Dynamic Duo shock Indian lions to enter final

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Mumbai, Feb 20 (UNI) Dynamic duo Devendra Joshi and Ashok Shandilya stunned title favourites Indian Lions to storm into the final of the inaugural Yasin Merchant Classic Invitation Snooker Doubles Tournament at the Islam Gymkhana today.

They Duo surprised their much-accomplished rivals Yasin Merchant and Alok Kumar by earning nine points in the best-of-seven frames semi-finals.

Dynamic Duo held sway following a good start and dominated the match while putting their formidable opponents under constant pressure.

Lions had their fair share of opportunities but as soon as they bungled their chances, Duo punished them with their consistency.

Lions kept their hopes alive as Dynamic Duo led by three frames to two and were up 4-2. What followed was a pulsating sixth frame that promised to take the match to the wire.

But just when two-time Asian snooker champion Yasin Merchant was on course for a big break, that would have brought Lions back into the match and change their fortunes, he missed a fairly easy black in the top left pocket that prematurely ended the break at 27.

As Merchant was left to ponder over what might have been, the versatile Ashok Shandilya, still fresh from his break of 64 in the fourth frame, came up with another magnificent 63 that included brilliant shots, but prematurely ended when he miscued on the brown while attempting a clearance.

Shandilya's break took the match away from Lions as Dynamic Duo sealed an unexpected win to set up a title clash with Young Turks Pankaj Advani and Manan Chandra who beat Action Jacksons Sarang Shroff and Kamal Chawla 74-41, 99-18, 22-81, 15-68, 62-22, 27-57, 76-8 in another thrilling semi-final that saw Young Turks earn six points and Action Jacksons' five.

''Dynamic Duo were exceptional. They were consistent and put us under constant pressure,'' said a disappointed Yasin Merchant. ''We were never allowed to settle down. They punished our mistakes. In conclusion, for this format they played flawless snooker.'' Said Devendra Joshi, ''It was quite a tough match. Ashok and I were consistent with out potting and managed to put Yasin and Alok under pressure. Yasin was not at his best. Ashok raised his game to a different level and came up with those breaks just when we needed them. Lions had a chance but when you don cue well the easiest of positions can be lost.'' Results (Semi-finals): Dynamic Duo (Devendra Joshi/Ashok Shandilya) bt Indian Lions (Yasin Merchant/Alok Kumar) 42-24, 50-70, 72-72-21, 100-0, 41-78, 71-27, 62-18; Young Turks (Pankaj Advani/Manan Chandra) bt Actions Jacksons (Sarang Shroff/Kamal Chawla) 74-41, 99-18, 22-81, 15-68, 62-22, 27-57, 76-8.

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