SINGAPORE - Gune Atharva Rahul's name may have been spelt wrongly on the back of his jersey, but he did everything right in the Schools National A Division boys' cricket final on Thursday (May 23).
The 16-year-old Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student took three wickets in one over during the final moments of the match, holding off a comeback from rivals Raffles Institution.
ACS(I), who won the toss and elected to bat first, beat the defending champions by 10 runs at the Ceylon Sports Club. They scored 140-5 in 20 overs and restricted RI to 130-9.
Atharva, who was described by some spectators as the "man of the match", said: "It's a very proud moment for me to be able to get my best performance out of myself on this stage, at this final.
"(After taking the three wickets) I was still looking for the fourth and also trying my best to keep it simple - I just took it ball by ball.
"I wouldn't say (that I was nervous), I made a plan for the main batsmen who were scoring against us. Before every ball I bowl, I just think about what I'm going to bowl and tell myself that I'm going to stick to that no matter what."
ACS(I) captain Ishaan Paul Sawney described Atharva as one of the team's best bowlers as he hailed the latter's "fantastic effort".
Ishaan, 17, added: "Raffles put up a really good fight and it got really close... but the boys really pulled through. Before the game started, I told them not to worry about the result and to just focus on giving everything out there and leaving no regrets.
"I'm just really proud of the boys."
RI had defeated ACS(I) twice during the preliminary phase but Ishaan did not feel those losses affected his team's morale ahead of the final.
"We recognised that (Raffles) are a good side, but we also just kept faith in ourselves," added the Year Six student.
"We knew that we're a good team and on our day we're good enough to beat them, so we just kept a positive mindset."
The RI team were left to rue what could have been, as a disappointed captain Hriday Mistry said: "We beat this team in both the previous games by (big margins), so to lose to them narrowly hurts because we should have got the job done.
"We dropped a couple of catches in the field, so then we let them score a few more runs than they should have, which we eventually fell short by.
"It was our game to win but we made crucial mistakes and let the game slip out of our hands... those mistakes cost us today."