City XI emerge champions

Sunil Raju slams second ton in a row as Presidents XI romp home

City XI team, winners of the Safi Darashah trophy cricket tournament in  Bangalore on Thursday. STANDING (From left): DV Anish, CM Gautham, Anirudh Joshi, Kunal Kapoor, Aswath Aiyappa, Stuart Binny, Somashekara Shiruguppi (coach), Suraj Sampath.  SITTING: KV Bharath, Keshav Chitta, Akshay SL, Arjun Hoysala, KL Rahul. DH Photo

With their only rivals for the title, Combined XI, being undone by a second century of the match by Sunil N Raju that secured a five-wicket win for President’s XI, City XI finished on top of the four-team league with nine points. President’s XI finished runners-up, with seven points.

At the NRA (T) grounds, City XI declared their second innings closed at their overnight 178 for eight, setting Bangalore Zone a near-impossible 353 to win in a match where the highest total was 305, made by City themselves on day one of the contest.

Bangalore Zone, who had capitulated for 131 in their first innings, made a much braver fist of it batting a second time around, but the task proved well beyond them. Mayank Agarwal contributed 60 and SP Manjunath top-scored with 61, but with DV Anish adding four more wickets to his first-innings three for match figures of seven for 117, Bangalore Zone were dismissed for 258. Anish received good support from K Gautam (3/79) and SL Akshay (2/57).

At the Chinnaswamy stadium, Combined XI’s designs of an outright win that would have crowned them the champions were emphatically dashed by Raju as President’s XI scaled down an imposing target of 269 fairly comfortably.

Overnight 98 for four, Combined XI were eventually dismissed for 262, Sudhindra Shinde leading the way with 86 and SL Akshay chipping in with 58. That gave them a final cushion of 268 runs on a surface that played slightly up and down.

Raju, who had taken two wickets earlier in the day, came back to haunt Combined XI for the second time in two days.

On Wednesday, he had made a measured 102 in his team’s modest 195 all out. On the final day, he played his strokes with great abandon, racing to 109 in just 118 deliveries with 12 fours and a six.

Robin Uthappa contributed 27, but the final flourish came from Nitin Bhille (67 n.o.) and Vijay Chavan (24 n.o.) as President’s XI raced to 272 for five in just 51.5 overs, and a commanding victory.

DH News Service

Brief scores: At Chinnaswamy stadium: Combined XI: 201 all out in 60.4 overs and 262 all out in 61.2 overs (Sudhindra Shinde 86, SL Akshay 58; Raghavendra Rao AV 3-36, Mohammed Arif 2-27, SK Moinuddin 2-65, Sunil N Raju 2-12) lt to President’s XI: 195 all out in 74 overs and 272/5 in 51.5 overs (Robin Uthappa 27, Sunil N Raju 109, Nitin Bhille 67 n.o.; Abrar Kazi 3-98, Udit Patel 2-48).

At NRA (T) grounds: City XI: 305 all out in 76.5 overs and 178/8 decl in 44 overs bt Bangalore Zone: 131 all out in 43.3 overs and 258 all out in 60.5 overs (Mayank Agarwal 60, SP Manjunath 61, Sunil Kumar 27; SL Akshay 2-57, DV Anish 4-81, K Gautam 3-79). Final standings: City XI (9 pts) 1; President’s XI (7) 2; Combined XI (5) 3; Bangalore Zone (3) 4.

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