This past weekend, WMCB organized what was called The Freedom Cup, a T20 competition. A departure from previous Independence day weekend games where four teams were grouped up according to nationality, this time they did it sort of like in the IPL. Four captains were chosen and they had a draft session where players were picked by the captains. These teams were called Patriots, Stars, Liberty and Revolution.
The T20 competition began and ended on the same day, with two knockout matches and a final. The knockout games were held at Mark Twain and Oxon Hill with the final scheduled at Oxon Hill. The participation was good and most of the pedigree players from WMCB teams took part. With that preview, let us have a looky look at the match-ups themselves and what went down, shall we?
First knockout at MT: Patriots (captain Nasir) Vs Stars (Captain Viral)
Both teams boasted of quality game changers with no team being particularly superior on paper. It all had to come down to who played better cricket on the day. Patriots, lead by Nasir (Crescent CC), won the toss and chose to bat first on a batting beauty. They lost a wicket to the very first ball but Fezan Butt (of Mavericks) played a stunner of an innings smashing everything and everyone out of sight literally. This writer took some old fashioned pounding. It seemed as though Patriots would bat Stars out of the match. Stars fought back well, however, to restrict the score to 155.
Stars started chasing in earnest but also kept losing wickets. Richard (from Gladiators) was the lone warrior for Stars as they just could not get that one big over that would take them home. They folded 20 runs short and Patriots deservingly made the final.
Second knockout at OH: Liberty (Captain Anirudh) Vs Revolution (Captain Prabhjot)
On paper Revolution was the weaker team IMO. However, this was a mighty close game that came down to the last over. Liberty started explosively scoring 82 runs in 10 overs but Revolution pulled it back in the last 10 to restrict them to a mere 129.
Revolutions kept themselves in the chase long enough for the ask to come down to 8 off the final over. A couple of consecutive sixes by Nohmi undid Liberty and found themselves within sight of the cup.
The Final at OH: Patriots vs Revolution
The conditions were testing for the finalists. The heat was stifling, upwards of 90 degrees and they had already played demanding first games. The team that held it together longer would triumph. Patriots batted first again and though Revolution did well for most of their bowling effort, they unraveled in the last 3-4 overs and conceded far too many. By the end of it, they were staring at a target of 146 to win the final, which was at one point looking to be not more than 130.
The Revolution batting never took off at any point of their chase. They were always behind and never put pressure on the Patriots bowlers and fielders to really scare them. As it turned out, it was they who blinked first and then kept on blinking until they found themselves lose by a big margin of 40 plus runs. Credit to them for having made the final but the final itself was pretty much one sided once they lost it in their death bowling.
So Patriots ended up holding the Freedom Cup aloft and also pocketed $600 as part of the winning prize. Congratulations to them, and a shout out to our teammates Ankit Aggarwal and Taran Dhupar who were part of the winning team, who I have no doubt, blew their share of the prize money on beer!. It was a fun day out for the league players, playing alongside others who would otherwise be their opponents and also being pitted against your otherwise regular teammates. Charming!
Players from WMCB who played in the Freedom Cup.
Patriots - Ankit, Taran
Stars - Viral, Sharath, Anil Bhai
Liberty - Shaunak, Rajiv
Revolution - Sameer