The organizers pulled off a successful weekend of national (Western Division) T/ 20 cricket at lovely, aesthetic Victoria Park, Edmonton (Aug. 27/28). Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia were the participating provinces. The late-summer weather was ideal for the tournament with temperature hovering around 26 * throughout and clear, blue skies all around.
The weekend saw high-level competition, exceptional athleticism and hard-hitting cricket. Three national selectors were on hand (Angus Melder, Keith Deonarine and Chris James), scouting new talents and they may have found a few. Also in attendance were national analyst Rathan Moorthy, Cricket Alberta president Manzoor Chaudhary, Edmonton and District Cricket League president, George Robinson, National Umpire Coordinator, Ken Patel, and a host of others.
The tournament final was, for all intents and purposes, a showdown between old rivals Alberta and British Columbia, featuring many fine national stars like Hamza Tariq, Khurram Chohan and Jimmy Hansra as well as Tyson Gordon and Grant Broadhurst. In the final match, Alberta won the toss and elected to bat first and after scoring at a torrid pace in excess of 10 runs an over, after the first 4, slowed considerably to manage a paltry 128 in their allotted 18 overs (matches reduced to save time as some players had to catch a plane ride home).
BC knocked off the target with relative ease in only 13.2 overs. Man-of-the Match and Man-of-the Series, Gagan Dhillon (66 n.o.), made the Alberta attack look like a walk in the Park. Towering sixes were hit all over the ground. It was a rare treat for the many fans present. BC will now travel to Toronto for the national championship in September. Alberta were clearly disappointed with their effort on this day.
Match Referee Angus Melder managed the proceedings with verve, professionalism and aplomb. George Robinson worked tirelessly and many long hours (in the run-up to, and during, the tournament) to get the ground, the food and other logistics in place. Anil Velji was the lone scorer and did a very good job keeping an accurate account of the stats.
Despite the setback, Alberta cricket has come a long way in recent years with many outstanding young rising stars getting national recognition. Ravin Moorthy, Rathan and Chris James have been instrumental in making this a reality. The West is now on par with the East in this aspect of Canadian cricket.
The umpiring standard was outstanding, and the correct decisions adjudicated at 97.5 percentile. The roster included Hafeez Rehman, Dilip Pachigar, Sanjeev Kad and Ron Saywack, some of the best in Canada. There were no major incidents and the players were highly appreciative of the effort the men in red and black put in.
- The players also relished batting on the new VP strip and look forward to returning in the future;
- Gaurav Kumar (BC) made an impression with the bat and could be on the Canadian squad soon.
- Edmonton, as always, were great accommodating hosts.