KUWAIT: The final of the 18th Prof. Ramachandran Memorial Cricket Tournament (RMC) conducted by College of Engineering Trivandrum Alumni Association (CETAA) and sponsored by GTE Olayan Co, Khuff GT&C and Noun Industrial Est: saw defending champions KEA meet in form and favorites AECK on December 11 at the Fahaheel Grounds.
AECK had the initial advantage winning the toss and batting first. And when danger man Mahesh was dropped off the very first ball, the tension of a final seemed to be telling on KEA. In the 2nd over, prolific run getter Shameer was also dropped and AECK took full advantage of the lapses reaching 39 by the 3rd over. It was danger signs for KEA but they had a stroke of luck when Mahesh (22) pulled Ajin straight down square leg’s throat without the fielder having to move to take the catch. This proved to be the break that KEA was looking for and they managed to put the brakes on AECK with only 12 runs coming off the next 3 overs. Shameer (33) and Rafi (19) tried to repair the damage with a 35 run 3rd wicket stand in 5 overs but their exit in the 11th and 12th over proved crucial. KEA bowlers tightened the screws thereafter with speed and accuracy restricting AECK to 106 for 7 off their 15 overs when a score of 120 and beyond seemed very much on the cards. Nithin (2 for 19), Ajin, Nasif, Arjun with a wicket each bowled with heart while Presoon bowled a crucial last over giving away just 2 runs.
In reply, KEA suffered a setback when Nithin was bowled by a Sebastian special in the 2nd over. Ajin (13) and Govind (17) tried to get KEA going with a 2nd wicket stand of 24 runs in 5 overs. Govind’s and Binu’s exit in the 7th over and Ajin’s exit in the 8th with the score board reading only 40 seemed to have turned the tide in AECK’s favour. But 4 down Renju who had fought a lone battle in their league match against AECK was still at the crease. His late arrival raised a few eyebrows but proved to be a master stroke in the end. Captain Tibish (11 – retired hurt) gave good support and with the aid of the tail, Renju brought KEA back into contention with intelligent stroke play and brilliant running between the wickets. But still 36 runs were needed of the last 3 overs. The 13th and 14 over yielded 16 and 15 which proved critical and brought the required runs to only 5 needed of the last over. But Rinaz bowled a spirited last over giving nothing away. A few scampered singles amidst rising tension made it 2 runs required of 2 balls. Another scampered single and an overthrow of the 5th ball brought victory to KEA by 5 wickets with only a ball to spare. AECK were unlucky to loose after having dominated initially but all credit to Renju (30 not out – man of the match) who again proved spoil sport for AECK.
Special prizes were awarded to Renju (man of the match), Nithin (best bowler), Shameer (best player), Mahesh (best batsman) and the winners I runners cups and medals were presented by Messrs Tapan Ramesh (Regional Manager – GTE), Jose Kurishinkal (President – Cetaa), Anil Kumar (GC-KEF), Sreekumar (GC elect – KEF) and Mohanachandran (RMC Chairman).