Billiards Nationals: Parikh stuns Advani

Siddharth Parikh of Railways eliminated defending champion and 15-time world champion Pankaj Advani in the Senior National Billiards Championship in Indore.

Siddharth Parikh in action against Pankaj Advani in the Senior National Billiards Championship in Indore.   -  Sandeep Saxena

In making his maiden final, Siddharth Parikh lived a dream – of taming Pankaj Advani.

It was a bizarre experience for Advani. Not for Parikh. The sparse audience in the hall at the Emerald Heights International School watched in stunned silence the elimination of one of India’s finest cueists in the quarterfinals of the National Billiards Championship here on Friday.

Parikh won 4-2 and later knocked out B. Bharath 4-0 to make the final. In the title clash, he meets Sourav Kothari, who beat Dhwaj Hariya 4-1.

Advani fumbled and slipped into a zone of no return against an opponent who seemed to have reserved his best for this day. With 15 world titles in cue sport, Advani, an icon of the green baize, ran out of ideas as Parikh used the cue to create a magical performance.

"All credit to Siddharth. He has improved a lot and is playing at his best,” said Advani. “My best day in billiards. Table top play is my forte and I just played my game. I enjoyed my wins today," said an elated Parikh.

That Advani failed to defend his title was the talk of the day and Parikh deserved the plaudits. He rarely made a mistake when it mattered. Known to play brilliantly in patches, Parikh gathered his composure and prowess and put it to devastating use in a format that Advani was not comfortable with.

The 150-up format laid Advani low. It was Parikh’s day and he grabbed the opportunity. Advani chose to play safe. The signs were ominous when he missed a sitter-cannon in the fourth frame. Quick to assess the situation, Parikh gave Advani little chance in the last two frames, wrapping up the contest with some excellent top-of-the-table play and floating white.

Devendra Joshi (PSPB) losing to Hariya had created a stir. But then Hariya was in roaring form having stunned the fancied Ahmedabad cueist Dhruv Sitawala in the prequarterfinals.

Results

Semi-finals : Siddharth Parikh (Rly) bt B. Bhaskar (Kar) 4-0 (150-91, 150-81, 150-81, 150-141); Sourav Kothari (Ben) bt Dhwaj Hariya (Guj) 4-1 (151-84, 63-151, 153-14, 151-75, 151-27).

Quarter-finals: Hariya bt Devendra Joshi (PSPB) 4-2 (150-109, 34-150, 71-151, 150-57, 151-40, 151-135; Parikh bt Pankaj Advani (ONGC) 4-2 (150-4, 52-151, 0-150, 151-61, 150-94, 150-0; Bhaskar bt Jaiveer Dhingra (Mah) 4-0 (150-112, 150-95, 152-79, 150-35; Kothari bt Sankar Rao (AP) 4-0 (15-30, 150-18, 151-136, 150-80).