By Ajit Nair
The end of summer brings out mixed emotions for a cricket enthusiast in New England when you are reflecting on the past season and looking forward to what holds for the next season. Recent surge in T20 Tournaments all over the world has emblematized the cricketing community in Massachusetts. The enthusiasts, the probables and the passionate from all over the state come together to play in franchise cricket teams owned by clubs for one such tournament nimbly named the Curry Cup which is organized by Boston Gymkhana Sports Club. It was played over 3 weekends at the Wrentham Fairfield grounds and Oct. 7th saw the grand finale of that tournament.
Eagle Cricket Club and the hosts BGSC Lions met in the finals on the bright afternoon of Oct. 7th, adversely to the forecast rain gods decided stay away until the full match was completed. Both teams were well poised with their players and support staff to make a great spectacle of the Final event. Eagle CC came into the finals by sweeping through the league table defeating all their opponents mercilessly. Lions lost once in their league so they had to play a few more matches to claw their way into the final. The semi-finals between Eagle CC vs Merrimack Valley CC and BGSC Lions vs Boston CC were easy wins for both teams.
Eagle Cricket Club was led into the finals by their experienced campaigner Nitin Mewada and Lions by Santosh Govindraj. Eagle CC won the toss and chose to bat. There were murmurs in the pavilion about fielding first. But, in big games runs on the board always helps and boy did their batsmen answer the captains call; Fazal Alam and Vedavyas opened the innings and with grit and galore they obliterated the Lions bowling. Making full use of the conditions they were off to a flyer and by the end of first power play they were 69/0. Lions tried to vary the bowling attack by introducing spin and pace in equal proportions but after the initial beating that their bowlers took the fielding became pretty ordinary with dropped catches and misfields. Fazal with his experience took full advantage of the situation and notched up a wonderful century and ended up 132 in 61 balls with 15 fours and 8 sixes. As T20 permeates boundary hitting to be mandatory, Veda scored 69 of 44 balls with 6 fours and 5 sixes. Eagle CC also put up a record first wicket partnership of 195 runs before Veda got caught on his off-drive in the 17th over. Fazal who was looking solid for a few more got out to a spectacular catch in the covers in the 18th over. There were few more boundaries in the innings to put up a mammoth total of 240/2.
Lions had to start cautiously if they had to chase down the total. However things didn’t go according to the script and they ended up losing their first wicket in the first over of Nitin on a full toss ball completely misjudged by the opening batsman trying to pull it with all his might. The first ball of the second over sent their other opener back and Lions into deep trouble at 1/2. Dilip Chavan and Pratik Dudhane tried to normalize things from there, the fifth and sixth over conceded 23 & 27 runs which took the Lions to 70/2 by the end of the first power-play. The street smart captain of Eagle CC made a bowling change and brought in Saptesh Sawant who took his career first hat-trick in the first 3 balls of his spell, that just blew a hole in the Lions middle order from which they could never recover. Saptesh got his first five-for and ended up a career best 5/8 in 3 overs. The Lions lower order just withered away like the leaves in fall and bundled up for 89 in 11.4 overs, losing by a record margin of 152 runs in a T20.
Then there was the exuberant winning celebrations on becoming the champions of the Curry Cup 2018. Fazal Alam was adjudged the MVP, Best Batsman and Man of the Final in the tournament. Saptesh Sawant found his trophy of Best Bowler, Anil Yedugani received his Best Fielder and Best Sportsman Spirit Trophies. That concluded the finals watched by a crowd of young, old, ladies and gents. Curry cup facilitated the cricket crazy South Asians to meet and chill with their friends and families while watching a top class game of cricket.