Spearheads A. Sharath Kamal and K. Shamini did the job expected of them to take Petroleum to both the team finals in the 40th inter-institutional table tennis championship at the Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.

In what was seen by Petroleum as the ‘final’ before Friday’s title match, the defending champion overpowered Air India 3-1 to take its allotted place in the men’s’ team final. If Sharath won his two singles to set up Petroleum’s triumph, Shamini did the same in the women’s semifinal against Dena Bank on way to a 3-1 victory.

Sharath provided a sound start by getting the better of fellow Tamil Nadu player R. Abhishek in the opening singles and then returned to stop young Sanil Shetty in four games for a fine finish.

If the hot favourite could not blank the young Air India side it was only because Soumyadeep Roy blew away his winning chances more than once against the Shetty. Roy led by two games and was 7-4 ahead in the third before running out of ideas. Again in the decider, Roy looked in control at 8-4 and 9-6 but could not stop the gallant Shetty from running away with the last five points and the match.

With the teams level at 1-1, left-handed Sourav Chakraborty put Petroleum ahead for the second time in the match by getting rid of Pathik Mehta. It was then left to Sharath to put the finishing touches.

Petroleum will now face arch-rivals Railways that easily defeated young Dena Bank 3-0 in the other semifinal. The trio of Anirban Nandi, Harmeet Desai and Aman Balgu did not drop a single game against Dena Bank, the last year’s finalist.

Earlier, the women team semifinals also followed the predictable course despite Petroleum not fielding its strongest combination against Dena Bank.

The surprise loss of Madhurika Patkar to N. Vidya in the opening singles and then Shamini dropping the opening game to Mamta Prabhu did cause to few worries to the Petroleum camp but not for long.

Shamini got her act together to win in four games. Mouma Das had no trouble in racing past N. Sathyabama. Soon Shamini proved far too superior to Vidya to take Petroleum to the threshold of another title.

The results (team championship): Men: Semifinals: Petroleum beat Air India 3-1 (Sharath Kamal bt R. Abhishek 13-11, 11-7, 11-9; Soumyadeep Roy lost to Sanil Shetty 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 4-11, 9-11; Saurav Chakraborty bt Pathik Mehta 11-5, 11-5, 10-12, 11-7; Sharath bt Shetty 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6).

Railways beat Dena Bank 3-0 (Anirban Nandi bt R. S. Raja 11-9, 11-3, 11-8; Harmeet Desai bt L. Sathishwaran 11-7, 11-4, 11-6; Aman Balgu bt S. Prasanna 11-8, 11-5, 11-5).

Quarterfinals: Petroleum bt Defence Accounts 3-0; Air India bt LIC 3-0; Railways bt AAI 3-1; Dena Bank bt RBI 3-2.

Women: Semifinals: Petroleum beat Dena Bank 3-1 (Madhurika Patkar lost to N. Vidya 7-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-13; K. Shamini bt Mamta Prabhu 8-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7; Mouma Das bt N. Sathyabama 11-4, 11-7, 11-1; Shamini bt Vidya 11-3, 11-4, 11-4).

Air India beat Railways 3-1 (Prajakta Tipale lost to Anindita Chakraborty 1-11, 6-11, 11-8, 8-11; Mallika Bhandarkar bt Shruti Talnekar 8-11, 11-5, 11-3, 14-12; Shweta Parte bt Runa Roy 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-7; Mallika bt Anindita 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-6).

Quarterfinals: Petroleum bt Indian Bank 3-0; Dena Bank bt BSNL 3-0; Air India bt AAI 3-1; Railways bt Defence Accounts 3-0.

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