IOB `A' is champion

CHENNAI, APRIL 24. Indian Overseas Bank `A' lived up to its image of being a dangerous side in the shorter version of the game. It might be a team without stars, but it is an outfit with tremendous spirit and fierce self-belief.

High on confidence after putting it across strong contender Chemplast in the semifinals on Friday, the Amit Pathak-led squad put up another disciplined effort to defeat India Pistons by 23 runs in the day/night final of the The Hindu Trophy 30-overs-a-side competition at the Chidambaram Stadium here on Saturday. It last won the coveted prize in 1994.

The man of the moment was left-handed all-rounder Sreekumar Nair. The India `A' cricketer made a battling 43 (38b, 5x4), coming in at No. 3, which saw the Bank side — put in to bat — make 191 for nine in the allotted overs.

Later in the evening, just as Pistons' all-rounder S. Mahesh (46, 33b, 2x6, 3x4) was threatening to take the contest away with his 46-run seventh-wicket stand in five overs with V. Devendran — it saw the side come within striking distance, needing 30 runs at run a ball — Nair dismissed the dangerman with the first ball of his third spell, caught by Pathak at mid-off.

Nair was declared The Sportstar Man of the Match, which carries a cash award of Rs. 10,000. Other prizes given were the C.B. Selvakumar award (Rs. 1,500) for the highest run-getter in the final and the Rajaram memorial award (Rs. 400) for the most consistent performer from the quarterfinal stage onwards. Both went to IOB skipper Amit Pathak.

The Joint Managing Director of The Hindu, N. Murali, gave away the prizes.

The scores:

IOB `A' 191 for nine in 30 overs (V. Ngini Kumar 27, Amit Pathak 49, Sreekumar Nair 43, A.S.K. Verma 37) bt India Pistons 168 in 27.2 overs (R. Satish 42, S. Mahesh 46).

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