India make it two in a row

Prakash's unbeaten 99 helps hosts drub Pakistan for the crown

India make it two in a row
Expectations of a humdinger were high at the M Chinnaswamy with rivals India and Pakistan taking on each other in a repeat of the 2012 T20 World Cup for the Blind but the hosts coasted to a nine-wicket victory to retain their title here on Sunday.

Local lad Prakash Jayaramaiah put on a stellar show with the bat, remaining unbeaten on 99 off just 58 balls to hand India their second T20 title after they had beaten the same opponents in the inaugural edition.

Prakash, who was man of the final, said, “I’m really happy that we were able to retain our title, especially on my home ground.”  He added that the toss really didn’t matter and that they had fixed plans.

“We had anyway decided to bowl first so the toss didn’t matter. Once we had restricted them to 197, we knew that good partnerships would get us home and that is exactly what we focused on.”

A large number of fans turned out to lend vociferous support to India but the start to proceedings wasn’t as expected with Pakistan winning the toss and choosing to bat first.
Up until the final, Pakistan had an all-win record and had scored in excess of 300 every time they had batted first leaving India with a real task at hand.

The openers Muhammad Jamil (24) and the prolific Badar Muneer (57) began in explosive fashion as they brought up the team half-century in the fifth over. With India needing to find inspiration from somewhere to stop the free-flow of runs and bring themselves back into the game, it was Ganesh Mundakar who provided just that.

Muneer struck the ball firmly to mid on and a mix up between the batsmen left skipper Jamil well short of his crease as Mundakar dived, stopped the ball and released it quickly to bowler Rambir.

Though the departure brought about a momentary lull, Muneer moved from strength to strength to notch his half-century in the 10th over. Veteran Ketan Patel then stepped up and got the crucial wicket of Muneer, caught by Mundakar, the very next over.

This turned out to be the turning point as India turned the screws and with wickets at regular intervals, restricted Pakistan to a getable 197 for eight. Indian skipper Ajay Kumar Reddy (43) and Prakash began their chase in a calculated manner, rotating strike as well as finding the fence frequently.

Despite playing second fiddle to his partner in the beginning, Prakash came into his own by the sixth over and scored his half century four overs later. The duo looked reassured at the crease and by the 11th over the scoreboard read 110 for no loss.

However, miscommunication between Prakash and Reddy’s runner Rambir found the latter short of his ground giving Pakistan the much-needed break through. Prakash, though, remained undeterred and flayed the Pakistani bowlers to hand India a memorable trimuph in 17.4 overs.

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