Metro CC bags title

The victorious Metro CC team. — Pic. C. V. SUBRAHMANYAM-

THE HINDU TROPHY prize money annual cricket tournament has completed 10 years of its existence and Metro CC has won the title five times during this period.

In a repeat of last year's final, Metro CC defeated holder Visakhapatnam Port Sports Council by a convincing margin of 166 runs at the Port Stadium. It received the prize money of Rs. 10,000, while VPSC got Rs. 5,000 for being the runner-up.

The final saw Y. Gnaneswara Rao and his elder brother, Venugopala Rao, in full flow, which turned the match into a one-sided affair, with Metro CC amassing 321 for seven in the allotted 50 overs.

The brothers showed their prowess in ample measure. Gnaneswara Rao, who captained the India under-19 team a few months ago, slammed 134 runs off 127 balls with a six and 15 fours and added 178 runs for the second wicket with B. Sriharsha, another talented youngster (58, 1x6, 5x4). Then followed a feast of runs as Venugopal Rao came up with a blistering knock of 83 runs off just 46 balls in 44 minutes with three 6s and 10 fours.

VPSC's run-chase was effectively curtailed by the Metro bowlers. Brahmaji and Achyuta Rao picked up two wickets each while Sriharsha, Venu, Gnaneswara and Chandrasekhar had one each. Gnaneswara Rao was the unanimous choice for the prestigious The Sportstar `player of the tournament' award and a cash prize of Rs. 500. The chief guest of the valedictory function, B. Prasada Rao, Commissioner of Police, presented another Rs. 500 to Gnaneswara Rao as his individual contribution in appreciation of the player's good show.

Gnaneswara Rao was also adjudged the `best batsman', Shyamsundar of VPSC, the `best bowler' while Venugopala Rao was the `best all-rounder.'

The Hindu Trophy tournament, with an attractive silver, rolling trophy at stake, is the first prize money tournament in the city and is being held continuously since its inception in 1994. One edition of the tournament was conducted as the Andhra Cricket Association's under-16 inter-district tournament. The Visakhapatnam District Cricket Association, which is conducting the tournament on behalf of the publishers of The Hindu, should be appreciated for the uninterrupted run.

The tournament has also seen teams from other districts participating in it. Many Ranji Trophy players from Andhra and Orissa have played in the tournament. This year too players from Andhra Ranji team, like the Indian team discard, M. S. K. Prasad, I. Srinivas, and players from the Orissa Ranji team played for Gajuwaka Greens. However, the team failed to cross the semifinal hurdle, losing to VPSC. VPSC has in its ranks the Ranji off-spinner H. Watekar and N. Shyamsundar who has been dropped from the Ranji team but has all the talent to stage a comeback, and veteran P. Jaikumar.

The scores:

Final: Metro CC 321 for seven in 50 overs (Y. Gnaneswara Rao 134, Y. Venugopala Rao 88, B. Sriharsha 58, H. Watekar three for 64) bt Visakhapatnam Port Sports Council 155 in 42.1 overs (B. S. Raghuram 31 not out, N. Shyamsundar 31, K. N. V. Krishna Mohan 30).

Semifinals: Metro CC 210 in 50 overs (K. Naga Gangadhar 55, N. Suwacha Raj 34, Venugopala Rao 27) bt SE Railway Sports Association 173 in 47.2 overs (K. Kumaraswami 52, D. Narendra Kumar 50, K. Sankara Rao four for 25, Y. Venugopala Rao three for 36).

Gajuwaka Greens 163 for nine in 50 overs (T. V. S. Ramesh 61, N. Shyamsundar four for 27) lost to VPSC 165 for five in 46.3 overs (H. Watekar 40 not out, R. Narayana Rao 35).

— G. Narasimha Rao