Shreyas Gopal was the ubiquitous game changer in the final of the Toyota University Cricket Championship on Sunday night. Batting first, when Southern Champs Jain University, Bengaluru scored 122 for six in their 20 overs, Gopal said his team was at least 15 runs short of a par score. After their two-run win against Jamia Millia Islamia, the India Under-19 star who scored an unbeaten 83 and took 2 for 16, still couldn't believe his team actually won the tournament.
Story first published on: Sunday, 10 March 2013 14:03 IST
"It's an amazing win. From zero for three wickets, this is unthinkable. I was tense when I went out to bat and when I started to bowled, I was gripped my nerves. But it was my skipper (Kaunain Abbas) who kept us cool as we steadily fought back," said Gopal, Sunday's deserving Man of the Match.
Gopal and Abbas prospered for a 98-run fourth wicket stand to pull Bengaluru out of the woods. Gopal applied himself perfectly and with Abbas resurrected the innings that fell apart at the start.
"I just stuck to my basics. I was tensed when I went in, but Abbas told me to stay cool and play my normal game. My plan was to bat till the 15th and then the big hitters in our team take over. But I still thought we were a good 15 runs short," said Gopal.
Abbas admitted 122 for six were not enough but it was yet another team show that fetched a close win.
"As captain, it was my job to keep the nerves under control. I just told them to keep cool, play to potential and the results will come," Abbas confided after the match.
With an untested Jamia middle-order needing to score at more than a run a ball in the last five overs, Bengaluru always had a chance. The departure of Shivam Sharma (35) and Surinder Dahiya (31) only gave Bengaluru the advantage.
"We just wanted a couple of wickets in the middle overs and Jamia obliged. On a wicket that was getting slow, I was confident that scoring 122 would not be easy. Our bowlers did a brilliant job," Abbas said.
Saying this was Jain University's biggest (and heaviest) silverware, Abbas, who won the Player of the Tournament award and a brand new Toyota Etios for his 314 runs, said the TUCC will make University cricket stronger.
"I think next year Rohinton Baria will be six time better with many teams playing serious cricket to get into the TUCC. It has been a great platform for all eight teams and as students seeking a career in cricket, we couldn't have asked for anything better," Abbas said.
WHO WON WHAT:
Player of the Tournament: Kaunain Abbas (Bengaluru), 314 runs
Batsman of the Tournament: Kevin D'Almeida (Mumbai), 209 runs
Bowler of the Tournament: Abhay Negi (Jamia), 10 wickets
Most Promising Player of the Tournament: Prashant Mavai (Jiwaji University, Gwalior)