October 13, 2011 1:19:22 am
Peering closely into Robin Uthappas new beard on the eve of the final group stage match in the NKP Salve Challenger Series,a fellow batsman from India Green remarked that it closely resembled that of the great Sir Viv Richards. Then Ill also bat with a chewing gum in my mouth, Uthappa replied. Who knows,it might just result in some runs. With a cud between his teeth on Wednesday,Uthappa not only looked like the legendary West Indian batsman,but also imbibed Richards swagger during his blistering knock of 132.
While Uthappas century came off a mere 65 balls,the India Blue side suffered the terrible consequences of conceding yet another century to Anirudha Srikkanth,a lad who closely resembled his father Krishnamachari during his innings of 111. Thanks to Uthappa and Srikkanths 203-run opening stand,India Green registered a crushing 79-run win over S Badrinaths side,while also booking their berth in the final against the Reds.
To be fair to India Blue,they did well to keep the margin of defeat to below a hundred runs,considering they were chasing a mammoth 349 for victory in the second innings. While Murali Vijay and Saurabh Tiwary did well to keep the scoreboard ticking during their 87-run second wicket stand,a constant fall of wickets ensured that the required run-rate was well over the scoring one.
Blues late flourish
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Although there was a late flourish by Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey,it wasnt in the same league as Uthappa in the first innings who returned after his retired not out in the death overs to finish the job he had started earlier.
Over the last couple of years,it hasnt been easy being Robin Uthappa. For a boy who turned heads in his very first game in India colours a smashed an 86 against England on debut in 2006 Uthappa failed to live up to the heavy Next Big Thing collar around his neck. While he was in and out of national selection in 2007,the batsman from Karnataka drifted into oblivion after the inaugural World T20 in 2007,bar a few IPL performances.
But following severe confusion over his role in the batting order,Uthappa is glad to make it count as an opener again. I play my best as an opener,and when things go my way I more often than not put the team in a good position, says Uthappa,backing his claim with his century. When I played for India,I chose to sacrifice my preferred spot for the sake of the team. But now I will open,no matter what. Thats where he parts ways with the No.3 legend from Antigua.
Brief scores: India Green 348/9 in 50 overs (R Uthappa 132,S Anirudha 111; P Sangwan 4/58) beat India Blue 269 all out in 41.4 overs (S Tiwary 74,D Karthik 49,Murali Vijay 45; S Fallah 3/59,Harbhajan Singh 2/40)
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