Melbourne Cricket Club and Seven Stars Cricket Club faced off in the CCL Premier Division Finals at the beautiful Whitestone Park. The stage was set for what was anticipated to be a strong battle for CCL supremacy.
Melbourne consist of a very young and talented squad knew they were going to have their hands filled with the very experienced Seven Stars team led by Vijai Seonarine (Napp), Sarmad Muhammed and Nadir Mohammed, three guys among the best in the region.
But, as was proven all year long, the young Melbourne squad, led by stalwart Rajendra “Tall Boy” Ramlall, was very confident going into the game.
Melbourne Captain Rudhir won the toss and it was a quick decision to bat first. Dehan and Arif opened the innings and started things rather quickly, putting on 42 in 6 overs before Dehan was first to go due to a magnificent catch by Sarmad. Junel joined Arif and together they batted well, scoring steadily until the 18th over when Junel fell for 32 and the score at 101. With decent contributions from Badsha (15), Sonu (17) and Rudhir (19), Melbourne were all out for 178 in the exact 35 overs. Arif top scored with 47.
Bowling for Seven Stars, Sarmad, probably the best leg spinner in the country, was awesome as usual, taking 3 for only 17 off his 7 overs. Richie also had 3 wickets from his 7 overs yielding 32 runs.
CCL President Lesly Lowe did very well in addressing the teams at half time and presenting bats to Arif and Vijai Seonarine for their excellent performances during the season.
Knowing the 179 target was a little less than anticipated and no room for errors, Melbourne changed their opening bowling tactics, opting to give the new ball to 21 year old Anindo. The move paid off huge dividends as the youngster cleaned bowled Khan in the very first over, removed the dangerous Vijai Seonarine in his second over via an excellent catch by Junel and then Sarmad in his third. After 17 overs Seven Stars were struggling at 71 for 6 and the scent of victory was in the Melbourne camp.
The supporters’ early celebrations were halted and things became tensed as Seven Stars started to fight back. Habib (42), Boyce (24) and Richie (21) certainly made things very interesting and the huge crowd was treated to exactly what they came out for, an exciting Premier Finals. In the end, Seven Stars fell short by 7 runs.
Melbourne’s bowling was led by Anindo (4 for 38 off 7 overs), Arif (2 for 18 off 7 overs) and Sajib (1 for 21 off his 7 overs).
It was truly a well played, tense cricket game. The huge crowd was surely not disappointed.
The Commonwealth Cricket League is 30 years old this year. Never was there a better final than this one.
Congratulations to both teams for displaying great sportsmanship. There were no losers but only one Champion….Melbourne CC!!