India Cements ‘A’ retains title

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PROUD WINNER: India Cements ‘A’ skipper S. Suresh receiving the trophy from TNCA vice-president U. Prabhakar Rao (centre).
PROUD WINNER: India Cements ‘A’ skipper S. Suresh receiving the trophy from TNCA vice-president U. Prabhakar Rao (centre).

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: India Cements ‘A’ retained The Hindu Trophy with a masterful display in Sunday’s day-night final here at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium. The architects of the 76-run victory over Chemplast Sanmar were S. Sharath, the veteran left-hander who crafted a 58-ball 70, and S. Suresh, the captain who returned figures of three for 13 after making 39.

Inserted, India Cements ‘A’ scored 217 for five in 30 overs, drawing on an 84-run stand between Sharath and R. Prasanna (45) for the fourth wicket. Sharath’s knock was a minor masterpiece in the art of pacing the innings. After ambling to crease at the loss of India Cements’s second wicket, he took his time settling.

Absorbing contest

Once acquainted with the conditions, Sharath exploited the spread field. His duel with the wily D. Vasu made for interesting viewing — two vastly experienced men trying to out-think the other. Sharath profited by hanging back and pulling Vasu’s flatter deliveries.

The left-arm spinner eventually had his adversary caught in the covers.

Sharath provided the meat of India Cements’s innings, but it was K.B. Arun Karthick (32) who added the sizzle. Until he was run out attempting a single that was too ambitious even for a man of his substantial athletic gifts, the slim opener played some of Sunday’s finest strokes — a back-cut, the pick.

India Cements seamer P. Amarnath accounted for two of Chemplast’s most dangerous stroke-players to put his side ahead. He surprised S. Vidyut with a bouncer, and followed it by throwing the stumps down after the startled batsman had left his crease. Amarnath then bowled R. Ramkumar.

Suresh’s dismissal of M. Vijay all but settled the contest. Although N. Ajay Kudua resisted with an attractive half-century, Chemplast could muster no more than 141 before being bowled out. India Cements fielded magnificently under lights, best exemplified by M.K. Sivakumar’s direct hit from long-off. Sharath was adjudged the Man of the Match.

The score: India Cements ‘A’ 217 for five in 30 overs (S. Sharath 70, R. Prasanna 45) bt Chemplast Sanmar 141 in 26 overs (N. Ajay Kudua 56).

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