Kochi Royals lift St Mary’s Veterans’ Premier League title
Dubai: Kochi Royals emerged as the champions of the fifth edition of the St Mary’s Veterans’ Premier League at the Dubai Sevens ground defeating Malabar Warriors by eight wickets on Sunday.
The two-day tournament, contested by six teams made up of 75 former Kerala State Ranji Trophy players, was organised by Kerala Overseas Cricketers (KOC) under the auspices of the Dubai Cricket Council and backed by Kerala Cricket Association.
The next edition of this event will be held in Thodupuzha in Kerala to generate interest in the game from remote venues.
Kochi, led by K..A. Sunil, restricted Malabar to 99 for six in 15 overs. Malabar had started off well through Hanish Babu, who plays for Kuwait, hitting a quick 29 from 31 balls before a muscle cramp forced him to retire. Opener Reeje Mohan maintained the run flow but Sundar had the in-form Sunil Oasis caught and bowled for 16. Liju Ravindran struck twice to remove CTK Mashood (14) and M. Sohrab (1) while Mohan got run out for 30 from 31 balls.
Chasing the total, Kochi got a good start with UAE’s popular cricketer Harish Menon picking the gaps regularly. Though Usman Kutty trapped opener K.A. Sunil leg before for 20, the opening pair already put on 41 runs. Sundar batted cautiously and took the team to 93, just seven runs short of the target, when Mashood dismissed him for 16 runs. Menon remained unbeaten on 41 off 45 balls with one six and three boundaries to ensure the victory with five balls to spare.
Speaking to Gulf News after receiving the winners’ trophy, Sundar who captains KOC team and is a prominent Kochi player said: “We have proved to be third time lucky. We were two times finalist of this tournament and really delighted to have our hands on the trophy. Winning it in Dubai makes it sweeter and our win was absolutely a team effort with everyone stepping in when needed. “
Both the semi-finals were nail-biting thrillers, Kochi Royals defeated J.K. Malabar Tigers by one wicket off the last ball while Malabar Tiger defeated Kochi Tuskers by one run. Jayesh George, the secretary of the Kerala Cricket Association, gave away the trophies.
Final: Kochi Royals bt Malabar Warriors by 8 wkts. Malabar Warriors 99 for six in 15 overs (Hanish Babu 29rtd, Rejee Mohan 30, Liju Ravindra 2 for 22) Kochi Royals 102 for 2 in 14.1 overs (Harish Menon 41n.o, Sunil KA 20).
Semi-finals: Kochi Royals bt J.K. Malabar Tigers by one wkt. J.K. Malabar Tigers 104 for 5 in 15 overs (M.P. Sorab 44, Gopakumar 20) Kochi Royals 105 for 9 in 15 overs (Liju Ravindra 35, Libson Mathews 2 for 19, Suresh Kumar 3 for 18, Vinan Nair 2 for 14).
Malabar Warriors bt Kochi Muthoot Tuskers by one run. Malabar Warriors 95 for 9 in 15 overs (CTK Mashood 30n.o, Sunil Kumar 2 for 16, Murugan 2 for 29). Kochi Tuskers 94 in 14.5 overs (Mohammad Afzal 23, Hamza Kunju 2 for 22, CTK Mashood 2 for 17, M. Sohrab 3 for 16).