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Welshman Pagett stuns Advani, takes Gujarat Kings into finals

Ahmedabad, Aug 24 (PTI) Gujarat Kings' icon player Andrew Pagett beat an off-colour Pankaj Advani to help his side thrash fancied Chennai Strikers 3-0 and enter the finals of the Indian Cue Masters League here today.

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 and then outsmarted Advani 24-8, 13-20, 37-18 in a thrilling icons clash.

Earlier, Gujarat King's Alok Kumar pulled off another unexpected 2-0 victory over Dharmender Lilly in the 9-ball pool to give the home side a 3-0 and unbeatable lead.

"I did not see it turn out any other way. I love to play mind games with Pankaj and with the crowd behind me, all the pressure was on him," Pagett said after the match.

"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 at 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 Advani to win the shootout and take the contest into the decider.

But this time, it was Advani 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 Advani under pressure.

But Advani 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. Advani got a couple of chances to go for broke as the clock started ticking on him but surprisingly, he did not go for them to lose the game, the match and the tie for Chennai Strikers

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