M.P. takes trophy on first innings lead

MADHYA PRADESH reserved its best for the last and emerged champion in the inaugural BCCI National Under-25 inter-zonal tournament held in Bangalore from April 12 to 22.

K. C. VIJAYA KUMAR

MADHYA PRADESH reserved its best for the last and emerged champion in the inaugural BCCI National Under-25 inter-zonal tournament held in Bangalore from April 12 to 22. In the drawn three-day final, Madhya Pradesh won the trophy on its first innings lead of 258 over Tamil Nadu.

The Madhya Pradesh team which won the inaugural BCCI National under-25 inter-zonal tournament . — Pic. K. BHAGYA PRAKASH-

"We will go all out to win the trophy,'' said Madhya Pradesh skipper and key leg-spinner Yogesh Golwalkar on the eve of the final. The words sounded as a mute challenge since the teams had taken contrasting routes to the summit clash. In the semi-finals, Tamil Nadu had swept past Bihar with an innings and 249-run victory while Madhya Pradesh sneaked past Punjab with a 276-run first innings lead.

However Yogesh did have the last laugh and held a slice of history in his hands as he received the inaugural trophy at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 22.

Sachin Dholpure made a swashbuckling 170 in the title clash. — Pic. K. BHAGYA PRAKASH-

Madhya Pradesh's steady march towards the victors' podium was aided by its openers' — Mudassir Pasha and Sachin Dholpure — tenacity on the opening day of the final. Yogesh won the toss and elected to bat and found vindication in the broad blades of southpaw Mudassir Pasha (101) and Sachin Dholpure (170).

The openers shared a 233-run partnership that left Tamil Nadu skipper R. Satish dismayed. The opening duo had the luck to tide past the first session against seamers Thamizh Kumaran and C. Ganapathy.

Southpaw Mudassir (101, 209b, 15 x 4) notched his second century of the tournament with a workmanlike approach while Sachin Dholpure (170, 320b, 25 x 4) galloped past milestones while pockmarking the cover fence. Mudassir, often displayed a deft touch while guiding the ball in the arc between point and mid-off. He however succumbed after his century and with the Tamil Nadu bowlers, notably Vidyuth Sivaramakrishnan (six for 124) and Thamizh Kumaran, striking back on the second day, Madhya Pradesh had to rest content with a score of 436 after promising more.

Tamil Nadu's Thamizh Kumaran bowled with zest, extracting bounce and movement from a placid track and his delivery that swerved past Sachin's bat and clipped the off-stump bail, was a peach. His efforts throttled the batsmen who chanced their arms and perished against Vidyuth.

The match's result was a foregone conclusion after the Tamil Nadu trio of Jesu Babu Honeyman, Vidyuth Sivaramakrishnan and captain R. Satish launched into shots when a brick-and-mortar innings was needed to pip Madhya Pradesh. A score reading 32 for three while chasing 436, can be a millstone around the neck and Tamil Nadu choked despite Noorul Riaz's 52.

The Tamil Nadu innings caved in at 178, well short of the 287-mark to avoid the follow-on as seamer Ashok Sharma bagged five wickets for 47. Yogesh Golwalkar enforced the follow-on but an outright victory proved elusive as the Tamil Nadu batsmen gave a belated display in the second innings after all was lost in the first.

Earlier, Madhya Pradesh had the decisive runs in a contest for first innings honours against Punjab in the semi-final. Yogesh Golwalkar's leg-breaks and off-spinner Amal Kokje's spells pegged back Punjab and the Madhya Pradesh juggernaut rolled past with Mudassir Pasha (167) anchoring his side to the final.

Madhya Pradesh also had the measure of Mumbai in a quarter-final that hinged on the first-innings lead. Rahul Bakshi's 109 proved to be the cornerstone that helped Madhya Pradesh post 364 and with Mumbai's reply pausing at 317, the eventual champions had taken their first stride towards glory.

Tamil Nadu, having secured a bye to the semi-finals, lived up to its stature as Bihar hardly provided a testing phase in the semi-final at the Wheel and Axle Plant Ground. Bihar's 244 remained a distant speck as the Tamil Nadu batting machine crunched ahead with Vidyuth Sivaramakrishnan (130), R. Satish (216) and Noorul Riaz (200 not out.) guiding their side to 681 for three declared in 137 overs. The Bihar second innings slumped and Tamil Nadu were victors by an innings and 249 runs.

The inaugural edition of the Under-25 tournament did play to a hackneyed script of `flat-tracks-and-first-innings-leads' that leaves India's domestic cricket heaving at its joints. Yet, the tournament had its silver lining as unheralded Madhya Pradesh sported the winner's smile — a sure index of the game's progress in the hinterland away from its traditional urban base.

The scores:

Final: Madhya Pradesh 436 in 146.2 overs (Sachin Dholpure 170, Mudassir Pasha 101, Yogesh Golwalkar 28 not out, Vidyuth Sivaramakrishnan six for 124) drew with Tamil Nadu 178 in 60.1 overs (Noorul Riaz 52, Vikram Mani 33 not out, Ashok Sharma five for 47) and 214 for three in 57 overs (Jesu Babu Honeymen 55, R. Satish 53 not out, Noorul Riaz 36 not out, Vikram Mani 30, R. Prasanna 29). Madhya Pradesh won on first innings lead.

Skipper R. Satish (216) helped Tamil Nadu post a big score of 681 for three against Bihar in the semifinals. — Pic. K. BHAGYA PRAKASH-

Semi-finals: Punjab 201 in 62 overs (Gaurav Gupta 61 not out, Ishan Malhotra 33, Yogesh Golwalkar five for 66, Amal Kokje three for 56) and 87 for one in 31 overs (Ankur Sondhi 55 not out) drew with Madhya Pradesh 477 in 169 overs (Mudassir Pasha 167, Rahul Bakshi 88, Mohnish Mishra 50, Nitin Menon 47, Maninder Singh 36 not out, Sachin Dholpure 28, Vipul Sharma seven for 137). Madhya Pradesh won on first innings lead.

Bihar 244 in 60.4 overs (M. S. Dhoni 66, Sumit Panda 57, Mihar Diwakar 37, Mohit Goel 27, Vidyuth Sivaramakrishnan four for 62, T. Kumaran three for 53) and 188 in 45 overs (Mihar Diwakar 50, Kamal Kumar 32, Vidyuth Sivaramakrishnan four for 54) lost to Tamil Nadu 681 for three declared in 137 overs (R. Satish 216, Noorul Riaz 200 not out, Vidyuth Sivaramakrishnan 130, J. Harish 59 not out, Jesu Babu Honeymen 48).