A solid all-round performance by captain Hriday Mistry helped Raffles Institution deny Anglo- Chinese School (Independent) a third consecutive Schools National B Division cricket title yesterday.
The 15-year-old took 2-18 with the ball in the final at the Singapore Indian Association as ACS (I), who were put in to bat, were restricted to 84-7 in 20 overs. He then scored 39 off 26 balls as RI eased to 85-3 in 16.1 overs to win by seven wickets.
"I was determined to do well for the school because last year we didn't even make it to the final," said Hriday. "It was really a combined effort from our players that gave us the title."
For RI, another good all-round performance came from Vedant Ravikiran, 14, who took 2-24 and scored 22 runs, while fast bowler Hussein Muhammed Safuwan, 14, dismissed both ACS(I) openers for ducks to finish with impressive figures of 2-11.
"All our players chipped in as we faced a lot of challenges this year," said RI's cricket teacher in charge Zhebin Chong, 31. "Our best batsman, Aryan Badhe, went back to India to try and become a professional player, while our top-wicket-taker, Adarsh Aravinth, fractured his arm before the tournament.
"Then, two days before the final, Walden Sun, another key player, fell ill with chicken pox. We won because our captain and key players pulled their weight. They showed grit and resilience to overcome the obstacles."
Indeed, RI staged a grand comeback after losing to Victoria School at the round-robin stage.
ACS(I) were on the back foot after their openers got out cheaply. But their captain Ishaan Paul Sawney put up a valiant fight.
The 15-year-old old steadied their innings with 44 off 56 balls and then picked up 1-18.
"We didn't get good partnerships going," said Ishaan. "Then in the field we dropped a few catches. We did well. But RI were the better team."
Mohamed Shariff, 49, ACS(I)'s teacher in charge for cricket, was a tad disappointed by the outcome.
"We won this title seven times in 10 years, but we couldn't do it for a third consecutive time," he said. "Our boys played very well, but it was not our day and the better team won."
For ACS(I) coach Sarika Prasad, 59, the difference was that some of his players did not play up to their potential. "We have a good team," he said.
"But in the final some of our players did not click. We have to give RI due credit. They played really well."
Victoria School, 104-8 in 20 overs, beat St Andrew's School, 59 all out in 18.3 overs, to clinch third.