One of the outstanding features of the inaugural Toyota University Cricket Championship has been the standard of fielding. On Tuesday night, Jiwaji University, Gwalior lifted themselves to new heights as the Western Wizards pouched eight catches to steal Aligarh Muslim University's thunder in a low-scoring contest that both teams were gunning for victory.
Story first published on: Tuesday, 05 March 2013 12:03 IST
Smart teamwork by the Jiwaji boys and that included two wonderful stumpings by wicketkeeper Saurabh Gupta, turned the tables on Aligarh, who at one stage looked set for a win after a robust 34-ball 53 from opener Abhinav Kataria.
Jiwaji skipper Sohraab Dhaliwal played the lead role with three brilliant catches as the maverick Morena-boy Prashant Mavai came to the party with two more and a four-wicket haul to become the leading all-rounder of the championship.
"Catches win matches and we showed it," said Dhaliwal, whose on-field composure has been one of the talking points of the tournament. The captain's body language reflected on his teammates as well as several of them came good after dropping dollies early in the Aligarh innings. Aligarh's Abhinav Kataria enjoyed two lives en route to his blazing 53.
"The conditions were tough when we fielded. There was due and we dropped a couple of catches, but at the end, the team made up," Dhaliwal said, adding, "We handled the pressure well when we had to and full marks to everyone because we were defending a low total (139/8) and were definitely 20 short of a par score."
Aligarh captain Meraj Ahmed blamed his middle-order batsmen for failing to take the responsibility to convert the flying start Kataria gave.
"We were never under pressure because the Jiwaji boys had to stop us. We should have easily got those 40 runs off 36 balls, but we didn't bat well enough. It was definitely disappointing to lose like this," Ahmed said.