Records Galore at FutureTech-Vibha Cricket Cup
"Watching Vibha Cricket was more fun than watching the World Cup this year," said a spectator, summing up the experience of one of the most exciting sports cum charity event in the Atlanta Indian community.
Few things harness the passionate involvement of Indians as the game of cricket! The Vibha cricket tournament, an annual tradition in Atlanta, is no different. It not only provides entertainment and excitement for players and fans, but also serves the charitable cause of Vibha—to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children.
The rules of this year's tournament played at Georgia Tech were the same as last year. But any similarity with previous years ended there. The FutureTech-Vibha Cricket 2007, the 9th annual Vibha Cup, saw a lot more thrills and broke several records.
Over two weekends in May, more than 450 players from fifty-four teams (the biggest Vibha Cricket Cup ever) from all over Atlanta and other cities—Chattanooga, Columbus, Huntsville—played their hearts out to chase the trophy in this knockout tournament.
Chief Guest, Mr. Kenneth Cutshaw, Honorary Counsel for India in Atlanta, was present to grace the occasion. "I truly believe in the cause of Vibha of helping underprivileged children lead a better life, and encourage all participants to support the cause," he remarked while formally inaugurating the tournament.
With so many teams competing, the tournament was spread over two weekends. The initial rounds got off to some predictable outcomes. Some teams came purely in support of the cause and had fun. One of them, the King-Konks, even came along with professional cheerleaders. From the second round onwards, the competition became fierce and the tournament kept getting more serious. A couple of hattricks by Yogesh Bharadwaj from the Blue Panthers and Manish Gopaldas from Rebels United were noteworthy.
One of the special mentions of the earlier rounds was the match between Predators and Decatur Dragons. The innings from Predators created four new records: Highest total for a team (150), highest score by an individual (98 not out by Azeem Kudchikar), highest number of sixes by a team (18) and highest number of sixes by an individual (Azeem hit 13 sixes).
Another exciting match that kept the players and the spectators guessing till the last ball was the one between Martin Maniacs and Marietta Mayhem. Not only the scores but also the number of wickets lost by the two teams were tied. The winner had to be decided by the team that scored more at the end of five overs.
The first semi-final clearly demonstrated the domination of Blue Panthers who defeated their semi-final rivals, Alpharetta Monsters in a low scoring match. The second semi-final was one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. Martin Maniacs defeated one of the favorites of the tournaments, Purple Bulls, scoring 91 runs with the loss of three wickets with classic innings by Hamid Tirmizi. "Our team this year is represented by four nationalities--South Africa, Pakistan, Australia and India. For us every game is a bonus, and the tournament is a bonus to help needy children," said Karun Krishnaswamy, the veteran captain of Martin's Maniacs.
And then there was the final. Blue Panthers, a veteran of the tournament had got close to the trophy but had never won it before. This time they played like champions right from the beginning. Martin Maniacs, a team who clearly enjoys its cricket, won a lot of close and hard fought matches to reach the final. Blue Panthers were the one to bat first and once again displayed their dominance, crossing the 100 mark to set a target of 105. Martin Maniacs finally ran out of steam and could only score 48 in the allocated 10 overs against some extremely fast paced bowling.
Arpit Bhoti of Blue Panthers and the Man of the Match of the finals said, "We were determined to win this year's Vibha tournament for two reasons—firstly, this was the only title we were deprived of after having reached semi-finals and finals for the past few years and were desperate to win this one; and secondly, we wanted to win it as a bidding farewell for our long-time friend cum player cum coach—Naresh Naik as he leaves for India for good. We played as a team rather than as individuals, and I think that's the reason we won all the games convincingly. Last but not least, we would like to thank Vibha for all the hard work they put in organizing this grand scale event."
Sravan Vellanki of FutureTech presented the trophy for FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2007. While giving the trophy, Mr. Vellanki emphasized that he was extremely pleased to be associated with Vibha and encouraged players to support the cause. Hope Dental group Man of the Series trophy was presented by Dr. Asha Vellanki to Hamid Tirmizi. Avion Systems Man of the Final trophy was presented by Kanchana Raman, CEO of Avion Systems to Arpit Bhoti. Indsource Best Batsman to Azeem Kudchikar and Pyramid Best Bowler to Anubhav Jain were presented by Moni Chandran, CEO of Indsource.
The organizer of the tournament, Srinivas Vemulapalli said in his closing remarks, "We are very happy to announce that the goal of raising $25,000 was met with this tournament. The net proceeds from this tournament alone would support the annual budgets of two of the forty projects currently supported by Vibha". He concluded by thanking the players and sponsors, FutureTech Consultants, Primus Software Corporation, Dosa Houze, Semafor Technologies, Delta Information Systems, IndSource, Froots, Khabar, OmniSoft, EIS Technologies, Hope Dental Group, Avion Systems, Citibank and ProActive Resouce Inc.
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