Prakasha Jayaramaiah, with an unbeaten 99 (60b), led India to an emphatic nine-wicket win over Pakistan and helped it retain the T20 World Cup for Blind title at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday.
Set 198 to win, India romped home with 14 balls to spare, with Prakasha, the local lad, quite aptly finishing things off with the winning boundary. Even as he fell agonisingly short of a deserved century, the innings was worth its weight in gold.
Pakistan, after electing to bat, would have hoped to score more than the 198 runs it did, for, in most of its matches until the final, it had scored in excess of 300. In fact till Badar Munir (57, 37b, 8x4, 1x6) was at the crease, it looked set to post an imposing total.
But when Munir became the second man to go, with Pakistan on 118, it triggered a collapse from which it never recovered. Ketan Patel bowled an excellent four-over spell conceding just 29 runs and claiming two wickets including that of Munir. The Indian fielding too was outstanding.
In reply, the duo of Prakasha and skipper Ajay Kumar Reddy (43) put on 110 for the opening wicket in 10.1 overs before the latter departed. If Pakistan had hoped that Reddy’s run out would put the brakes on, it was not to be, as Patel, played the ideal foil rotating the strike impressively and giving Prakasha the bulk of the scoring opportunities.
There was a nervous moment when Patel was struck on his jaw and had to retire hurt. But there were no hiccups, as Prakasha, in the company of D. Venkatesh, completed the job in fine fashion.
“In the 2012 T20 World Cup, 2014 ODI World Cup and Asia cup, India lost to Pakistan in the league stage. But we won the final against them on all three occasions,” said Prakash. “This final was not a big challenge for us because 198 was not a huge target.”
“Had we won the toss, we would have chosen to bowl first. But luckily Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat and that turned out to be crucial.”
The scores: Pakistan 197 for eight in 20 overs (Muhammad Jamil 24, Badar Munir 57) lost to India 200 for one in 17.4 overs (Prakasha Jayaramaiah 99 n.o., Ketan Patel 26).
Man-of-the-match: Prakasha Jayaramaiah; Best-wicketkeeper: Prakasha Jayaramaiah.
Player of the series: B1 category: Riasat Khan (Pak); B2: Badar Munir (Pak); B3: Suranga Sampath (SL).