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Thursday, March 19, 2015

India beats Bangla enters Semis ~ Irani Cup irony ..TN ignored !

It is Dhoni Magic all the way – his 100th  ODI victory came on a grand occasion – a comprehensive thumping of Bangladesh in the QF at  Melbourne Cricket Ground, as now India awaits winner of Pak-Aussie clash tomorrow.  Dhoni’s way is unpredictable – the first 25 overs saw 99 runs while the next 25 saw India score 203 runs.  Rohit Sharma, who had been in patchy form on the tour, lifted India to a formidable total with a well made century.  Dhoni is the 3rd most successful Captain behind   Ricky Ponting (167) and Allan Border (107).
Photo credit :

Rohit and his partnership of 122  with Suresh Raina 65 off 57) set a target of 303. This time it was  Umesh Yadav (four for 3)  who led the attack  bowling them  out for 193. With Indian team hitting a crescendo, reaching the Semi finals in style – bowling their opponents 7th consecutive time – perhaps none will be following the Irani Cup match back home.  This tournament was conceived during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship and was named after the late Z.R. Irani, who was associated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from its inception in 1928. The Irani Trophy is always played between the Ranji Trophy winners and the Rest of India Team.  Way back in 1975, Dilip Vengsarkar in his teens slammed a majestic century for Mumbai against Prasanna and others, which earned him National recognition paving way for his debut against NZ at Auckland in 1975 as an opener. 

At Bangalore, on day 3 half-centuries from three Karnataka batsmen helped extend their lead beyond 300.   With the pitch beginning to offer considerable turn and bounce, the chase, whenever it begins, will present Rest of India quite a challenge.  Karnataka 2nd innings 341/6 (R. Samarth 81, Karun Nair 80 MK Pandey 73*) Day 1 saw Varun Aaron bowl with jest and dismissing Karnataka for 244  (M Agarwal 68, V Aaron 6/63); ROI got a slender lead only making 264 (K Jadhav 78, A Mithun 3/46, S Gopal 3/51, Vinay Kumar 3/76)

One cannot help the feeling that Tamil Nadu again got a raw deal from the National Selectors.  Rest of India team that should ideally top performers of Ranji season -  TN is the runner up – only Baba Aparajit and Vijay Shankar were in the squad and both of them were not in the playing XI – while some [that includes Captain Manoj Tiwary]  who did not make enough runs this season are in the playing XI.  What do you call this ? 

Indian Express writes that Manoj Tiwary’s last first-class innings this season came at Indore’s Holkar Stadium against a honest yet unremarkable Madhya Pradesh bowling attack. He made 14 in the second innings before falling to the medium-pace of Puneet Datey. The veteran Bengal right-hander had spent 66 minutes the first time around for a painstaking 8. At the same time, Hanuma Vihari had just completed his third ton for the season, a mammoth 263 for Hyderabad against Himachal Pradesh and  finished with 780 runs at 86.66, finished at No.8 of the run-getters, five spots ahead of Yadav, who made 690 runs at 43.12.

While Unmukt Chand (562), Jiwanjot Singh (356), K Jadhav (493), Manoj Tiwary (349) made it – Abhinav Mukund (858), Sheldon Jackson (819), Shreyas Iyer (809), Srikar Bharat (758), Baba Indrajit (713) – all were cold shouldered. The two most consistent openers through the Ranji season, who were not from Karnataka, were Tamil Nadu skipper Abhinav Mukund and Andhra’s Srikar Bharat; but the selectors have gone with Jiwanjot Singh, who made a grand debut two years ago but couldn’t go past 76 in the last four months, only averaging 23.73 in eight matches for Punjab.

In 2012  ROI piled mammoth total against Rajasthan.  Murali  Vijay batted to glory,  reaching the highest individual score (266)  in the tournament's history, beating a 22-year-old record held by Praveen Amre, to pretty much ensure the Ranji champions would be denied the Irani Cup for a seventh year in a row.  Way back in Nov. 1990, against Bengal, ROI had declared at 737/7 with Ravi Shastri the captain making 217 and Pravin Amre made 246.

The one match we would ever remember is that of Oct 1988 which brought VB Chandrasekhar into National reckoning.   ROI captained by Arunlal made 433 with good contributions from IB Roy 60; Navjot Sidhu 86, Srikant Kalyani 93; Jeshwant 62.  S Vasudevan took 5 for 116.  Krish Srikkanth leading TN made 57 and TN were all out for 226.   Gopal Sharma took 6/69.  ROI made the blunder of batting again and this time were shot out for 132 in less than 50 overs with Vasudevan taking 4 and Krish  Srikkanth taking 3 for 14.  Chasing a target of 340, Srikkanth and VB Chandrasekhar plundered at will and TN made the required runs in 79 overs brining out a remarkable victory which remains etched in memory.  Hirwani and Gopal Sharma were hit to all parts of Chepauk.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Mar 2015.

PS : Irani Cup ROI team stats courtesy : Indian Express

VB Chandrasekhar photo – courtesy his Facebook.

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