March 24, 2003

Narendra Hirwani demolishes Plate A

Staff Reporters

Bangalore hosted the Plate A-Plate B Duleep Trophy match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and was fortunate to see some striking cricket that culminated by Plate B triumphing by an innings and seven runs shortly before lunch on the final day.

Winning the toss, Plate A skipper Hrishikesh Kanitkar opted to bat first, but his batsmen could not back him up in the choice. Opener R Jaiswal made 63 off 88, and Kanitkar himself made a steady 41, but they were the exceptions rather than the rule in a batting display that showed a distinct lack of application. Leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani did not help matters, taking five wickets for 71 runs and bundling out the lower order in quick time.

The Plate B story read differently. One batsman - skipper J Arunkumar - put his hand up to play a long innings, and other batsmen consistently played around him. Arunkumar hit 178 off 300 balls, striking 29 fours and two sixes, and was out as the fourth wicket with the score on 343. Plate B went on to add almost 200 runs more; Vijay Bharadwaj made 91 off 136 and C Hemanth Kumar struck 88 off 134, both unlucky to miss out on their centuries. Chandrasekhar Atram, towards the end, produced 48 off 103 balls, and Plate B registered a massive 527.

Even at the end of the third day, Plate A were in dire straits, fumbling at 143 for four, with Hirwani already having scalped three batsmen. He went on to dismiss four more, ending with stellar figures of seven for 129 off 38 overs. Yashpal Singh played a lone hand of 84, but it was hardly enough, and Plate A found themselves bowled out for 273.