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August 30, 2002
The MAC-TNCA XI lifted the 2002 Sahara Buchi Babu Trophy by completing a comprehensive 10-wicket win over Indian Airlines at the Guru Nanak College Ground, dominating the game right through and coasting to a deserved victory.
They had the advantage of the toss, which they promptly used to choose to bat. The batsmen also took full toll of this upper hand, notching up a mammoth first-innings total of 437. Southpaws Sridharan Sriram and Hemang Badani were the main protagonists in this innings; both notched up centuries - 109 and 127 respectively - and put together a 199-run partnership for the third wicket.
Captain Sridharan Sharath also got into the act. He had been in fine form throughout the series, and he yet again racked up quick runs, making 71 off just 80 balls. The MAC-TNCA XI made their gigantic total inside a single day - in just 87.3 overs - showing their aggressive intent clearly. For Indian Airlines, Sonu Sharma and Babloo Kumar took four wickets each.
Airlines got off to a bad start, with two wickets falling for just 21 runs. But even thereafter, no batsman could really get settled like Sriram or Badani to take the total to a big one. Ravneet Ricky made 73 off 104 balls at the top of the order, and skipper J Arun Kumar scored 71, but none of the other batsmen contributed significantly, and the innings folded for 253. MR Shrinivas was the destroyer-in-chief for the TNCA XI, taking four wickets.
Following on, Airlines fared marginally better in their second innings, hitting up 220 in 45 overs. Shafiq Khan top-scored with 67 off 61 balls, and a couple of 40s from the top order helped the scoring along. But even as the innings was progressing, it was clear that the effort would not be enough to put pressure on the MAC-TNCA side
And true to form, the target of 37 runs was easily achieved, in just 4.2 overs. D Dhandapani and MR Shrinivas were promoted to the top of the order to see the win through, and Dhandapani in particular entertained the audience in chasing the meagre target, hitting six fours and a six in his 19-ball knock.
Sriram, surprisingly, won the Man of the Match award, outdoing Badani's greater score. But few could argue with the choice of Sharath as Man of the Series. Not only did he lead his side with aplomb throughout the Buchi Babu tournament, but he scored runs by the gallon - in itself a factor in the MAC-TNCA's win.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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