August 18, 2000

National Cricket Academy surge into quarters

The National Cricket Academy today marched into the quarterfinal of the MRF-Buchi Babu all India invitation tournament in Madras by virtue of its 143-run first innings lead over Air India. The game was called off at the end of the NCA innings by the mutual consent of both captains, Reetinder Sodhi and Pravin Amre.

Resuming at the Guru Nanak College Ground on their overnight score of 124/1, NCA lost Gautam Gambhir for 69 in the sixth over of the day. Mohd. Kaif and Shiv Sunder Das then added a further 59 before the Orissa opener was agonisingly dismissed six runs short of his hundred. His 94 had taken 197 deliveries and included twelve boundaries.

Yuvraj Singh indulged in some lusty hitting to swiftly compile 39 from 36 balls before he was dismissed at 267 by off spinner Dheeraj Jadhav. Two runs later Reetinder Sodhi disappointed by falling to his namesake Harvinder Sodhi for a fourth ball duck. In his next over Sodhi also saw the back of wicketkeeper Rohit Jhalani, trapped leg before for one. Kaif and Romesh Powar proceeded to take NCA past Air India's first innings total of 277 during a 64 run stand before the former gave the charge to left arm spinner Niraj Patel and was stumped for 65 (155 balls, 4 fours and a six).

Mumbai all rounder Powar made a blistering 68 in an hour and a quarter, inclusive of seven rasping hits to the fence. After he gave Patel his second wicket at 371, the innings proceeded in a desultory manner with both sides having agreed to call off the match at tea. NCA coach Roger Binny was busy making notes on his wards from a vantage perch on the first floor of the dressing room.

The affair was brought to a merciful end when last man Rakesh Dhruv was castled by Jadhav for 18 to terminate the Academy innings in the 107th over. Patel and Sodhi both bagged three wickets apiece for the losers. NCA now go through to a quarterfinal game against Karnataka beginning August 24 at the Central Polytechnic - India Pistons ground.