Azhar XI wins Super Heroes Trophy 2006 by two runs
Unmindful of the blazing sun, both cricketers and actors give their best to the match Vanka Pratap, Tarun, Azhar win individual awards
VIJAYAWADA: Two balls, seven runs and one wicket. The Super Heroes trophy - 2006 held at Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium here on Sunday between Azharuddin XI (218 for 6) and Srikanth XI (216 for 9) turned out to be as nail biting an encounter as any other international match.
Though Azhar's red brigade managed to clinch victory by two runs by escaping from the jaws of defeat, what won the hearts of the denizens of Vijayawada at the end was the compassion exhibited by Tollywood stars and Indian cricketers who sweated it out in the blazing sun to bring about awareness among the public on AIDS and the need for development of rural sports.
The charity match organised by the Andhra Pradesh Sports Foundation had all the thrills and frills, but what surprised everyone was the commitment with which the stars of the cricketing and tinsel worlds played the game.
Attack ripped apart
Batting first, Azhar XI made 218 for 6 in the allotted 30 overs. Putting aside his khakhi uniform for a cause, Eluru Range DIG C.V. Anand entered the field to open the innings and took the sails out of the rival attack by wielding his willow with gay abandon.
Mr Anand, known for his astute cricketing abilities, made 69 with a dozen hits to the boundary.
Azhar's elder son Abbas (14) was the first to go to the pavilion. After the fall of a couple of quick wickets, the ever-fit Azhar (72) strode to the middle to take control of the dicey situation.
With his trademark flicks and elegant drives, he steadied the ship and even smacked five huge sixes much to the delight of the spectators. Actor Tarun, with his slow off-spin, claimed three wickets.
Chasing 218 in 30 overs in the post-lunch session was truly a mammoth task for Srikanath XI as sun was at its scorching best.
Undeterred, Srikanth XI picked up the gauntlet in an admirable manner, thanks to a swashbuckling 62 by Hyderabad Ranji player Vanka Pratap.
Srikanth XI was in a spot of a bother when Srikanth himself made a tame exit for duck. Though Raghu (32) and Prabhu (34) dug themselves in a commendable manner, Mr Azhar removed the well-set Mr Raghu, thus opening the floodgates.
Stocky Vanka Pratap gradually opened his shoulders to come down the wicket to cart the rival bowlers. With Vishnuvardhan (actor Mohan Babu's son) and Rajeev Kanakala (17) giving worthy support, the match drifted into a cliffhanger.
But Srikanth XI could register only 216 for 9 before exhausting all the allotted overs. Rajeev and Khayyum (actor Ali's younger brother) remained not out.
Aharuddin was declared `Man of the Match', while Tarun, with his 3 for 41 spell, took the honours as best bowler.