March 17, 2003

Pagnis hits 184 in drawn Duleep encounter

Staff Reporter

The Duleep Trophy match between Elite B and Plate B, held at the Guru Nanak College Grounds, Chennai, turned out to be a veritable run-fest, with only the 18-run difference in first-innings totals giving the former five points and the latter three.

Winning the toss, Elite B skipper Rohan Gavaskar opted to bat first, and his quickfire 42 (32b, 5x4, 2x6) was one of the string of middle-order knocks that spurred Elite B to a total of 350. Arjun Yadav made a steady 59 (172b, 7x4) and MSK Prasad 40 (58b, 2x4), but it was TP Singh's knock of 64 (83b, 5x4, 2x6) that really lent backbone to the Elite B innings.

The lower order of Elite B succumbed to the wiles of leggie Narendra Hirwani, who scalped six for 80 in his 27.5 overs, and the side was bowled out early on the second day. Plate B then proceeded to bat a day themselves, falling just short of Elite B's 350 by making 332.

Star of the Plate B innings was opener Sujith Somasunder, who made 116 off 226 balls, with 13 fours. But his knock alone would have hardly gotten his side close to the Elite B total, and it also took Sreekumar Nair's 95 (150b, 10x4, 2x6) to take Plate B past 300. For Plate B, speedster Amit Uniyal took six for 92.

The tour-de-force batting display was still to come, however. Batting for 540 minutes and facing 438 balls, Elite B opener Amit Pagnis dominated the second innings, making 184 and hitting 21 fours in his side's total of 434. He was ably supported by Wasim Jaffer (59, 89b, 9x4) and later MSK Prasad (79, 134b, 8x4), but although Gavaskar delayed the declaration to give Pagnis a much-deserved double, he fell short by 16 runs.

Plate B were thus set the hugely impossible target of 453 runs off a single over, and instead of trying to go for the target, makeshift openers SB Dahad and S Santh courageously played for the draw, getting it comfortably in the end.