the mistake, giving away the frame to the Gujarat Kings.
The Icons match lived up to its billing, with Pagett particularly playing like a true king. He claimed the opening frame 41-7 to put Pankaj completely under pressure. But Pankaj managed to claw his way back, producing an immaculate frame for a 36-6 win.
Pagett was once again in his elements in the decider, manufacturing a stunning shot to open up the table and a commanding 30-2 lead. Pankaj got a couple of chances to go for broke as the clock started ticking on him; but surprisingly, he didn’t go for them to lose the game, the match and the tie for Chennai Strikers.
Chennai Strikers v/s Gujarat Kings
Match 1: Snooker Doubles:
Pankaj Advani/ Vidya Pillai vs Andrew Pagett/ Daria Sirotina: 8-24; 20-13; 37-18
Match 2: Pool Singles:
Dharminder Lilly vs Alok Kumar: 0-1;0-1
Match 3: Snooker Singles (ICON)
Pankaj Advani vs Andrew Pagett: 7-41; 36-6; 30-2
Over all Result: 0-3