2014 New York Kings Championship
Memorial Day is known to be the start to the summer, and Mother Nature blessed us to enjoy three days of cricket. New York Kings Association held its annual Memorial Day tournament, a knockout three day tournament in which 16 teams participated. Many teams travelled from NJ and Philadelphia to play at Cunningham Park in Queens, NY. Majority of the New York teams consisted of stars from the Commonwealth Cricket League. The winning prize included $2,000 for champions and $1,000 for runners up.

New York City Cricket Club that won the tournament.

Last year’s champions, Kings 11 Cricket Club suffered an early exit in the Quarterfinals, and that meant, there would be a new champion. The semi-finalists included a young squad of cricketers from Commonwealth Cricket League in New York City C.C., NY United, Friends C.C., and Jamaica Super Kings. All four teams equally balanced, fought hard for a spot in the finals.

The first semi-final was between New York City C.C. and Jamaica Super Kings, in which the former batted first and put up a daunting target of 184. New York City C.C. scored 180+ for the third consecutive match of the tournament, led by their top order, inclusive of Aown Iqbal, Umar Alizai, Bilal Shahid, Guneet Cheema, and others. Jamaica Super Kings had a shaky start, as Guneet Cheema ran through their top order. The only batsman to show some resistant was caught off the bowling of one of the finest left arm spinners in Commonwealth Cricket League, Mohammed Suleman. New York City C.C. had two left arm spinners, Mohammed Suleman and Ibtisam Javed, who took more than 15 wickets combined in the tournament.

The second semi-final was between NY United and Friends C.C. This was a low scoring match, with NY United only posting 127 in the first innings, the pick of the batsmen was young Syed Sreejon. Friends C.C. had a manageable target of 128, however, slow batting in the middle overs, and some beautiful leg spin bowling by NY United led to the downfall of Friends C.C. Only 7 runs were required off the last over, and Friends C.C. failed to manage more than 2 runs.

It was time for finals, with only a 10 minute break allotted to each finalist. New York City C.C. won the toss, and immediately decided to bat, knowing that their batsmen were in form from the last three matches. The run machine, Aown Iqbal, missed out, and was bowled early to a ball that stayed very low. The middle order again showed resistance, batting around Umar Alizai, both Guneet Cheema and Bilal Shahid showed aggression, hitting sixes in regular intervals. New York City C.C. was able to amass a total of 147. NY United started briskly with 17 off the first two overs, and just as they looked to build on the start, New York City C.C.’s pacers, Guneet Cheema, and Irfan Mohammed brought the game back, taking four wickets in the first 8 overs, with the score only at 42. NY United required 100 runs off the last 10 overs, with only 5 wickets in hand. As soon as the spinners were introduced, NY United found it tough to hit boundaries, and were bowled out for 106.

Although this tournament is not as well-known as some of the bigger tournaments in NY, it was very well organized, with live streaming, good umpires, and a devoted organization, led by Balagopal Nair and New York Kings Association. The competition will only get tougher next year, and New York City C.C. will be back to defend their trophy!