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Chennai/Ajmer: Defending champions Andhra Pradesh topped Group A after winning all their group games while Odisha topped Group C in same fashion in the IndusInd Bank Nagesh Trophy National T20 Cricket for the Blind being played at different grounds of the cities. Telangana and Jharkhand also finished their tournaments with victories over Jammu and Kashmir and Tamil Nadu respectively. Delhi finished in second place in Group C while Kerala finished in second in Group A, keeping their chances alive to qualify for the quarterfinals.
In the final Group A matches at Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, defending champions Andhra Pradesh had an easy outing against Kerala. Electing to bat after winning the toss, Andhra openers T. Durga Rao and D. Venkateswara Rao outsmarted the Kerala bowling and stitched together a partnership of 223 runs in just 13.2 overs. Kerala came back into the innings after dismissing both batters in consecutive overs. The upcoming batters of Andhra could not maintain the momentum as they could only score 61 runs from the last 7 overs. Eventually, Andhra scored 284/5 in their 20 overs which was enough for them to win the match.Vishnu N.K and Mohammad Fayiz took a wicket each for Kerala. In reply, Kerala batters could not keep up to the pressure of chasing a huge target. They lost their inform batter Abdul Munaz in the second ball of the innings. Kerala were eventually bowled out for 178 in 19 overs with Muhammed Kamal (31) and Vishnu N.K (28) and Arjun P (27) offering some resistance. T. Durga Rao took 2 wickets for Andhra while K. Sainadh, Gorle Kiran Kumar, Govinda Raju and Shankar scalped a wicket each. In the other match of the group, Jharkhand beat Tamil Nadu by 6 wickets to finish second in the group. Btting first, Tamil Nadu scored 158/6 in 20 overs. Opener Venkateshmunikaran top scored with 57 runs while K. Ramesh scored 30 runs. Rohit Oraon and Sujit Munda took a wicket each. Jharkhand chased down the target in just 14 overs. Opener Nishit Bara played an innings of 57 runs making it easy for his team to achieve the target without much hiccups. Sanjeev Kerketta remained unbeaten on 41 runs. Maharaja took 2 wickets while Mathivanan took a wicket for the hosts who finished the tournament with a solitary win.
In the final Group C matches at the Lawrence and Mayo Public School, Ajmer, Odisha beat Rajasthan by 28 runs to top Group C and qualify for the quarterfinals. An all-round by Captain Sukhram Majhi helped Odisha to a win in the match. Batting first, Odisha scored 223/6 in 20 overs. Sukhram Majhi top scored by scoring 77 runs. Kalia Pradhan scored 46 runs and contributions from other batters helped Odisha to a good total. In reply, Rajasthan lost two wickets for just 9 runs but the innings but a 103 run partnership for the third wicket between Nikhil Maharshi and Pradip revived the innings and put the hosts back on track. The innings faltered again after Nikhil’s dismissal. Pradip anchored the innings and tried to take his team closer to the target but fell short. Rajasthan eventually were bowled out for 195 in 19.4 overs. Sukhram Maji and Nakula Badnayak took 3 wickets each for Odisha restricting the Rajasthan batters. Tapan Kumar Gouda took 2 wickets.
In the other match, Telangana beat Jammu & Kashmir in a high scoring affair by 46 runs to register their first victory of the tournament. Batting first, Telangana scored a huge total of 254/7 in their 20 overs aided by a brilliant century scored by Nikhil Bathum (120, 52 balls, 19×4, 2×6). He put together a partnership of 139 runs along with Lingamurthy Yadhav who scored 61. Chamandeep took 2 wickets while Manpreet and Mohammed Rafiq Wani took a wicket each for J&K. Chasing a huge target, J&K openers Mohammed Azeem and Irfan Ahmad Mir put in a 75 run partnership with Irfan scoring 36 runs. After Irfan’s dismissal, Azeem carried forward the J&K innings but did not receive any support from the other batters. He was unlucky not to score his century as he was run out for 99. J&K eventually finished their innings on 208/9 in 20 overs. Ravi Varma took 2 wickets and P. Sravan took a wicket for Telangana.
The tournament will now shift to Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh for the tournament’s final group stage matches. Group E matches will start on Feb 19 which will be played between Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Punjab and Tripura.
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