Date: Sunday 29th September 2013
The inaugural 2013 Infinity Winter T20 Challenge Grand Final was held on Sunday 29th of September at Fairbairn Park in Melbourne.
Victorious Secret, playing against Ahmadiyyah in the Grand Final emerged as the winners by 5 wickets in a tough game of T20 cricket.
In windy and seamer friendly conditions, Ahmadiyyah posted a total of 9/94. Extras were the top scorer with 27. Zeeshan Mahmood was the best of the Ahmadiyyah batsmen with 17. Only four boundaries were scored, as the Victorious Secret bowlers led by John Kulikowski gave nothing away.
Kulikowski claimed four wickets for 16 runs off his four overs to take his tournament tally to 17 wickets. Captain of Victorious Secret Sean Seaser chimed in with 2 wickets.
Chasing 95 to win, Jahan Zaib Athar provided the early breakthrough for Ahmadiyyah sending back Nuwan de Silva for a duck. Dinuka Jayasuriya & John Kulikowski then steadied the ship with a 47 run 2nd wicket partnership.
Ahmadiyyah fought back in the middle overs getting 3 quick wickets for just 7 runs to put some pressure on Victorious Secret and give them a few anxious moments.
However in the end, Victorious Secret had enough batting depth to see them home. Shahan Withanage (13*) and Dulanka Weraduwage (8*) ensured that Victorious Secret become the inaugural winners of the Infinity Winter T20 Challenge by 5 wickets and 11 balls to spare. The winning runs sparked off wild celebrations as the Victorious Secret players rushed on to the field to congratulate the batsmen.
John Kulikowski continued to carry the batting responsibilities for his side top scoring with a knock of 44 off 33 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes. His strike rate of 133 in trying and testing conditions when every other player found it difficult to put bat on ball highlighted once again the immense talents of this player.
Ahmadiyyah skipper Zeeshan Azhar was gracious in defeat saying that his side hadn’t put enough runs on the board and acknowledged John Kulikowski’s batting efforts. Zeeshan received a $100 Footlocker voucher on behalf of his team being the runners-up. Sean Seaser, the Victorious Secret skipper thought that his boys set their sights on the trophy right from the start of the tournament and had belief in their abilities. Seaser’s side received a cheque of $2000 courtesy of Infinity Cricket.
John Kulikowski was named the Player of the Series picking up 17 wickets and scoring 364 runs in 7 matches at an average of 52 with one century and two fifties. He ended the tournament with an astonishing strike rate of 159.65. He received a $100 clothing voucher courtesy of Biblos menswear.
‘Great to see the success that Infinity T20 has become and great to be a part of it. It really does bring people together through cricket (Infinity Cricket’s tagline being ‘connecting people through cricket’) Well done Navneet & hats off to you and your team.’
The Best Batsman of the tournament went to Ricky Solomons from the Melbourne Lions for scoring 146 runs and being the mainstay of his side’s batting. Daniel Bense, skipper of T20 Pterodactyls walked away with the Best Bowler award after picking up 11 wickets with best bowling figures of 3/8.
Bense known in the tournament as the ‘fiery South African’ brushed his on-field aggression aside to a bit of ‘white-line fever.’ ‘It was a great tournament leading up into the summer. It’s always good to play with your mates.’
Both Bense & Solomons received a $50 voucher courtesy of Biblos menswear.
Asim Ahmed from Ahmadiyyah was named as the best fielder in the tournament taking a total of 7 catches. He received a pair of batting gloves.
Earlier in the day, many of the tournament’s best players were involved in an All-Star Exhibition match. Infinity Orange was captained by founder Navneet Ganesh & Infinity Yellow by Game Development Coordinator Ravi Wickramaratne.
Infinity Orange struggled in favourable bowling conditions to be dismissed for just 50. Malinga Gonetilleke was the pick of the Infinity Yellow bowlers picking up 3/7. Infinity Yellow got off to a wobbly start losing their first four wickets for just 22 runs. However an unbeaten 29 run partnership between Hussain Attar and Malinga Gonetilleke guided Yellow to a comfortable win by 6 wickets.
Hussain Attar spoke after the match, ‘Firstly, to start off – the whole Desi Boyz squad (his team in the tournament) is very privileged to be part of this competition, and I am very pleased and happy to have been a part of this exhibition match. I really loved it. Enjoyed this tournament a lot!’
His batting partner in the exhibition match – Malinga Gonetilleke from T20 Pterodactyls also echoed his views: ‘Want to congratulate Infinity for putting a really fantastic tournament. It was a good game today – perhaps a little one sided,’ he said with a smile in reference to Infinity Yellow’s comprehensive win over Infinity Orange.
Brent Ryan, a 2012 Sports Management Infinity Cricket intern was the pick of the Infinity Orange bowlers conceding just 2 runs off his 4 four overs and picked up a wicket as well. He spoke of his experience, ‘Amazing day! First game for Infinity. Everything about the experience was spot on. The entertainment, the players, the energy was all great. It was my first game in a while, and it was a lot of fun!’
There was plenty of entertainment on the day. DJ Rush entertained the crowd with a mix of dance tunes, RnB, Hip Hop and he even squeezed in a few Bollywood & Sri Lankan numbers. All the players had their own songs when they walked out to bat or come on to bowl adding to the carnival atmosphere.
The Red Bull Wiings girls handed out drinks to everyone and there was an assortment of Pizza available for lunch.
‘It is great to see the passion players brought into this tournament. Cricket is alive and well. We have big things planned for Summer. If you have an interest for cricket, get involved in our next event,’ said Navneet Ganesh, founder of Infinity Cricket.
With the conclusion of a successful Winter T20 Tournament, the focus now shifts to Infinity Cricket’s 2014 Summer T20 Tournament. Team registrations are open now and the event will commence in January with the Grand Final played at Junction Oval on March 2nd.
Infinity Cricket was founded in 2010 by Navneet Ganesh, who was 21 at the time. The first tournament took place in 2011, and has since become the largest open T20 event specialists in the city. In 2013, over 650 players and 44 teams have taken part in the events across a Summer & Winter event. The tagline is ‘connecting people through cricket.’