Getting Bowled Over at Vibha’s Super 16 Cricket Tournament
Cricket fans in Atlanta have had a quite a busy season this year after witnessing the 2006 Future Tech Vibha cricket tournament and the India West Indies series from the Caribbean, that ended with an Indian victory for the first time in 35 years. Vibha took the opportunity to get the elite together again for a knock-out tournament. The top 16 teams from the Future Tech Vibha tournament were invited to compete for the Primus Software – Delta Info Sys Super 16 Trophy on July 8th, 2006.
In the first round of games the Blue Panthers, Alpharetta Monsters, Martins Maniacs, Purple Bulls and Hitmen were some of the winners. In the quarter finals, the Blue Panthers, Georgia Tech, Rebels United, and Alpharetta Monsters played some close matches and thrilled the spectators with their wins.
In the semi-finals, Arpit the captain of the Panthers, led them to victory over GT and proved that their earlier loss this year was an aberration. They batted first and scored a very defendable 89. This seemed especially defendable in the heat with temperatures well over 90. GA Tech started reasonably well with a couple of sixes thrown in for good measure. But suddenly with some smart bowling and poor batting, wickets tumbled and in no time Tech was left with one wicket and more than 30 runs to get.
The stage was set for a good final between the Panthers and the Monsters. Both teams were well roasted and couldn't wait to get this done with. But obviously, in what was turning out to be a pattern, another last ball finish was on the cards. The Monsters batted first again and predictably Ajay held an end up until he received support from the other side in Prasad and the two of them had a good partnership and scored 47 and 20 respectively and Monsters had a total they could fight with.
The Panthers had to get 86 to run away as the champions. Yogesh, Venkat and Neenad got them going and it seemed everything was set for an easy win. With13 runs to go and 2 overs remaining, Ajay was out of overs and Prasad had one more. Leading from the front, Monster's captain Sanjay's hunger for a victory clearly showing, bowled a fantastic line and got Venkat off the first ball.
With their tails up and fielding sharper after that shot in the arm, Sanjay conceded just 4 runs in that over. The Panthers needed 9 runs to win. "Just avoid the big hit. Singles are okay", the Monsters yelled. 2 singles and balls later, there were 4 balls to go and 7 runs to win.
The pressure was on the Panthers to get a boundary. 3 balls and 7 runs to get. But the clearly tired and rattled Panthers, missed 2 more times and managed just a leg bye. Anish facing the last ball, took a swing one more time on the last ball and managed one run.
The Alpharetta Monsters took their victory and the Panthers lost by 6 runs. Sanjay Narla, the captain of the Monsters, said as he raised the Primus Software – Delta Infosys Super 16 Vibha Trophy, "The semis and finals could have gone either way, but our experience helped us. We've seen these situations many times before. Our bowling crumbled before and we lost few matches after being in a winning position including the 2004 VIBHA final against the Blue Panthers. But this time we were a determined bunch and fought hard till the last ball. Ajay and Prasad were phenomenal, but it was a total team effort and we had some extra ordinary performances at crucial points. This was a dream come true and we are very delighted to win the tournament finally after a long wait but as my teammates say... this is just the beginning. We are going to really bring the same effort and intensity next year as well".
The Man of the Tournament went to Ajay of Alpharetta Monsters, Best batsman went to Amit of Alpharetta Monsters and Best bowler went to Hanif of Blue Panthers.
Sponsors of the event were Primus Software Corporation, Delta Infosys and Andy's Grill. Vibha and their volunteers once again hosted a great tournament and raised funds for a worthy cause.
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