By Sudharsan Ramarao
Off all the 10 teams in the Capital District Cricket Association, one team caught the eye of most of the cricketing enthusiasts in the region even before a single ball was bowled. And that’s because a bunch of young, talented and exciting men from Guyana got together and forged a team called “Good Vibes” – indicating their very intention from the get-go. The team was loaded on talents with the likes of the Effervescent Akshay Homraj, the Efficient Mahesh Dassram, the wristy Renny Jainabi, the wily Mathew Persaud and the man for the big moments Kelvin Sawh forming the core of the team.
Leading all these young talents was Steven Mangal, another young man who was equally talented but also with a cool head. Together, they were supposed to roll teams over with their mighty batting. And what a way they did by batting oppositions out by posting huge totals, by chasing middling totals under 10 overs and by using their superior fitness to get runs on the ground. When everything else failed, they used their collective will to eke themselves out of tough situations. Courtesy of all these virtues, Good vibes finished on top of the table and sailed in to the final in which they were the heavy favorites. Facing them in the finals was another first-time team who punched above their weight every time they stepped on the field and caused more upsets that most people never saw coming. The Gujarat Lions was the dark horse of the entire league and they proved their worth by upsetting the then champions Knights of Albany in the semifinals. The final was a fitting clash between a team that was aiming to prove everyone right and a team that was aiming to prove everyone wrong.
Winning the toss on an overcast day with a pitch that was damp due to overnight rains, Good Vibes skipper Steven Mangal took the gutsy call to bat first. Their opening Sensation Akshay Homraj got things going right away in the only way he knows. And that’s by hitting sixes. Sixes that were huge enough to land way beyond the field. known to throw the kitchen sink whenever the ball is in his zone, Akshay Homraj put the Lions bowlers on the backfoot by hitting 3 of those sixes in the first 3 overs. But the Lions responded by picking his opening partner Rennie Jainabi in the 5th over. Kelvin Sawh, then joined Akshay in the middle.
But their partnership didn’t last long either as Akshay lost his wicket while going for another biggie. Good vibes made 54 in their first 7 overs. With the damp pitch not conducive to stroke play and the outfield being slow, the Good vibes continued to put the foot on the gas. Mahesh Dassram made an attacking 16 that included a 6 and a 4, Steven Mangal made 19 that included a huge 6 with numerous doubles. Giving these 2 company was Kelvin on the other end who himself played a sublime innings under tough conditions to score 41 that included 4 boundaries. The Lions got quick wickets in the middle overs and stopped the flow of the runs. While the Good vibes made 88 in their first 10 overs, they only made 61 in the last 10. They finished on an above par 149 on a tough wicket. For the Lions Mansij picked up 3 wickets while Manav and Nikhil picked up 2 wickets a piece.
Chasing 150 to cause another upset, the Lions started the chase with intent. Their openers Ajay and Mehul Goswami played positively from the start. But the partnership didn’t last long as Mahesh Raghunandan picked up Mehul Goswami in the 3rd over of the chase. But the other opener Ajay kept the chase going by taking chances. He hit 2 huge sixes and 2 fours but was also lucky enough to see 2 of his catches dropped. Courtesy of his hitting the Lions made 73 in their first 10. The wily medium Pacer Mathew Persaud then picked up back to back wickets of Kalpesh and Kenny to pull back the Lions.
The Lions skipper Bhavik Dalsania then joined Ajay in the middle in the 11th over. Ajai who was all the while playing so well then got run out due to a mix up with his skipper. Nikhil and Bhavik then took the game deep. Bhavik Dalsania, the Lions skipper who is known to be a clean striker of the ball, kept the scoreboard moving with singles and doubles. He also cashed in on the boundary opportunities whenever it was there. But the Lions skipper was soon castled by his compatriot Steven Mangal when he was on 23. The Lions lost a few more wickets and stumbled to 137 for 7. They needed 13 off the final over to win but they could only manage 6 due to some excellent death bowling by the Good Vibes bowler Saif. The Lions put up a good fight and came so close of another upset. But what stopped them was the collective will of Good Vibes who became the Champions of the T20 electric league while Kelvin Sawh became the Man of the final. Regardless of the result, both teams proved what they were trying to prove nonetheless.