Air India gets ticket to Bradman Cup final

Published: Friday, August 19, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:Air India kept its flag flying high and stormed into the final after notching up an identical seven wicket victory over Cricket Association of Bengal and New South Wales on the opening day of the 'Unibic Twenty20 Bradman Cup' tournament here today.

Helped by good batting by Dinesh Kaarthick (62 not out) and S Sriram (30 not out), Suresh Raina-led AI scored an easy victory over CAB in the inaugural league encounter and then grounded NSW at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Hero of the AI's match against NSW was Raina himself who top-scored for the team with an unbeaten 60-ball 57 studded with seven fours and one six. He put on a match-winning 69-run partnership for the second wicket with Naman Ojha who made 27.

Raina was outstanding in bowling as well, scalping two wickets for 12 runs as NSW, sent into bat, made 97 for nine in their 20 overs. For the visitors, Daniel Smith made 27 and James Packman chipped in with 19. None of the others crossed the double-digit mark. AI reached the target in 19.1 overs.

Earlier, batting first after losing the toss, CAB put on board a modest 118 for eight in their innings as batsmen failed to come up with good partnerships. Skipper Deep Dasgupta top-scored for his team with a 26-ball 30 with four fours.

Raina's all-rounder ability was on display as he picked up three wickets for 13 runs. In the third over, CAB was on 11 for the loss of three wickets, including that of Rohan Gavaskar who was run out for four.

Contrary to expectations, it wasn't bang-bang from the word go and batsmen were seen struggling on a pitch that assisted bowlers.

CAB appeared to be on top for a brief period as their bowlers picked up three wickets including Raina for six leaving AI at 27 for three in the fifth over. But Kaarthick (61m, 47b, 3 fours, 1 six) and Sriram (51m, 37b, 2 fours) ensured that AI landed safely with 15 balls to spare.

CAB and NSW are now out of the championship as AI has already topped in Group B. The two sides are however playing their last league game tomorrow but that would only be for pride.

Brief scores: CAB 118 for 8 in 20 overs (Dasgupta 30, Manoj Tiwari 25, Sourasish Lahiri 19 not out; Raina 3/13, R P Singh 2/15, Siddharth Trivedi 2/24) Vs Air India 119 for 3 in 17.3 overs (Kaarthick 62 not out, Sriram 30 not out, Ranadeb Bose 2/15, Ashoke Dinda 1/26).

Second match: New South Wales 97 for nine in 20 overs (Smith 27, Packman 19; Raina 2/12, Rohit Sharma 1/6, Neeraj Patel 1/8, Siddhath Trivedi 1/12, S Sriram 1/16, R P Singh 1/24) Vs Air India 100 for 3 in 19.1 overs (Raina 57 not out, Ojha 27; Jason Krejza 2/13, Nathan Bracken 1/11).

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