Gavaskar finds form as Tata get off to winning start
Tata Sports Club got off to a winning start in the Corporate Cup thanks to an ICL-returnee, Rohan Gavaskar, who struck 93 against All India Public Sector Sports Promotion Board (AIPSSPB) in Dharamsala. Rain had reduced the game to 36 overs a side and Tata, after being sent in, managed 241 for 8. Gavaskar took control after the loss of two early wickets, smashing seven fours and three sixes in his knock, which came at less than a run a ball. Ajit Agarkar's breezy cameo of 43 off 34 balls towards the end pushed the score towards a match-winning one. Agarkar, the captain, was back in business early with the ball when he clean bowled Nilesh Patwardhan and Rajinder Bisht in successive overs. Paras Dogra was the next to go, excellently caught at third man by Tushar Garat, who covered a lot of ground to get underneath the ball. The early loss of wickets didn't help the run rate, as AIPSSPB managed only two an over after ten. Pankaj Thakur delayed the inevitable by helping himself to a half-century, as his team ended on 168.
In another rain-interrupted game, in Visakhapatnam, Madras Rubber Factory (MRF) beat Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) by 12 runs. MRF opted to bat but were bowled out within 50 overs for 191. Gnaneswara Rao top scored with 53 off 74 balls with four fours but the rest couldn't carry on after making starts. The BPCL batsmen also struggled to get going, and were in trouble at one stage at 58 for 5. PK Dharma, the right-arm seamer, did the damage when he was introduced first change, picking up three wickets. Rain intervened with the score at 86 for 5 and the target was then revised to 185 in 46 overs by the VJD Method. There was another rain intervention when BPCL proceeded to 120 for 6 in 28.3 overs. However, no further play was possible and BPCL found themselves 12 short of the required score at that stage. Dharma was named the Man of the Match for his 3 for 22.
The match between Air India Blue and Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) was abandoned without a ball being bowled because of heavy overnight rain in Mohali. Despite the sun coming out in the afternoon, the groundstaff were unable to get the outfield ready, and the captains called off the game at 6pm. The match was originally supposed to be rescheduled to Friday but the organising committee of the tournament withdrew the decision to replay since no provision for reserve day had been made for any of the matches.