India in finals after Ajay Reddy’s ton

[gallery link="file" order="DESC" orderby="rand"] Bangalore, December 12: Vice-captain Ajay Kumar Reddy’s brilliant century (134 off 55 balls) against Sri Lanka helped India to storm into the finals of the T20 World Cup for the Blind. In the second semi-final at the Central College grounds, Bangalore, India thumped Sri Lanka by123 runs.

Batting first after captain Shekar Naik won the toss, the Indian openers made a fiery start chalking up 78 runs in the first 3 overs. The in-form Prakash Jayaramaiah  with his lazy elegance routinely found the ropes with his crisp drives, but failed to capitalize on a dropped catch and fell lbw in an attempt to go for an outlandish drive.

After the fall of their star batsman Prakash Jayaramaiah, the Indians did not allow the run rate to slow down. The Lankans also had their fair share of blame for their sloppy fielding and dropped catches in the outfield.

The Indian batsmen latched on to this lapse on the field and repeatedly challenged the Lankans converting ones into twos. Perhaps this is something the regular Indian team should take a leaf from.

Ajay Kumar Reddy in a hurry to reach his second century in the world cup when he was on 98 went for a lofted shot on the onside and was lucky to be dropped. Ajay’s ton came off just 40 deliveries.

At the end of 10 overs, India were comfortably placed at 184 for 1, and set to reach their highest total in the tournament. But after the drinks interval, the Lankans regrouped and India’s run rate dropped to over 10 runs per over between the 10th and 15th over, after scoring at nearly 19 runs per over in the first 10 overs.

In an attempt to accelerate the run rate, Ketan Patel got out for a loose ball for a well made 54. Ajay K Reddy too got himself run out going for a non-existent run, but not before making a terrific 134.

The Lankans seemed to have made amends for their sloppy fielding by effecting two crucial run outs to stem the scoring rate, especially Kumara who sent in a razor sharp throw from the outfield.

Despite a little hiccup, India ended at a formidable 318 for 8. .

In reply, the Sri Lankans were nowhere up to the chase, regularly losing wickets and far behind the required run rate. At the half way stage, their top 4 batsmen were back in the pavilion with the score at 93. With 227 needed off the last 10 overs and the asking rate climbing at over 22 runs per over, the contest seemed virtually over and eventually, they folded up at195 for 6. ¨Deshapriya waged a lonely battle for the Lankans scoring an unbeaten 111 off 63 balls. For India Ajay K Reddy shone with the ball too taking 2 for 23.

For those who are a little condescending about Blind cricket, here’s a reality check. Emotions ran high in a surcharged atmosphere in anticipation of a India-Pak finals on Thursday. While the Pakistan contingent, fresh from their emphatic win against England in the other semis, rent the ground with cries of Pakistan Zindabad, the Indian supporters responded with full-throated cries of Jeetega Bhai Jeetega, World Cup Jeetega.

Legendary former Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga who flew in to watch his team face off against the Indians said, the Blind cricket was a treat to watch the high commitment levels of the players, which was even more than that shown by many regular cricket players. Later he played an over against the blind cricketers and was “bowled” over literally and figuratively!

After the match, Indian captain Shekar Naik said this resounding win had boosted the morale of the team and they were oozing in confidence and fully ready for Pakistan.

With both India and Pakistan in superb nick enroute to the finals, the stage is set for a gripping no-holds barred finale. Prominent celebrities such as legendary cricketers Arjuna Ranatunga, Syed Kirmani,, BS Chandrashekar, Sandalwood stars Ragini Dwivedi, Yogi, and Oscar Fernandes, MP, AICC General Secretary and Chief Patron, CABI, will be present to flag off the finals. Don’t miss it for anything tomorrow.

Brief Scores: India: 318 for 8 in 20 overs (Prakash Jayaramaiah (B3 27 (8), Ajay K Reddy (B2) 134 (55), Ketan Patel (B1) 54 (31), Ganesh Bushara (B2) 59 not out (25) beat Sri Lanka: 195 for 6 in 20 overs (Deshapriya (B3) 111 not out (63), Ravindra (B1) 20 (20), Ajay Kumar Reddy (4-1-23-2). India won by 123 runs. Man of the Match: Ajay K Reddy.

Akram’s hundred takes Pak to finals: Mohamad Akram hammered a century to help Pakistan storm into the finals comfortably beating England by 9 wickets in the first semi final of the T20 World Cup at the Central College grounds, Bangalore. Continuing his regal form throughout the tournament, Mohammad Akram scored a sizzling century remaining unbeaten on103 off only 42 balls.

Put to bat on a sunny dry pitch, England messed up its campaign and lost all but one of its wickets for 181in the allotted 20 overs. Pakistan’s fielders rose to the occasion effecting 7 run outs and one stumping in the England innings. Considering the kind of brutal form the Pakistani batsmen are in, the target appeared totally inadequate. Mohammad Akram began in savage fashion, hitting the bowlers all over the park and virtually making it a non-contest.

For England, Matt Dean was the lone batsman to score a half century (61 off 47 balls).

Brief Scores: Pakistan: 184 for 1 in 12.2 overs (Mohammad Akram (B3) 103 not out (42), Aamir Ishfaq (B1) 36 not out (22), Aleem Murtaza (B2) 29 (9)) beat England: 181 for 9 in 20 overs (Matt Dean (B2) 61 (47), Dan Field (B3) 21 not out (15). Pakistan won by 9 wickets. Man of the Match: Mohammad Akram.

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