Dubai: Cricket for forty years and above is getting popular with Dubai Cricket Council (DCC) creating opportunities for this age group in a big way. Participation for the third edition of the ongoing DCC’s big forty tournament has increased and teams from this tournament are even flying abroad to play in 40 years and above tournaments.
Dubai Mammoths team recently participated in the Oerlikon Balzer Friendship Cricket Cup 2016 hosted in Mumbai and Pune. They even reached the final but missed lifting the cup by a narrow margin. This team, sponsored by SPF Realty, produced some fine individual performances with Ranjeet Chavan bagging the best batsman of the semi-final. He achieved a strike rate of 148.65 and is among the 30 best batsmen in the 40-plus group. Ranjeet, who also sponsors Mammoths as CEO of SPF, wants to improve his performance through more tournaments for this age group.
Top businessmen, journalists and even established doctors and engineers are now coming out to play for the different teams. Even renowned cricket coaches and players, who represented state teams in their country and have not been playing cricket have returned to the playing field.
Kerala Overseas Cricketers (KOC) team, whose majority of the players are based in UAE, have left to play for the fourth Friendship Cup to be held at Perinthalmanna’s new Kerala Cricket Association ground from November 26. This tournament, with the support of Kerala Cricket Association, has even inspired Kerala Veterans Cricket Association to start the first all-Kerala Veterans Premier League for ex-state players over the age of 40. The KOC team is being led by P.G. Sundar, an elegant left-hander who represented Kerala in Ranji Trophy in the 90s.
Dubai Mammoth’s all-rounder Shijil Balan produced a deadly spell of five for 14 in DCC’s Big Forty tournament at the Sevens ground. His spell guided Mammoths to a 20-run win over Petrotek. Cricket coaches C.T.K. Mashood and Biju Nair are consistent performers for their teams in such tournaments including Shiva Pagarani, the DCC official, who initiated such a tournament to ensure cricketers above 40 don’t stop playing cricket.
DCC Big Forty Tournament: Dubai Mammoths bt Petrotek Nucaf Tellicherry by 20 runs. Dubai Mammoths 146 for 6 in 20 overs (Indika Batu 31, Sunil Raheja 30, Murali 27) Petrotek 127 in 23.5 overs (Gay Alex 34, Sundar P 20; Shijil Balan 5 for 14, Shiva Pagarani 2 for 30, Syed Maqsood 2 for 29). Man of the match: Shijil Balan.
Petrotek Nucaf Tellicherry bt Dubai Rhinos by 21 runs. Petrotek 186 for 8 in 25 overs (Ajith Veeragodi 71, Shibu Nair 38, Vinod Nair 24 n.o.; Lucky Abbas 3 for 37, Mohd. Naeem 3 for 34) Rhinos 165 for 8 in 25 overs (Javed Siddique 38, Sujith Salian 20, Vinan Nair 34 n.o.; CTK Mashood 2 for 24, R. Thoukeer 3 for 23, Prajeet 2 for 40). Man of the match: R. Thoukeer.