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Reetinder pilots Airlines to title

Smiles and a feeling of bonhomie enveloped the Indian Airlines camp as they drubbed ONGC by 45 runs to emerge winners in the Sahibzada Ajit Singh Cricket Tournament title at the Guru Govind Singh College of Commerce ground on Monday.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 02:41 IST

Smiles and a feeling of bonhomie enveloped the Indian Airlines camp as they drubbed ONGC by 45 runs to emerge winners in the Sahibzada Ajit Singh Cricket Tournament title at the Guru Govind Singh College of Commerce ground on Monday.

Put in, Indian Airlines slammed 260 for six in the stipulated 40 overs. The architect of the victory was former India all-rounder Reetinder Singh Sodhi, who scored a 97-ball 107. During his stay, he clobbered eight sixes and four boundaries.

After openers Vijay Dahiya and Ravneet Ricky were sent back early by the ONGC bowlers, Sodhi steadied the ship and gathered 148 runs in 23 overs with Kuldeep Singh (69 off 78 balls). By the time the pair got separated, they had already put their team in a safe position.

Some hefty blows towards the end by Deepak Joon (19 off 18 balls) engineered Indian Airlines end their innings on a formidable score. ONGC, in the absence of regular bowlers like speedster Amit Bhandari and offie Suhail Sharma and Sarandeep Singh failed to contain the onslaught initiated by Sodhi and Kuldeep.

A target of 261 was never going to be easy for ONGC. However, they started the chase on a positive note and raced to 44 in less than six overs. The introduction of spinners seemed to have slowed the momentum.

It led to a wide scramble in the middle overs. Wickets started to fall in a heap and suddenly they were tottering precarious ly at 125 for five.

Most of the ONGC batsmen failed to convert good starts into a big score.

Skipper Mohammad Saif also had an off day and wore a despondent look after the match. Right-arm spinner Ajit Chandela was rewarded with four wickets for bowling a tight line.

Sodhi winning both the man-of-the-match and man-of-the-series awards was unanimous. Suhail Sharma was declared the best bowler.

Brief scores: Indian Airlines 261 for six in 40 overs (R S Sodhi 107, Kuldeep Singh 69), ONGC 215 all out in 37.3 overs (Amit Mishra 59, Mohd

Saif 39; Ajit Chandela 4 for 32, Gagandeep 2 for 51, Rana 2 for 47).

First Published: Jan 31, 2006 02:41 IST