27 Feb Indian Blind Cricket Team does it again
BENGALURU: A spirited fielding performance and Prakash Jayaramaiah’s unbeaten 99 (60 balls, 15 4s) helped India Blind Cricket Team beat Pakistan by nine wickets in the final of the T20 World Cup for Blind at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore and retain the title.
At the tournament’s inaugural ceremony in Delhi in last week of January, Ajay Reddy, the captain, and Patrick Rajkumar, the coach, had said that India’s aim would be to win the trophy, and the team walked the talk with an empathic show in Bangalore.
Opting to bat first, Pakistan made 197 for 8, with Badar Munnir blasting 57 off 37 balls. He was well supported by Muhammad Jamil, who made 24. India rallied around Prakash and Ajay (43) to chase down the target with 2.2 overs to spare.
Pakistan started their innings on a strong note, but soon after the drinks break India struck with the crucial wicket of Munnir. That gave India the opening, and they never let go of the chance. They went on the offensive to take wickets at regular intervals as Pakistan lost momentum. Ketan Patel and Md. Jaffar Iqbal were India’s most successful bowlers with two wickets each. Prakash, the vice-captain, was superb behind the wickets, creating pressure on the Pakistan batsmen.
Pakistan put up a respectable total, but India had a definite strategy in place. Ajay and Prakash, India’s two best batsmen, started in a blistering fashion, putting on an opening stand of 110 runs in just 61 balls.
Ajay was run out, but Ketan showed good form to race to 26 before retiring hurt when an incoming ball ripped through his jaw line. That did not deter Prakash, who went hammer and tongs. Fittingly, he hit the winning boundary to start the celebrations at the ground amidst loud music.
Prakash was the man of the match and the tournament’s best wicketkeeper award, while Pakistan’s Riasat Khan was player of the series in B1 category for his overall aggregate of 452 runs and 4 wickets. One more Pakistan Player Badar Munnir with 417 runs and 8 wickets was the Man of the series in B2 category, while Srilankan star player Suranga sampath with 733 and 4 wickets was the man of the series in B3 category.
“The coaching camps where the team worked on many things allowed everyone to gell well,” said Captain Ajay Reddy after receiving the trophy. “Of course Prakash did it again and we are all proud of him. Brilliant bowling and fielding in the finals and a cameo by Ketan Patel made sure we became victorious.”
Having won the World Cup earlier, India continue to be the champions in both the formats in blind cricket.
Presentation ceremony included Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, Hon. Governor of Karnataka, G Padmavati, Bengaluru Mayor, Mahantesh GK, President, World Blind Cricket Council & president CABI and E John David, Finance Director along with the officials of IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India, Tata Steel, BlueVoda and many others sponsors and supporters.
Mahantesh GK, President, World Blind Cricket Council said that “this has been a historical with matches being held in 12 cities for the first time. Many State Governments and corporates supported us in our journey and Chinnaswamy management went out of their way worked as a team with us. With more than a million people having watched high scoring games, records being broken the overall awareness has been increased. We also again request the Government to look into our demand for recognition at par with other sports federations and financial grant to give stability. Also I am sure respective state governments will also announce prizes for the great Indian Players who have done Indian team proud. I would like to make a special of the contribution of the media and sponsors who have increased the awareness about this sport.”
He added that the players have expressed their desire to meet our Hon. President and Hon. Prime Minister and we are going to seek their appointment. Their blessings would inspire us all.
The tournament kicked off on January 29 before travelling to various cities and culminating at M Chinnaswamy Stadium for a perfect final. More than 20,000 people cheered every ball in the final, the Indian Blind Cricket team famously called as “the other men in blue” avenged their defeat against Pakistan in the league stage.
Pakistan: 197/8 in 20 overs (Muhammad Jamil 24(15), Badar Munir 57(37), Amir Ishfaq 20 (17), Nisar Ali 9 (7), Muhammad Akram 2 (3), Riasat Khan 16 (13), Muhammad Zafar 16 (8), Mati Ullah 15 n.o., Israr Hassan 5 (6), Muhammad Ijaz 5 n.o., Ajay Kumar Reddy 1-39, Sunil R 1-19, Ketan Patel 2-29, Md. Jafar Iqbal 2-33) lost to India: 200/1 in 17.4 overs (Prakasha Jayaramaiah 99 n.o., Ajay Kumar Reddy 43 (31), Ketan Patel 26 retired hurt, Dunna Venkatesh 11 n.o.)