National TT: Petroleum passes Haryana test; West Bengal ladies win after 19 years

A sense of relief was writ large on the faces of Petroleum players after National champion A. Amalraj put the finishing touches to a successful campaign against Haryana.

Petroleum men's team poses with the trophy.   -  Special Arrangement

A sense of relief was writ large on the faces of Petroleum players after National champion A. Amalraj put the finishing touches to a successful campaign against Haryana.

What should have been a moment to rejoice, the champion team was thanking its stars for having overpowered a fighting host 3-2 and defending the title in the National table tennis championship here.

The added pressure on G. Sathiyan, Amalraj and Harmeet Desai was also because Petroleum's fancied ladies team was stunned in the semifinals by Maharashtra ‘A’.

For Haryana, Soumyajit Ghosh twice levelled the match by beating Amalraj and Sathiyan. But, in the deciding match, Amalraj bounced back from 8-10 in the fourth game against Sourav Saha to seal the title.

“In the previous finals, we never felt any pressure. But with Sharath Kamal not included in our team and Ghosh playing for Haryana, it was a tough call. Lucky to survive,” were the words of a relieved player from the Petroleum camp.

In the ladies final, Maharasthra ‘A’ failed to reproduce the magic that left Petroleum in a trance in the clash for a place in the final. Last year’s runner-up Bengal went on to drub Maharashtra ‘A’ 3-0 and regained the title won in January 1998 in Jammu.

Krittwika Sinha Roy’s five-set victory over Pooja Sahasrabudhe virtually ended Maharashtra’s chances since the team had expected their key player to pull of two singles like she did against Petroleum in the morning.

Sutritha Mukherjee and veteran Anindita Chakraborty, 39, gave little away against Charvi Kawle and Shruti Amrute to complete West Bengal’s resounding victory.

In the semifinals, Pooja upstaged Madhurika Patkar and Mouma Das to script an unexpected exit of Petroleum. Mouma did bounce back from 3-9 in the deciding set to make it 8-9 but Pooja held her nerves and closed out the match for the loss of one more point.

Petroleum paid heavily for Manika Batra’s inability to play the semifinal owing to a sprained knee. With an inspired Pooja in full flow, Petroleum found itself short of resources to escape the biggest upset of the team championship.

The results (team championship):

Men: Final: Petroleum beat Haryana 3-2 (G. Sathiyan bt Sourav Saha 11-9, 10-12, 11-6, 11-9; A. Amalraj lost to Soumyajit Ghosh 9-11, 5-11, 4-11; Harmeet Desai bt Jubin Kumar 12-10, 11-9, 9-11, 11-5; Sathiyan lost to Ghosh 8-11, 8-11, 11-8, 11-13; Amalraj bt Saha 7-11, 11-8, 12-10, 13-11).

Semifinals: Petroleum beat Gujarat 3-0 (A. Amalraj bt Ishaan Hingorani 11-6, 11-6, 11-6; G. Sathiyan bt Harsh Sachanandani 11-8, 11-8, 11-8; Sanil Shetty bt Kaushal Bhatt 11-3, 11-5, 12-10).

Haryana beat West Bengal 3-0 (Jubin Kumar bt Arjun Ghosh 12-14, 11-6, 11-3, 12-10; Soumyajit Ghosh bt Anirban Nandi 11-8 11-9, 11-5; Sourav Saha bt Sougata Saha 5-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7).

Women: Final: West Bengal beat Maharashtra ‘A’ 3-0 (Krittwika Sinha Roy bt Pooja Sahasrabudhe 11-5, 11-9, 4-11, 11-13, 11-7; Sutirtha Mukherjee bt Charvi Kawle 11-4, 12-10, 11-6; Anindita Chakraborty bt Shruti Amrute 11-6, 11-9, 11-5).

Semifinals: Maharashtra ‘A’ beat Petroleum 3-2 (Pooja bt Madhurika Patkar 11-9, 12-10, 11-6; Charvi lost to Mouma Das 6-11, 3-11, 8-11; Shruti bt Mousumi Paul 11-7, 11-5, 11-5; Pooja bt Mouma 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9).

West Bengal beat Airports Authority of India 3-0 (Krittwika bt Archana Kamath 11-9, 11-8, 11-9; Surtitha bt Ayhika Mukherjee 11-4, 12-10, 11-5; Anindita bt Frenaz Chipia 5-11, 12-10, 16-14, 11-9).

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