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Vijay Merchant XI claims The Sportstar Trophy

By Our Special Correspondent

MUMBAI, MAY 30. With 18 points from three matches Vijay Merchant XI won the 18th The Sportstar Trophy (under-19) Mumbai Cricket Association's selection trial tournament. The `player of the tournament' award went to Khandu Rangnekar XI all-rounder Shoaib Shaikh.

Merchant XI drew its third league match against Vijay Manjrekar XI and picked up five first innings points. Replying to Manjrekar XI's first innings score of 308, Merchant XI made 480, thanks to some consistent batting by its middle order batsmen. Captain Parag Madkaikar made 75, Ankit Chavan 76 and Varon Kansara 39.

Former international umpire Piloo Reporter gave away the prizes.

"The The Sportstar Trophy is a stepping stone for the under-19 boys. Three-day cricket is original cricket. It tests the players' nerves, temperament and knowledge of the game. Staying at the wicket is important. If a batsman bats for two sessions I would be satisfied. There was a time it appeared that rival teams had to get a High Court order to remove Sunil Gavaskar from the middle,'' said Contractor in his speech laced with touch of humour.

MCA's junior selector Bharat Nadkarni said the selectors were not totally satisfied with the players' performances. "There were six league matches and 24 innings and what we saw was only three centuries,'' said Nadkarni.

The scores: Khandu Rangnekar XI 308 and 135 (Murtuza Hussain three for 39, Kartik Gangadaran five for 29) drew with Dattu Phadkar XI 255 and 160 for nine (Murtuza Hussain 51 not out, Sunil Waghela 37, Pratik Kar four for 44). Rangnekar XI 5 and Phadkar XI 3.

Vijay Manjrekar XI 331 and 7 for no loss drew with Vijay Merchant XI 480 including 32 runs penalty (Devraj Raut 97, Kinjal Patel 48, Parag Madkaikar 75, Ankit Chavan 76, Varon Kansara 39, Parag Khanapurkar 44, Ahmed Nizam four for 126). Merchant XI 5 and Manjrekar XI 3.

Final positions: 1. Merchant XI 18, 2. Manjrekar XI 13, 3. Khandu Rangnekar XI 11, 4. Dattu Phadkar XI 6.

Man of the match: 1. Siddharth Chitnis, 2. Harshad Bhojnaik, 3. Raunak Sachdeva, 4. Parag Madkaikar, 5. Ankit Chavan, 6. Rohan Raje (Rs. 1,001 gift voucher each); Best fielder: Devraj Raut (Rs. 1,000 in memory of former MCA office bearer Bal Mahaddalkar); Player of the tournament: Shoaib Shaikh (Rs. 15,000 worth cricket kit from The Sportstar, Ramakant Desai crystal Trophy worth Rs. 5,000 from The Sportstar and a bat worth Rs. 7,000 from Hemant Waingankar, MCA, managing committee member).

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