India beat Pak, emerge champs

T20 World Cup for Blind

India beat Pak, emerge champs

Pakistan skipper Zeeshan Abbasi wore a look of disbelief and eventually broke down as over 5,000 people at the Central College grounds celebrated a famous Indian victory.

The Indian blind cricket team, led by Karnataka’s Shekar Naik, claimed the inaugural T20 World Cup for the Blind with a 29-run win over rivals in a closely-contested final here on Thursday.

The title encounter was a see-saw battle from the time Pakistan won the toss and put India into bat. India posted 258 for eight in 20 overs thanks mainly to an inspiring 98-run effort from man of the match Ketan Bhai Patel. In reply, Pakistan were in complete control as their openers carried them to a respectable 75 for no loss before they lost the plot. Once the opening stand was broken, India – barring a few overs – were in command of the match and completed the formalities to trigger wild celebrations.

While the quality of cricket was top class, the cheerleaders, the music, the crowd and the feeling of being part of something big provided a touch of festive atmosphere to the four-hour proceedings.

School children seemed well aware of the names of the India players and cheered them at any given opportunity, while people from Samarthanam Trust too joined the action by blowing their trumpets.

College students from the vicinity, who were missing for most part of the tournament, were present in abundance and some even sat on roof tops to catch the action. A couple of differently-abled children were seen cheering their team by rolling right around the boundary line in their wheelchairs with the Tri-colour flying high. As celebrations continued, the Pakistan team boarded the bus and were on their way out when they were in for a surprise.

Around 500 people, also on their way out, waved frantically and called out to Pakistan players and appreciated them for their performance.

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