The Ninth Edition of the annual US Open T20 cricket tournament just ended at the Central Broward Regional Park and was again hailed as a tremendous success.
For a week, there was a hive of activity as teams, officials and fans were flying into the City of Lauderhill, hoping to see great cricket from the many top international T20 stars that were invited to take part in the tournament by Cricket Council USA (CCUSA), the parent body for the US Open T20.
In the end those leaving with the biggest smiles were the Somerset Cavaliers who emerged champions after defeating the star-studded US All Stars in the finals on Sunday night. Batting first, the US All Stars made 158/8 and in response Somerset with cavalier batting from Xavier Marshall reached their target for the loss of only three wickets. The Jamaican got an unbeaten 64 which was warmly greeted by the Jamaican diaspora who showed for the matches.
The US Open this year was played from October 25 to 29 and days before there were problems finding hotel rooms in the City. What also made a great difference this year was the fact in addition to the 14 senior teams, CCUSA hosted for the first time a youth tournament, in the U-13 and U-15 categories. A total of 12 teams showed for this segment of play. In all 26 teams were in town for cricket and together with fans and family, they took up around 720 rooms in total over the five days of the tournament.
This time the numbers went up because chairman of CCUSA, Mahammad Qureshi decided to host alongside the cricket, a ‘Miss US Open Cricket’ pageant. Over 40 girls from around America were invited to take part in their event and they were modelling from the opening ceremony, leading up to their grand show on the night of the finals.
The girls created quite a stir at the opening with the many fans showing a great appreciation for their performance. In addition to hotels being booked up, stores also benefited with foreign players spending an average of US$4000 during the trip. There was a shopping frenzy during this period, plus restaurants and convenience stores also benefited. The fans and players coming from out of State, also rented cars to move around, so rental car companies were also in the mix. At one point during the tournament some fans were saying at the popular rental company Alamo was sold out during this period.
CCUSA purchased an average 350 meals a day at lunch and the same number for dinner. This meant that total catering for this event at the ground was over 1700 meals. CCUSA spread the catering around to benefit as many businesses as they could have. This catering was for officials, players and media, so the 6,000 or so fans spread over the five days would have also purchased food from the trucks and also businesses around the area.
The opening ceremony for the cricket was attended by Qureshi, County Commissioner Dale Hollness, Cricket Hall of Fame chairman Michael Chambers, CCUSA vice-chairman Amin Markatia and a host of other top level dignitaries. Chambers in his address said that Qureshi has shown a great vision for cricket in these parts and CCUSA is the best run organization when it comes to cricket in the United States.
Also present during the period of play was International Cricket Council (ICC) Project Manager for the USA Eric Parthen who heaped praises on CCUSA for assisting in the development of cricket.
A tidy sum was spent by investors to bring in world class players the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons, Rayad Emrit, William Perkins, Rusty Theron and others. This added richness in terms of the quality of the cricket and what was very important was the fact that the young American players were given the opportunity to rub shoulders with these guys and share a dressing room.
Jaskaran Malhotra a US player said he learnt a lot from being exposed to these experienced guys and he himself got an opportunity to assist young players. The right playing for the US All Stars slammed two centuries and this gave the crowd hope for US cricket.
CCUSA immediately met the Monday after the tournament to plan for the 2018 event which promises to be even bigger and better.