Columbus Indiana Cricket Club (CICC) has won the Titan T20 Cup for the first time. Having won Midwest Cricket Tournament (MCT) 35 title twice in the last five years, the T20 championship was the one remaining title they needed to complete the circle. Having come painfully close to winning the trophy, CICC remained adamant on fielding two teams into the competition. However having tasted success in MCT 35, T20 had to be given a fair shot and CICC fielded their strongest side for the tournament.
Final # 1: Columbus Indiana Cricket Club vs Buckeye Cricket Club
Captain Joydeep Chakrabarti won the toss and decided to field first, wanting to use the wet ground conditions. BCC were riding high on their current form and were set to get a good start against a potent bowling attack. Chirag Ambaliya started the attack with Rahul Bharadwaj. Both started swinging the ball out and created problems. Lucky Patel played well and got some boundaries on the beautiful Ceraland Park outfield. Kirti got out trying to accelerate the scoring after tight bowling from Avinas Mani the left-armer.
With runs difficult to come by, spin was introduced and immediately Joydeep picked off in-form batsman Nikunj Patel. Nakul also holed out in the deep trying to accelerate the score. BCC was in danger of getting bundled out for less than 100, but Ravi Patel played some fantastic strokes on his way to 35 off 27 balls. In the end, BCC’s innings ended at 122/7 in the allotted 20 overs.
Ravi Patel, 35 (27 balls – 1×4, 3x6s) and Lucky Patel, 30 (33 balls with a single four) were the top scorers. Captain Joydeep Chakrabarti was the leading wicket-taker – 3 wickets for 15 runs in 4 overs – including one maiden, and supported by Rahul Bhardwaj – 2 wickets for 19 runs in 4 overs.
In reply CICC started things at a brisk pace, but Ameya Oke fell in the second over with only 13 on the board. In came Abhinav Pande to join Ram Velamakanni at the crease and both started scoring runs freely, and at good pace. They ran aggressively between wickets and took the score to 71-1 in 8 overs. Ram fell lbw to Nakul Patel’s off spin. Abishek Muralidharan joined Pande at the center and immediately took control of things. He hit four sixes in his knock of 42 off 20 balls, with a strike rate of 210, and finished the game.
Final # 2: CICC vs Cleveland Royal Challengers
The second finals game saw Cleveland Royal Challengers (CRC) up against the CICC, with CICC – Titans winning by 76 runs.
CICC – Titans, Captain Joydeep Chakrabarti won the toss for the second time in the day and elected to bat first.
Running high on form with their unbeaten 2016 season, CICC was set to make a big score. With the sun out, the ground had dried up, resulting in a lightning fast outfield. Guha who came in for Ameya in started things in an attacking mode. He notched up seven beautifully hit boundaries in no time, and raced to 32 off 18, before falling to Dhrudeep.
Inform Abishek was sent in to open due to his heroics in the previous game, and he did not disappoint, collecting 52 runs off 33 balls before falling to Hitarath with the score at 106-2 in 11 overs. Ram was out in the middle to hold the inning steady, however in came Joydeep who just went berserk from ball one. He smashed three huge sixes in the first four balls he faced. One of the sixes went into the trees over mid-wicket and CICC quickly moved to 154 in 14 overs. Eventually Joydeep got out caught to a deep fielder with the score at 30 runs in just 9 balls, striking at a rate of 333. Monil and Ram hit a few sixes before getting out. Harish and Nande finished the inning with great running between wickets resulting in 202-8 in 20 overs.
CRC opener Samip Shah was the leading run-scorer in the tournament and a lot rested on his shoulders. He started off in style but fell to Rahul Bharadwaj. With him gone, CRC was not able to put any pressure on CICC, and crumpled at 125-9 in 20 overs. Meet Doshi played well for his 45 runs but could not get his team closer to the target. CICC ended up using 10 bowlers and finished the inning with a huge celebration for winning their first Titan T20 cup. Abishek Muralidharan was named play-off MVP for his fantastic batting display.
Best Batsman: Samip Shah – CRC – 398 runs
Best Bowler: Joydeep Chakrabarti – CICC – 25 wickets
Best Fielder: Baljinder Singh – DMICO – 11 catches