Schools: Leaders fall but rest of ACS(I) step up to win

Victoria's wicket-keeper Somesh Sahu stumping Sidhant. ACS(I) batsmen did well, scoring 122 runs despite losing their captain and vice-captain early. Then the bowlers finished the job, keeping Victoria to 72 runs.
Victoria's wicket-keeper Somesh Sahu stumping Sidhant. ACS(I) batsmen did well, scoring 122 runs despite losing their captain and vice-captain early. Then the bowlers finished the job, keeping Victoria to 72 runs. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

When Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) had both their captain and vice-captain dismissed within the first eight overs in yesterday's Schools National B Division boys' cricket final, the defending champions could have crumbled.

Instead, they displayed the strength and depth of their squad, defeating Victoria School by 50 runs to retain their cricket crown for the second consecutive year. This is also their seventh B Division title since 2006.

The first shock came in the second over, when captain Yuvraj Singh was bowled out after scoring just five runs.

ACS (I) looked even more vulnerable when vice-captain Sidhant was dismissed in the eighth over.

That was when opening batsman Dipon Basu stepped up to the crease. His stellar 55 not out was vital in enabling his team to reach a total of 122 in 20 overs.

"I did not just want to do it for myself, but for my school," said Dipon, 15.

"I wanted to stay in the game after my captain and vice-captain were out, and make sure the team didn't become shaky."

The bowlers also played a crucial role in ACS(I)'s victory, restricting Victoria to 72 runs.

Nicholas Singham, 16, took two wickets and bowled two maiden overs, giving away just one run.

Sidhant also bowled well, taking three wickets. "Even though I wasn't able to bat well, it feels good to do well in bowling and fielding," said the 16-year-old vice-captain.

Captain Yuvraj, also 16, said that the match was proof of the reservoir of talent in the ACS(I) team.

"We proved today that we have depth in our batting, with many good players," he said.

"Cricket is definitely a team game. All 11 players have to fight together, otherwise it is difficult to win."

Victoria were playing in the final for the first time since 2010. Vice-captain Devanshu Bisht, 16, admitted that nerves could have played a part in his team's performance.

"We're playing in the final after six years, so we're not really used to dealing with the tension," he said.

"However, it was still a really good experience, especially for the Secondary 3 students, so maybe they will be able to go on and win in the final next year."

In the bronze-medal play-off, Raffles Institution defeated St Andrew's Secondary School by eight wickets.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2016, with the headline 'Leaders fall but rest of ACS(I) step up to win'. Print Edition | Subscribe