by Phalgun Balasubramaniam (Thunderbird)
Last year the Purdue Boilermakers and the Indiana Hoosiers took their celebrated rivalry to a new sport, cricket, at the first American College Cricket Midwest Championship, unoffically refered to as the “Big 10 Championship”.
This past Saturday, Indiana University and 2010 Midwest champions Purdue University were invited by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to open the city’s first cricket field. Mayor Ballard also invited American College Cricket “to bring the Big 10 (Midwest) Championship to Indianapolis” next year.
American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah said,”We will seriously consider Mayor Ballard’s offer to host the Midwest Championship, and will support his efforts to make Indianapolis a cricket destination. Bringing 10 Colleges to Indianapolis to play cricket will provide a tremendous boost for the game and Mayor Ballard’s initiative.
We hope the community supports Mayor Ballard, and he wins a new term so we can assist in the plans for a turf wicket and eventually a stadium.”
The Indianapolis World Sports park in Indianapolis resembles the Woodley cricket field in LA with a blanket of green surrounding the field and assures an action packed game with the quick artificial turf.
The morning started with ribbon cutting by Mayor Ballard, followed by a corporate match between two of the largest employers in the Indianapolis area, Dow AgroSciences and Eli Lilly.
Slowly and steadily there was a good inflow of supporters for both the American College Cricket teams as the match between the College teams was about to start. Purdue Pete made a visit to cheer the Boilermakers and was greeted by all the young cricket fans with great joy.
Nestled in a peaceful site in Indianapolis, the World Sports Park’s cricket field is a treat to the player and spectator. The lush green grass is a sight to see when standing either on the 22 yards or as a fielder waiting to throw yourself at the ball.
Purdue Boilermakers elected to bat after Captain Srikar Bhagavatula won the toss.
The Hoosiers were pumped up and they hit the ground running picking up 3 early Purdue wickets. It was only in the 4th over that some sanity was bought to the Purdue innings after Faraz Arif and Zyre Qazi steadied the ship. The two left handers went all guns blazing with sixes and fours soon and IU were left pondering as to what next to do.
After scoring a six Zyre Qazi was bowled for 32 (off 18 balls) and there was some respite again for the IU players. Faraz Arif, a centurion in last years Midwest Big 10 Championship, smashed 57 in 29 balls,to take Purdue to 164 in 20 overs. The Hoosiers fielders were kept on their toes and showed some good fielding, but the massive hitting left Indiana a huge total to chase.
Indiana began the run chase in style, scoring at a brisk pace. After the initial scare to the Boilermakers, a few wickets stopped the Hoosiers progress. Purdue’s bowlers bowled at good lengths and varying the pace at the right times to not only contain the flow of runs but also pick up wickets at regular intervals.
One of the Indiana batsman put up a stiff fight scoring 50+ but the wickets hurt the run scoring and finally Indiana University were bundled out for 134 with 2 balls to spare. Hrishikesh Jayakumar was the pick of the bowlers for Purdue picking up 3 crucial wickets.
Purdue won the Mayor’s Challenge, and have now taken both games in this annual rivalry, but kudos to the Indiana University cricket team for being a part of such a major event. Purdue defends its Big 10 title this weekend at the 2011 Midwest Championship.
Looking forward to many more cities recognizing the scope for cricket like Mayor Greg Ballard, a highly decorated former Marine, and Indianapolis ,and create opportunities tofurther American College Cricket’s missionof“Bringing back the Original American and Canadian Game – Cricket”.