Geneva T20 Cup 2019: a thrilling edition

 

Winner of the tournament: Geneva Sri Lanka Cricket Club
Most valuable player of the tournament: Andrew Hale
Most valuable player of the final match: Mura Wafa

 

Seven games planned during a cloudy and very rainy weekend, only one rained off. A match won by a single run, two centuries scored in a day by an exemplary captain, 275 runs piled up in an innings, stumpingS off pace bowling, a zillion dropped catches, no broken fingers, a lot of laughs and cheers… all concluded by a magnificent final in which participants put up a total of 435 runs on the scoreboard for only 6 wickets down. This Geneva T20 Cup 2019 saw it all!

Tossing a coin to see who’ll get the riches | @alcos images

Geneva Sri Lanka CC (GSLCC) emerged victorious after a hard-fought campaign. Despite the absence of some of their most prolific players, they instilled so much heart into the game that the lack of stars ended up easily compensated by the will to win.

It all started on a Saturday morning at the Bout-du-Monde with a victory of just one run. Title holders Geneva CC gave up too many extras and dropped a couple of crucial catches. That led GSLCC to accumulate a great 195 for 8, thanks to a brisk and sharp half-century from Majuran (54 runs in 29 balls) and some good leather knocking by Ravi (47 runs in 32 balls). Geneva CC retaliated too. Leo – the man of the hour – scored an impressive 83 runs whilst he was being backed by Simon (40 off 23) who nearly made it until the end, only to be dismissed by Wadood at the finishing line. 10 runs were needed by Geneva in the last over with one wicket in hand. Three top edges gave doubles (and perhaps a winning boundary without the rain?), but Ravi did the job and managed to give GSLCC a precious victory.

In the meantime, Geneva XI Stars hosted CERN CC in a run-fest match, where the former scored 275 for 5 and the latter chased with 232 for 7. It started quite well for CERN though as they dismissed the opening pair in the third over. Cards were quickly turned as Lalit and Raja generated a gargantuan 114-run partnership, followed by another huge 84-run partnership between Raja and Arjun (83 runs off 39 balls for the youngster!). CERN then came back with a vengeance in the name of M. Hale, the first man to score a century in the history of the Geneva T20 Cup. Aided by Amir Khan (53 off 40) and Nelson (20 off 11), Andrew Hale just blasted his way through with a 49-ball 104. Not enough to win the match though…

Andrew repeated the same amazing feat by scoring another hundred a couple of hours later at the Bout-du-Monde this time. Because of the rain, the match against hosts GSLCC was cut short to 15 overs per team. The match between XI Stars and Geneva was abandoned due to the dangerous conditions on the ground. But the bad weather did not prevent CERN to score an impressive 157 runs, thanks to Andrew who finished the innings undefeated with 103 runs on the board. GSLCC came back hard and took advantage of the feeble bowling and numerous dropped chances of their adversaries. Only Andrew stood out by taking 2 wickets for just 17 runs in 3 overs. Majuran scored again another fifty, assisted this time by Roshan who stayed until the end with a 45 not out. The target was chased with 5 balls remaining. Tight game.

On Sunday, it was game on as Geneva CC absolutely needed to win against CERN with a good margin in order to have a run rate potentially superseding XI Stars’s. Mission accomplished as Geneva restricted the visitors to 105 runs for 8 wickets down. Andrew could not show his fireworks this time as Geneva’s bowling attack was on point the whole time. Ali took 3 for 13 and Vikram only conceded 6 runs in 4 overs (including one dismissal). CERN then started quite then by eliminating Idrees and Anser in 8 balls at the beginning of the innings. Leo and Simon again stepped up, this time assisted by Ali. The target was reached in just 9.2 overs. On the other side of the river, XI Stars won the match against GSLCC in a very tight contest. They grabbed the win with 2 wickets in hand and two balls remaining against a weakened GSLCC side that fielded with only 9 players.

@alcos images

The final game was played at the Bout-du-Monde under very bad conditions. With Geneva and CERN out, GSLCC and XI Stars were fighting for the trophy. GSLCC’s captain Mounir won the toss and decided to field. XI Stars started superbly and with total agression thanks to Lalit’s impactful 83 runs. He partnered with Raja and Waleed, who also played an important role by rotating the strike and hitting an occasional boundary. Roshan kept the wickets astutely by stumping two batsmen off medium pace bowling and Idrees shattered stumps at tremendous speed on two instances. XI Stars completed the innings with an excellent total of 217 runs for 4 wickets. That was quite a tough target to reach in such conditions.

Nonetheless, the spirit of cricket was lifting GSLCC that day as their batsmen showed maturity, class and sublime timing. They managed to chase the target in a very calm and steady manner, with a few nervous moments of course. Safe Arjun’s tight spin bowling, GSLCC really benefitted from inconsistent lines and lengths in XI Stars’ bowling performance.

@alcos images

Majuran (52 runs) scored AGAIN another half-century. A very important one. If Andrew had not cumulated two centuries, 3 wickets and 3 catches (undoubtedly the best all-round figures of the tournament), the trophy would have gone to Majuran for sure. On the other end, Mura (56 runs) played the role of an anchor by staying on the wicket, rotating the strike and punishing the bad balls. It was a great innings for the young man who showed some serious nerves. That earned him the deserved title of the man of the match. Finally, all of that could have not been possible without Roshan’s senior role (62 not out). The Melbournian demonstrated what leadership skills are and how communication is important between batting partners. Victory was GSLCC’s with 5 balls still in hand.

Congratulations to Geneva Sri Lanka Cricket Club for winning the Geneva T20 Cup for the very first time!

Idrees taking a crucial wicket at a crucial time | @alcos images

 

Tournament results on CricHQ