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Wadia takes ELP Masters' Cricket Cup crown

Mumbai ELP Law Firm Cricket Masters 2010
Mumbai ELP Law Firm Cricket Masters 2010
Wadia Ghandy won the Mumbai ELP Masters Cricket Cup 2010 yesterday in a reversal of last year's final against Economic Laws Practice's (ELP) powerful batting line-up.

The Wadia Ghandy team chased down ELP's strong target of 66 runs in only five overs through a steady stream of singles and doubles, interspersed with strategic boundaries to seal the deal.

Wadia captain, batsman and senior associate in litigation Sagar Divekar said: "It was a high target but I think we played sensibly…

"It was a team effort and everyone plays and enjoys themselves."

DSK Legal, ELP, Nishith Desai & Associates (NDA) and Wadia Ghandy triumphed over 16 law firm teams in the group stages where five overs of five balls each were played.

The knock-out rounds each consisted of six overs of six balls.

The semi-finals saw Wadia catch up with DSK's 43 runs, after an initial neck-on-neck race, but after a series of fours Wadia swept past DSK's scores in only four overs.

In the second semi ELP laid down a huge target of 74 runs for NDA, which ultimately proved to be just too much for the side that closed at only 53 after six overs.

{/ppgallery}ELP therefore went into the finals as favourites after winning the competition both times when it was held in the last two years and boasting a starting batting line-up consisting of former Ranji Trophy player Kirat Damani and managing partner Rohan Shah.

Indeed, ELP batted first and Damani ruthlessly hit the first two balls for four, with Shah laying down another four in only the first over to score 14 runs.

ELP's batters continued to probe Wadia's field with and found the spaces with monster hits, although Wadia's fielders and bowlers gradually adjusted and managed to restrict the weaker hits to singles or zeros putting the batters on the back-foot.

With an average team run rate of around 2 by the third over, Damani then drove the ball for a massive six straight past the bowler, followed by another three zippy fours in the fourth over.

With 36 runs to his name tournament rules forced Damani to bow out at that point and he was replaced by ELP associate Niren Shethia at the crease with 54 runs at the beginning of the fifth over.  

While Shah and Shethia continued to test the field and put up a few strong hits, the Wadia field restricted them to only another 12 runs, leaving the Wadia lawyers with a target of 67 to win.

Wadia's batters Amit Manubarwala and Sagar Divekar opened up undaunted for their side, with Manubarwala starting with a four and following up with a second later in the first over, followed by a dangerous high-ball that was just metres away from being caught out.

While Wadia's pair did not quite find the gaps in the defence they nevertheless made the most of nearly every hit and laid down consistent singles and doubles with the occasional boundary.

At the end of the second over Wadia was well on target with 23 runs and continued to make ELP's field run but still failing to really connect for the big hits by the end of the third to reach 28.

ELP at that point had the field locked down despite Wadia's batters keeping up the pressure. Wadia only unlocked the stalemate later in the fourth over with a huge six for Manubarwala chased up by a four that whipped straight past the ELP bowler.

Sealing ELP's fate by the end of the fourth was another six that Manubarwala smacked over the ropes, taking Wadia up to 56 with 12 balls to go, needing only 11 runs to win.

From then on steady batting and a boundary by Wadia took the team up to 65, with two more runs required to win by the end of the fifth over.

Divekar, as he had throughout the match, took up the challenge and hit a huge six past the field with five balls to spare to win the trophy against the ELP team, which had defeated them at the same finals last year.

ELP's Shah said: "For us it's really about the camaraderie we can get going. There are no other occasions for lawyers. Instead of competing for clients and billable hours we can compete for runs, which is a great change."

Tournament director Praveen Hansraj said: "Everyone was happy, sporting and played very well. There was no incident in two days we had played and everything went as expected."

Wadia batter Manubarwala picked up man of the match in the finals having retired after scoring 36 runs, while ELP's Damani won man of the series.

A total of 16 teams participated over last Saturday and Sunday (16 and 17 January) at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana, with Advani & Co, ALMT Legal, NDA and AZB & Partners playing in group A; A S Dayal & Co, Crawford Bayley, ELP, Talwar Thakore & Associates playing in group B; Desai & Diwanji, DSK Legal, Majmudar & Co, Kanga & Co in group C; and J Sagar Associates (JSA), Khaitan & Co, Wadia and Trilegal in group D.

ELP has organised the tournament for the past two years running and Wadia's win ends the firm's one-year winning streak.

CORRECTION: Apologies for several unintentional typos in the first published version, which we have now corrected.

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