Kamesh Srinivasan

LUDHIANA: Punjab slowed down for the more serious competition ahead as it ambled past Delhi 58-53 in its last Group ‘B’ league match of the Pearls 60th National basketball championship here on Wednesday.

After asserting its class in the previous three matches, Punjab opted to test its bench strength to some extent. Talwinderjit Singh Sahi did his part well, top-scoring with 25 points, to provide the momentum for his team, and the rest put together a decent performance to keep Delhi at a teasing arm’s length.

Delhi in trouble

Sunil Kumar continued to play the key role for Delhi and top-scored with 24 points. While Punjab topped the group, Delhi stared at relegation as it was left with one difficult match against Tamil Nadu, after having lost all its matches so far. Tamil Nadu revived itself nicely and warned the rest of the field that it was just about warming up. After having lost its first two matches, it took out its frustration on Karnataka, by recording a 100-36 victory in Group ‘B’.

With Uttarakhand set to be the second team from the group, Tamil Nadu may have to be content to be the third best team to make the quarterfinals from the group. It may mean a clash against Services, likely to finish second behind Railways in the other group.

Kerala makes it

Kerala and Chandigarh qualified from the lower league and made it to the pre-quarterfinals, to be played against the fourth best teams from the top two groups.

In the women’s section, Railways and Delhi topped their groups.

Chhattisgarh pipped Karnataka to be the second team in Group ‘A’. The Tamil Nadu girls played with a lot of spirit to outgun Maharashtra 71-67, after leading 41-36 at halftime.

The win helped Tamil Nadu finish second in the group.

In the quarterfinals, Tamil Nadu will take on Karnataka, and figure in the same half as Railways, while Maharashtra will meet Chhattisgarh.

Kerala and Punjab qualified from the lower league for the quarterfinals in the women’s section.

The results:

Men: Group ‘A’: Railways 74 (Vishesh Briguvanshi 26, Arjun Singh 14, Yadwinder Singh 12) bt Andhra Pradesh 59 (Gopal Ram 16, Abdul Jaleel 13).

Services 75 (Dalip Kumar 26, Sambhaji Kadam 15, Praveen 11) bt Chhattisgarh 54 (Kiranpal Singh 17, Shravan Kumar Bishnoi 14).

Group ‘B’: Tamil Nadu 100 (C. V. Dinesh 22, M. Puvaneshwaran 18, K. Sathish Kumar 12, Veneeth R. Mathew 12) bt Karnataka 36 (Kaushal Ravikumar 14).

Punjab 58 (Talwinderjit Singh Sahi 25, Harminder Singh 18) bt Delhi 53 (Sunil Kumar 24).

Women: Group ‘A’: Railways 108 (P. Anitha 18, Renu Maurya 16, Kiranjit Kaur 12, Anju Lakra 10) bt Uttar Pradesh 55 (Anita Kanojia 17, Ranjana Singh 11).

Chhattisgarh 74 (Kavita 23, Aakansha 20, L. Deepa 18) bt Karnataka 67 (L. S. Savitha 24, Kruthika Lakshman 17).

Group ‘B’: Delhi 126 (Shiba Maggon 23, Pratima Singh 22, Prashanti Singh 21, Akanksha Singh 18, Sonika Ohlyan 15, Asha Hegde 15) bt Andhra Pradesh 44 (K. Jhansi 11).

Tamil Nadu 71 (Sunitha Suren 28, S. Kokila 21, S. Mahalakshmi 12) bt Maharashtra 67 (Kajal Amit Ambedkar 20, Tanvi Raiv Pendharkar 14, Tanvi Rajendra Shewale 10).

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