Tight bowling and brilliant catching helped Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) retain the A Division cricket title yesterday, as they beat Raffles Institution (RI) by 29 runs in the final.
The ACS (I) boys held their nerve as they defended a modest 110-6 in 20 overs, in the rain-interrupted final played over two days at the Ceylon Sports Club.
Medium pacer Yuvraj Singh (3-20) bowled a crucial 10th over, which swung the match ACS(I)'s way. The rain was getting heavier and RI were 51-3, needing only four more runs to win the match as it could have been called off at the end of that over if the rain continued.
But the 16-year-old gave away just a single run in five balls. Off the last ball he got Karthik Mohan, RI's top scorer with 24 runs off 21 balls, caught in the deep by Shehzad Hassan, 18, who took a splendid running catch.
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ACS(I), also winners of the division in 2010 and 2014, never faltered thereafter as captain Somil Batavia (2-21) and Shardul Dorwat (2-2) bowled accurately to put pressure on RI's batsmen, who folded for 81 in 17.2 overs as the rain eased.
"I bowled a good slow ball to get that wicket," said a beaming Yuvraj.
"RI's batting does not run deep. Once their top order was gone, we knew that they would have to hit in the air to get the runs as the outfield was wet.
"We shrewdly mixed our pace as the RI batsmen gave away their wickets going for big shots."
It was a chaseable target. Some of our batsmen got carried away and threw away their wickets. The pressure built up and we could not finish.
AAHAN ACHAR, RI's captain, lamenting his team's collapse after building up a good position.
RI, who had won the title from 2011 to 2013 and again in 2015, were in the game as long as left-hander Karthik, 17, who struck two fours and two sixes, was at the crease.
"It was a chaseable target," said RI captain Aahan Achar, 18, who had put in ACS(I) to bat. "Some of our batsmen got carried away and threw away their wickets. The pressure built up and we could not finish."
RI were without their opening bowler and one-down batsman Laavanya Kejriwal, 18, who was hospitalised with hepatitis A on Sunday.
On Monday, Anirudh Ganesh, 18, played a patient 39, around which ACS(I)'s innings was built before heavy rain halted play.
He was ably supported by Vikas Arunachalam, 18, who scored 14 off 15 balls, towards the end.
"Anirudh was the backbone of our innings," said their captain Somil. "He showed character as the pressure built up. Then our bowlers and fielders held their nerve as RI went for the runs. It was a memorable win after playing six years of cricket at ACS(I)."
Victoria Junior College (181-9 in 20 overs) beat St Joseph's Institution International (90-9 in 20 overs) by 91 runs to clinch third place.