Canara Bank regains crown

Canara Bank, the champion in The Hindu Trophy tournament. — Pic. G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR-

THE HINDU Trophy inter-institution cricket tournament is being conducted by the Karnataka State Cricket Association for quite some time now. One of the early tournaments of the season, the participation is by invitation and the divisions in which the institutions are placed are not taken into account. This means that teams that are in the fifth division may compete against teams in the first division of the Karnataka State Cricket Association league.

Players hoping to catch the eye of the State selectors use The Hindu Trophy tournament to showcase their talent. Anand Katti, the left arm spinner who has to compete with Sunil Joshi for his spot in the State team, has always been an excellent performer in this tournament. Canara Bank's C. Raghu, an all-rounder with immense potential, had great success in this tournament as did Canara Bank's skipper G. K. Anil Kumar. Anil, who has turned out for the State, is very keen to regain his place and he came up with some sparkling performances during the tournament.

The tournament had 32 teams and was played on a knock-out basis. The format of 30 overs a side made for some exciting matches. There were three hundreds in the tournament, through G. Balaji of Canara Bank, P. Charan of Army Supply Corps and Pramod of Karnataka Government Secretariat Club. Charan had the distinction of getting the highest individual score of the tournament, making 155 against National Aeronautical Laboratories. Only one bowler had a five-wicket haul and that was ASC's Sudhakar, who recorded the feat against Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited.

Canara Bank has always made a bold showing in The Hindu Trophy. Finishing runner-up last year to State Bank of Mysore prior to which the team had successive title victories, Canara Bank was more than keen to regain the title. With superb performances from G. Balaji, G. K. Anil Kumar and C. Raghu in the batting department and incisive bowling from Venkatesh Prasad, G. Chaitra and C. Raghu, Canara Bank posted facile victories in all its matches including the final.

The final against Vijaya Bank was expected to be a thrilling contest. However, Canara Bank made it a one-sided affair with its top players once again coming up with sterling performances. Put in to bat in the final by Vijaya Bank, Canara Bank lost opener G. Balaji early. But C. Raghu and G. K. Anil Kumar once again rose to the occasion. Raghu scored an unbeaten 89 while skipper Anil Kumar made a neat 37.

Venkatesh Prasad struck in his first over and Vijaya Bank never recovered from the early blow. Shyam Ponappa (48) was the only batsman to make a significant contribution and Venkatesh Prasad bowling off a short run-up bagged three wickets as Canara Bank clinched a 50-run win.

The prize distribution ceremony did not do justice to the tournament. Even the two finalists did not have full representation and some of the players named for special prizes were not present to receive the awards.

N. Rajshekar, Regional Manager, The Hindu, gave away the following awards: Man of the Final: C. Raghu (Canara Bank). Best Batsman: G. K. Anil Kumar (Canara Bank). Best Bowler: Anand Katti. Best All-Rounder: C. Raghu (Canara Bank).

The scores (final): Canara Bank 187 for four in 30 overs (G.K. Anil Kumar 37, C. Raghu 89 not out) bt Vijaya Bank 137 for nine in 30 overs (Shyam Ponappa 48. Venkatesh Prasad three for 17). — D. Ravi Shankar