A good all-round effort helped Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) bag the C Division cricket title for a second consecutive year yesterday as their players also proved better equipped to deal with a new tournament format.
In order to give the schoolboys more breaks from the heat, for the first time the matches in the division were split into four innings of 10 overs each. Previously, the matches were 20 overs a side.
A spirited opening spell was key in restricting their arch-rivals Raffles Institution, who elected to bat after wining the toss, to 46-4 in 10 overs in the first innings in the final at the Ceylon Sports Club ground.
ACS (I) opening bowler Neil Karnik got rid of RI batsman Premil Roshan (5) in his first over and in the next Khush Gelani removed the other opener Abdul Rahim (4) to leave RI struggling at 10-2.
RI skipper Raoul Sharma hit an unbeaten 16 off 22 balls but the rest of their top order found scoring difficult against ACS (I)'s accurate bowling. RI were also pegged back by some excellent fielding and catching by the ACS (I) players.
ACS(I) lost an early wicket in their first innings before opener Manish Karthik (35 not out) and skipper Arnaav Chabria (32 n.o.) put on 69 runs for the unbroken second wicket for 82-1 in 10 overs.
With a handy 36-run first innings lead, the ACS(I) players applied pressure as the RI batsmen went for runs in their second innings.
Arnaav took a brilliant catch in the covers to dismiss Raoul (6) off Ojas Kerhalkar's bowling as RI never really recovered from the loss of their captain to finish on 59-5 in 10 overs.
"The batting and bowling were exceptional," said Arnaav. "It was a great team effort that saw us through. Our coach and teachers backed us all the way, never putting any pressure on us to win."
Solaimuthu Kritic hit a bold 24 off 26 balls, but that was not enough to pose a daunting target to the ACS (I) team, who cantered to 24-3 in 3.4 overs and victory by six wickets.
ACS(I) coach Sarika Prasad said winning every group stage match helped as "that confidence was carried on to the final where our players were outstanding."
RI's teacher in charge for cricket Chong Zhe Bin bemoaned his team's poor start. He said: "ACS(I) took early wickets and that affected our momentum."