Infinity Cricket hosts Invitational T20 & Western Warriors Win Grand Final by 4 runs
Date : 07-03-2014
5th March, 2014
On Sunday 2nd of March, the historic Junction Oval in Melbourne played host to an Invitational T20 match featuring several international stars and a former Big Brother housemate as the curtain-raiser to the tournament Grand Final in the afternoon.
The 4th Annual Infinity T20 Summer Tournament Grand Final was between two time champions the Western Warriors and defending champions the GCC Rebels.
Both matches went down to the wire – with the Invitational match being decided by a margin of 14 runs, whilst the Grand Final by just four runs. The Western Warriors triumphed in the end to make this their 3rd Infinity Cricket Summer Tournament win to collect the winners’ cheque.
The Western Warriors posted a score of 8/144 off their 20 overs with starts from several of their batsmen. Harpeet Singh made 43, whilst Matt Crawford was the best of the Rebels bowler with figures of 3/10.
The Rebels seemed determined in their chase and kept up with the asking rate for most of the match. However, the crucial wickets of the aggressive Henkel and Sri Lankan first-class player WSD Fernando dented their scoring in the middle stages. But Michael Jephcott, the Rebel’s best batsman in the tournament held firm and passed his half-century.
Lakuallah Khan bowled extremely well for the Warriors conceding only 14 runs off his four overs despite fighting a back spasm and a groin injury. He gave away just four runs in his last over to ensure the Rebels needed 30 runs to win off the final 12 balls.
That looked highly improbable when the equation became 25 needed off the last over to be bowled by Mubashar Hassan, the UK minor country import. But Jephcott had other ideas and hit consecutive sixes to bring it to a four off the last ball for a tie or a six for a win. In the end, only two runs were scored off the final ball giving the Warriors the win by the closest of margins. Michael Jephcott finished with a valiant unbeaten 74 off 57 deliveries.
The day was a celebration of cricket, with several international cricketers involved in the Invitational match. Sri Lankan all-rounder Kaushalya Weeraratne captained the Infinity Green side. He last played for Sri Lanka in 2009 and has represented his country in 15 ODIs and 5 T20Is. His career highlight includes dismissing Sachin Tendulkar for 93 in an Asia Cup match in 2000. The Infinity Blue side was to be led by Ryan Ninan, who has played in the Indian Premier League for Bangalore Royal Challengers in 2011. However, due to a late injury he was unable to play but watched on from the sidelines. The side was captained by Infinity Cricket founder, Navneet Ganesh.
The Invitational also featured some Associate Nation stars. One was PNG top order batsman Lega Siaka. He has built a reputation of being a supremely talented batsman averaging over 60 in List A cricket and at the age of 21 is showing maturity and class way beyond his age. One of the highlights of the invitational match was seeing Siaka bat against Weeraratne & Darrel Brown – a former West Indian fast bowler. He smashed 17 runs off Brown’s first over and then followed that up by plundering 19 runs off Weeraratne. He made 46 off just 26 deliveries.
Papua New Guinea Cricket recently gained ODI status and is the number 1 ranked East Asia Pacific nation and 19th in the World, so we will no doubt be seeing and hearing more about Siaka in the near future.
Patrick Matautaava was the other Associate National player that took part in the match. He is the fast bowler from Vanuatu who is playing this season locally for Roxburgh Broadmeadows CC in the VSDCA and leading the wicket tally. In the Invitational match, he had the opportunity to bowl to Weeraratne, who went on to score 55 off 39 balls. Vanuatu also has a long association with cricket dating back to the early 1900s, but it has only been in the last few years that cricket is beginning to take prominence.
Shariq Khan was born in Pakistan and played for Fob United in the Infinity Tournament. He was the best bowler in the match taking 5/17 off four overs for Infinity Green. In a deadly spell of bowling he took a three-wicket maiden to stifle the Blue team’s chase.
Earlier in the morning, Infinity Green batted first putting on an imposing score of 6/182. Infinity Blue in reply found themselves in deep trouble at 7/86. However a 60 run partnership between Hesham Syed and Ari Ritz set the match up for an exciting finish. Syed remained unbeaten on 55 off only 30 deliveries – but in the end Infinity Green secured the match by 14 runs.
The Red Bull Wiings girls were around as was their customizable DJ truck adding to the atmosphere. DJ Rewind dished out a number of electrifying tunes in the morning and the cheer girls entertained the crowd with their skillful routines throughout the day.
This was most certainly cricket the way it should be. The players and spectators could not have asked for a better day and were treated to two brilliant matches.
Infinity Cricket’s next event is now the Winter T20 Challenge where team registrations will open shortly. The tournament is set to take place from August to September.
Infinity Cricket was launched in 2010 with a vision of ‘Connecting People Through Cricket.’
Infinity Cricket organizes the largest ‘open’ T20 cricket events in Melbourne: the Summer Infinity T20 Cricket Tournament & Winter T20 Challenge.