Punjab XI with the Infinity Cricket Trophy after winning the Grand Final by 5 wickets
The Grand Final of Infinity Cricket’s 5th Annual Melbourne T20 tournament was held on Sunday 8 February at PEGS Sporting Fields in Keilor Park. This was preceded by an ‘All-Star’ exhibition match involving players with international, first class and premier cricket experience as well Infinity Cricket’s best players.
The day started off with an ‘All-Star’ exhibition match featuring three leading international players from Papua New Guinea – Lega Siaka, Tony Ura and Norman Vanua as well as players who have represented Sri Lanka (Tyrone Gamage), UAE (Shorye Chopra) & Denmark (Ajay Chawla) in First Class & List A cricket. Some of the best players from the Infinity Cricket Tournament as well as Premier Cricket also had the opportunity to play in this match, in line with its tagline of ‘Connecting people through Cricket.’
The players were split into two sides – Infinity Orange and Infinity Yellow. The Infinity Orange side was led by Tyrone Gamage, who has played 92 first-class matches for Sri Lanka, while the Infinity Yellow side was led by Kumar Sarna, who plays 1st XI Premier Cricket for Hawthorn Monash University and has represented Australia at the under-19 level. Infinity Cricket’s founder, Navneet Ganesh also played in the match representing the ‘Infinity Orange’ side.
The Papua New Guinea international players led by superstar Lega Siaka all made an impact on the match. Lega Siaka was recently called up to represent Cricket Australia’s Prime Minister XI match against England. Siaka playing for Infinity Orange, scored a brisk 37 ball 40 comprising seven fours. Tony Ura entertained whilst batting for Infinity Yellow as he hit 32 off just 20 deliveries, and fast-bowler Norman Vanua picked up 3/28 off his four overs to impress with the ball. Infinity Yellow defeated Infinity Orange chasing down a target of 148 with 7 wickets in hand in the 19th over.
The event had the presence of several dignitaries. The Consul General of Papua New Guinea Sumasy Singin, the Vice Consul of India (Trade & Culture) Anjan Bhamik and his wife as well as Brimbank Administrator Jane Nathan were all present during the day.
Consul General of Papua New Guinea Sumasy Singin who travelled from Sydney congratulated Infinity Cricket on its contributions to grassroots cricket and spoke about the rise of cricket in PNG, ‘Cricket is like music. It brings communities and people together. I would like to commend Infinity Cricket for their efforts with this event. PNG cricket is on the rise and our boys need more opportunities like this.’ The views were echoed by Brimbank Administrator Jane Nathan, who was the first female board member of the MCC. ‘Navneet and his team should be congratulated for a fantastic event today, which started off as a vision in 2010 and is still going strong today.’
Vice Consul Anjan Bhaumik and wife at the Grand Final
The tournament Grand Final followed straight after the All-Star match. It was contested by Southern Lions and Punjab XI, two teams that had remained undefeated in the tournament.
In a pitch where batting became increasingly difficult as the day wore on, it was Punjab XI that emerged victorious. They won by 5 wickets chasing a score of 104 set by the Southern Lions. Punjab XI skipper Ramneet Dhindsa was the player of the match for his efforts with the ball (2/14) and bat (37). Rohitpal Sandhu from the Southern Lions was the awarded the ‘Most Valuable Player’ of the Tournament for scoring 214 runs and picking up 10 wickets. The awards were presented by Vice Consul of India Anjan Bhamik.
The day featured DJ Rewind, who entertained the audience with a variety of uplifting songs. There were also NBL cheer-leaders, the Red Bull Wiings team as well as plenty of food and drinks to make it an enjoyable day of cricket for spectators.
Infinity Cricket was founded in 2010 by Navneet Ganesh. It has organised a series of ‘open’ T20 tournaments in Melbourne and Brisbane over the years. The 2015 Tournament featured 15 teams, over 300 players and a total of 38 matches spread across three regions in Melbourne.
Published in The Indian Sun, Sydney