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VPS Cricket 2005

Press Release by Rajiv Ramaratnam

The same article appears on Lokvani.com.

The semifinals and the finals of the most prestigious Cricket championships in New England, the 2005 VPS Cricket Tournament, were held on the 10th of July 2005 at the Joy Handon fields in Quincy. In the finals the Tigers of UMass Lowell outclassed the South Shore team Lagaan, to claim the coveted trophy for the second straight year. UMass remains undefeated in this Tournament.

Twelve teams participated in this tournament spread across the 18th of June through the 10th of July. They included Baba (Lowell), UMass Lowell, Phillips(Andover) , Leopards(Attleboro), Mansfield Cricket Club, Lagaan(Quincy), Jaguars(Quincy), NECPS(Burlington), Strikers(Quincy, Attleboro), Boston Braves(Norwood, Quincy), Waltham 11 and Khilladi(W. Bridgewater, Boston, Sommerville,Burlinton, Quincy). All matches except the finals were set to 12 overs. As rightly pointed out by umpire and great supporter, Chetan Anand, almost all matches in this tournament were nail biters. Some matches even had unpredictable endings.

In the opening match of these championships, when Team Leopards took on Phillips Andover, it posted a score of 54. When Phillips batted next, there was one ball to left be bowled in the game and Team Phillips needed a winning target of four runs. It was then that batsman Sree hit a towering six to clinch that game for Phillips.

In another qualifying match, Team UML set a target of 101 in 12 overs. Team Jaguars, fought valiantly and looked like they were going to cause an upset, but ended up scoring 89. They received a standing ovation for their efforts. In yet another qualifying match, team Killadi, chasing a target of 49, made a score of 55 in 6 overs, thanks to five sixers by Nikhil Wadhwa. In another memorable match, Team Baba, one of the best teams in the tournament posted a total of 105, a record in this tournament to beat the Boston Braves.

In one quarterfinal match, set to score a target of 74 against the Leopards, Team UMass Lowell won the game by scoring two runs in the last ball of the match. The biggest upset in the tournament was in the quarterfinals when Waltham 11 upset last year’s runner up Team Baba, by scoring 59 and limiting Baba to 51.

In one semifinal, Team Lagaan, the winner of these championships in 2003, outclassed Waltham 11. Eijas of Lagaan hit towering sixes to post a total of 63. The Lagaan bowlers then dismissed Waltham 11 for 59. In the other semifinals, defending champions, UMass Lowell crushed Killadi by first scoring a mammoth 86 and then dismissing Killadi for 45.

The finals featured UMass Lowell against Team Lagaan. The finals were set to 15 overs. UMass Lowell batting first scored 79, thanks to some excellent batting from Prahalad and Sabeeh Ehsaan. The former was awarded the ‘man of the match’ trophy and the latter took home the ‘man of the series’ award. The UMass Team then restricted the Lagaan Score to 67 to bag its second consecutive trophy.

The VPS Cricket Tournament is the most well organized set of matches in the Boston area, attracting teams from all of New England. The venue of the Tournament, Joy Hanlon Fields is a picturesque locale overlooking the backwaters of Quincy. Several Indian Restaurants from Quincy and Cambridge provided sumptuous meals for lunch for each day of the tournament. There was commentary for every game. Volunteers worked tirelessly wearing several hats like commentators, umpires, scorers and caterers for the entire tournament. On the final day, children from VPS families also put up a dance performance to entertain all those present. A special match for women on this day of these championships was another highlight of this event.

Tents were set up to provide spectators and participants relief from the searing heat. The high temperatures and occasional showers of the past weekends did little to dampen the spirits of the participants and scores of spectators who showed up for this event. VPS games committee chairman Nikhil Wadhwa and Umpire Chetan Anand require a special acknowledgement for their efforts in making this event an indisputable success. This tournament underlines the fact that nothing unites the South Asian community like Cricket and that Cricket is here to stay in the New England area. Please visit www.vps-international.org for updates on cultural events that VPS has planned for the rest of this year.


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