Karnataka clinched the Nagesh Trophy, marking a significant milestone in the Men’s National T20 Cricket Tournament for the Blind 2023-24. The thrilling final, held in Nagpur, saw Karnataka defeating Andhra Pradesh by nine wickets, ending a 20-year wait for a national title. This victory not only showcased the exceptional talent of the visually impaired cricketers but also highlighted the spirit of resilience and determination that defines the sport.
Setting the Stage: A Formidable Challenge
Andhra Pradesh, known for their dominant performance throughout the tournament, set a challenging target of 237/5 in their 20 overs. With in-form batters like T. Durga Rao and D. Venkateswara Rao at the helm, Andhra Pradesh displayed commendable skill, setting the stage for an intense finale. Captain T. Durga Rao’s stellar century propelled the team to a formidable total, putting pressure on Karnataka to deliver an extraordinary response.
Karnataka’s Remarkable Chase
Faced with an imposing target, Karnataka’s start was less than ideal, losing an early wicket in the opening over. However, the setback did nothing to dampen the spirits of the Karnataka team. Sunil Ramesh, alongside Gudadappa, orchestrated a stunning 186-run partnership that shifted the momentum in Karnataka’s favor. Sunil Ramesh’s explosive innings of 149 runs off just 67 balls was a spectacle of sheer talent and determination, guiding Karnataka to a historic victory with two balls to spare. His outstanding performance rightfully earned him the Player of the Match title.
Celebrating Excellence: Awards and Accolades
The tournament not only celebrated the triumph of Karnataka but also recognized individual brilliance across different categories. In the B1 category, Naresh Tumda (Gujarat), in B2 Dunna Venkateshwara Rao (Andhra Pradesh), and in B3 Sunil Ramesh (Karnataka) were honored with the Player of the Series award. The awards ceremony saw the winning team receiving a cash prize of INR 1,04,000, while the runners-up were awarded INR 80,000. Individual players’ contributions were also acknowledged, with the Player of the Series and the Player of the Match receiving cash prizes for their exceptional performances.
A Tribute to Vision and Dedication
The Nagesh Trophy, named in memory of Late SP Nagesh, Founder President of the Cricket Association for the Blind in India and Founder Trustee of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of visually impaired cricketers. Organized by the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI), Cricket Association for the Blind in Vidarbha, and Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, the tournament underscores the importance of inclusivity and empowerment in sports.