Pankaj Advani and in-form Vidya Pillai led the charge for Chennai. © Indian Cue Masters League
Chennai Strikers clinched their second tie in the Indian Cue Masters League, blanking Hyderabad Hustlers 5-0 to inch closer to a place in the semifinals, on Tuesday. 16-time world champion Pankaj Advani and in-form Vidya Pillai led the charge for Chennai, featuring in two victories each. Pankaj and Vidya teamed up to first beat Lucky Vatnani (Telangana) and Amee Kamani (MP) in the Mixed Doubles Snooker clash. Pankaj then tamed Amir Sarkosh (Iran) in the Icon match even as Vidya joined hands with Pandu Rangaiah to pick on Anuj Uppal and Amee Kamani in the Mixed Doubles Pool encounter.
The Strikers had notched up the first point in the 9-Pool singles, when Dharminder Lilly got the better of Amir Sarkosh 2-1. They rounded up their perfect show in the singles snooker, with Faisal Khan beating Kamal Chawla easily.
Pankaj and Vidya began their march in the Mixed Doubles Snooker, easily taking the first frame of clash. They seemed to be sitting pretty at 21-1 at the halfway stage in the second frame too; but suddenly, they made a series of fouls that saw Lucky Vatnani and Amee Kamani jump ahead to 26-21.
With barely a couple of seconds left, however, Pankaj and Vidya scrambled to pick up five points to take the game to the black ball shootout. Both pairs expectedly opted for safe play until Vatnani manufactured a shot to win it.
In the Icon Game again, Pankaj was in supreme touch, moving to a 32-1 lead in the first frame to win 35-18. He was equally imperious in the second frame, breaking a straight 45 to wrap it up and the match 45-3.
The Bengaluru-based Vidya continued her winning run in the Mixed Doubles pool too, outsmarting Anuj Uppal and Amee Kamani in straight games.