As the cold breeze started blowing north, the 2015 Kerala Cricket League (KCL) USA cricket season came to an end. The inaugural KCL season in the USA made 2015 a year to remember in the minds of all Malayalee cricket fans in the United States.
The small idea that was formed in the minds of a couple of young cricketers grew into the biggest sporting event in the Malayalee community. The 2015 season of KCL had seven participating teams from around the Tri-state region, battling it out over the course of six months and 46 matches. The teams that took part in the inaugural season were Flaming Tigers Cricket Club, Long Island Tuskers, Millennium Cricket Club, New York Kings, NYMSC Packers, Staten Island Strikers, and Westchester Challengers.
The four teams with the most number of points played in the knockout semi-finals. Flaming Tigers, Millennium Cricket Club, Westchester Challengers, and Staten Island Strikers were the teams that made it to the semi-finals. Flaming Tigers knocked out Staten Island Strikers while Millennium Cricket Club took out Westchester Challengers in the semi-final.
Westchester Challengers eventually ended up beating out Staten Island Strikers to win the third-place trophy. The thrilling grand finale of the season took place on September 19. In a fitting final, Flaming Tigers beat Millennium by two wickets to be crowned as the first ever KCL Champions.
Batting first, Millennium could only put up 130 before being bowled out in the 24th over. The top scorer for Millennium was Nicku Sebastian (22 off 15) while Thomas Paul was the star with the ball (3 for 16) for Flaming Tigers. Chasing 131, Flaming Tigers kept losing wickets at regular intervals, but eventually hobbled over the line. Arun Gireesh (29 off 28) was the top scorer for Flaming Tigers. Binu Koppara and Thomas Raju took three wickets each for Millennium. Thomas Paul from Flaming Tigers was adjudged Man-of-the-Match in the final.
A glittering presentation ceremony followed the match with several prominent figures from the Malayalam movie industry and community attending. The chief guests were Jacob Gregory, Jayan M. Joseph (Malayalam Movie Actors), Sajith Nair (CEO, Global IT), Shijo Poulose, Jemson Kuriakose (Asianet), Sibi David (Kala Vedhi), Shybu Varghese, Sunil Tristar (Pravasi Channel), Stanley Kalathil (FOMAA), Joseph Idicula (Sangamam).
The guests handed out several individual and team awards during the presentation ceremony. The KCL committee members announced that the inaugural season of KCL USA was a grand success and they are looking forward to the 2016 season. Next year promises to be bigger and better with more Malayalee teams.
The glittering success of KCL USA is the result of hard work from all the committee members, participating teams, and its players. KCL USA would like to thank Lesly Lowe, President of Commonwealth Cricket League for his continued support and cooperation. KCL USA would also like to thank all the cricket loving fans in the United States for the love and support they bestowed on the players and organizers.
KCL Committee members 2015
President Jins Joseph NYMSC Packers Vice President Asish Thomas Millennium Cricket Club Secretary Sabin Jacob Flaming Tigers Joint Secretary Josh Joseph NYMSC Packers Treasurer Shaiju Jose Staten Island Strikers Joint Treasurer Christo Abraham NY Kings PRO Jojo Kottarakara Staten Island Strikers PRO Justin Joseph Millennium Cricket Club Game and Umpire Coordinator Swaroop Boban Long Island Tuskers Game and Umpire Coordinator Arun John Thomas Flaming Tigers