ASA enjoys a great beginning winning its first tour of the year: TSC Challenger Trophy 2016. Spirits were high as the Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA) Cricket boys returned from the holy city of Tirupati beginning 2016 with a tournament win.
The boys carried the same enthusiasm as they set out on their first outside of the state tour this year to Tirupur, Tamil Nadu. The boys set out in the evening on the 8th for their tournament, scheduled between 10th and 17th of January 2016.
The TSC Challenger Trophy 2016, a South India U16 Inter-Academy Invitational tournament was organised by the renowned Tirupur School of Cricket (TSC). The tournament was closely contested between well-known Cricket Academies from Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana apart from the hosts and the ASA cricket team.
Eight participating teams were split into two groups with the ASA Cricket boys lined up against hosts Tirupur School of Crick, Muthoot Cricket Academy (MCA), Cochin and CG’s Hub of Cricket (CGHC), Mysore in Group A while Group B saw Adarsh Sports Club Academy (ASCA), Goa, Bangalore Youth Cricket Academy, St. John’s Cricket Academy (SJCA), Hyderabad and Shine’s Cricket Academy (SCA), Kerala.
After arriving early on the 10th, the ASA boys began the group stages with a win against MCA, Cochin and another win over CGHC, Mysore the following day. However their last group game proved to be a close contest as the hosts TSC almost chased down their target of 148 set by the ASA boys but eventually settled for a draw.
The TSC Challenger Trophy 2016 winner was to be decided after the top two teams from each group faced off in the semi-finals. Group A saw table toppers, ASA and hosts TSC qualify for the semi-finals while Group B had ASCA and SJCA making reach the tournament’s penultimate round.
The first semi-final had SJCA bat in the 1st inning but succumb with 79 on the board, giving the ASA boys an enticing sniff at the final berth, only after a 5-wicket match-winning chase.
The Second semi-final was a showcase as hosts TSC put up a huge total of 178/5 in their allotted 30 overs, the ASCA made it a tough contest, eventually suffering an 8 wicket loss, lacking composure in the death, 31 runs short of their target, giving the hosts an opportunity to go into the final with the crowd backing them.
The final was an interesting see-saw contest between hosts TSC and ASA with the latter batting in the first innings. They were put under tremendous pressure with half their side back in the pavilion for just 60 after 13 overs. A 6th wicket partnership of 40 made a stitch in time to salvage, what seemed like a walk in the park for the hosts, eventually managing 139 all out in 29 overs.
The host seemed to be cruising with 30 for 2 at the end of the first 6 overs, to which the spinners stepped in to pull the game back for ASA with some miserly overs and some crucial and timely wickets to restrict the hosts to 89 for 9 in their 30 overs to register the win.
The ASA boys’ performances throughout the tournament earned them individual awards, apart from the TSC Challenger Trophy 2016, with Shakir collecting the Wicket-Keeper of the Tournament and spinner Sai Karthik taking Man of the Match in the Final and Bowler of the Tournament, along with Praveen Kumar Reddy being awarded Man of the Series.
A proud, ASA coach Yugandhar Reddy said “The boys have won awards for their performance but the tournament win and the awards will serve as a confidence boost, more importantly, the tournament has given them some much-needed competition exposure for the upcoming season”