CHENNAI: MRC ‘A’ on Friday clinched its maiden Rajah of Palayampatti Shield by securing a comfortable first innings lead over Vijay CC in the First Division League final at the MA Chidambaram Stadium here.
The title triumph in the prestigious red-ball competition is an incredible achievement for MRC ‘A’, considering that the team entered the First Division only in the 2018-19 season. Meanwhile, Vijay lost its second successive First Division summit clash as it could muster only 366 while responding to the MRC ‘A’ total of 497 for six.
Beginning the day at 484 for five, MRC ‘A’ added 13 runs to its overnight score to finish at a gigantic 497.
The Ravichandran Ashwin-led team started well with the ball, removing the Vijay top-three – Narayan Jagadeesan (0), Daryl S Ferrario (19) and S Lokeshwar (14) – cheaply. While openers Jagadeesan and Lokeshwar were dismissed by medium pacer Rishi Dhawan (3/80), Ferrario was sent back after a run-out.
Centurion Pradosh Ranjan Paul (126 off 127 balls, 14 fours, 1 six) and J Kousik (65 off 99 balls, 9 fours) steadied the ship with the fourth-wicket stand that was worth 144 runs off 29.1 overs. But, MRC ‘A’ left-arm spinner Harsh Dubey (4/77) provided the crucial breakthrough when he castled Kousik’s stumps.
The Vidarbha teenager then further dented Vijay’s hopes as he induced an edge from the bat of Pradosh, who was caught behind by SR Athish. While Shahrukh Khan waged a lone battle for Vijay with an aggressive 92 (76 balls, 7 fours, 3 sixes), MRC ‘A’ dominated the rest of the contest. The title match was put to bed when Shahrukh found NS Chaturved off K Vignesh’s (1/62) bowling in the final session of the second and last day.
Off-spinner Ashwin could bowl only one over – in the second session – because of a niggle. “We had a lot of runs to defend, so I did not take a risk,” said Ashwin.
BRIEF SCORES:Final: MRC ‘A’ 497/6 in 90 overs (NS Chaturved 132, Ravichandran Ashwin 25, B Anirudh Sitaram 83, Rishi Dhawan 116, Harsh Dubey 116, Rahil Shah 3/95, M Mohammed 2/41) drew with Vijay CC 366 in 69.4 overs (Pradosh Ranjan Paul 126, J Kousik 65, Shahrukh Khan 92, M Mohammed 24, Harsh Dubey 4/77, Rishi Dhawan 3/80)