NEW DELHI: Sunil Ramesh rose to the occasion as he played a great knock of 93 to help India retain Blind Cricket World Cup title after beating arch-rivals Pakistan by two wickets in a thrilling final played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in UAE on Saturday.
Indian had previously won the title in 2014 after beating the same opponents at Cape Town, South Africa.
Chasing a huge 308-run target in 40 overs, India romped home in the penultimate over of the match. India started off their chase in a cracking manner racing to 111/1 after 15 overs but soon lost two quick wickets in the form of run-outs to be at 116/3 after 16th over.
Accolades poured in for the Indian team with Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulating the team for their achievement. “Congratulations to our cricket team for winning the 2018 Blind Cricket World Cup! They make the nation proud and inspire every Indian with their game as well as phenomenal attitude. True champions!,” Modi wrote on his twitter handle.
Sunil and skipper Ajay Tiwari, who scored a fine 62, then took the responsibility and took India’s total to 190/3 after 25 overs. India, who lost Ramesh, were 271/4 after 35 overs. Ramesh was cleaned up by Amir Ishfaq.
India stuttered towards the closing stages of the game after they lost Ajay followed by two hasty dismissals but in the end held their nerves to win the final.
Put into bat, Pakistan amassed 307 for eight in 40 overs, courtesy some useful contribution by Badar Munir (57), Risayat Khan (48) and captain Nisar Ali (47).
For India, Deepak Malik and Rambir took two wickets, while Sunil Ramesh snapped one. Pakistan reached 200-run mark in 27 overs after losing five wickets.
India, who are the defending champions, defeated Pakistan by seven wickets in their group match on January 13.
Pakistan made it to the final after defeating Sri Lanka by 156 runs while India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets to book their place in the final. India, who are favourites to retain the title, have remained unbeaten in this tournament.
The Pakistan Blind Cricket Council has invited ICC CEO David Richardson, former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas and former Indian wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani to witness the final.