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Pramukh Cup – the National Kishore Mandal 8-a-side indoor cricket tournament – was played in great spirits at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London on Sunday 11 December 2011. The competition consisted of 12 teams from across the UK with many young kishores participating in this year’s event.

After the traditional opening ceremony with Thakorji and the deep pragatya, the group stages games got under way. There was a shock exit from the seeded favourites, South London A who lost both of their group games. Birmingham A, Finchley A, East London and Harrow A all looked very comfortable in their group phase, each topping their respective groups to secure positions in the quarter-finals where they all progressed with relative ease into the semi-finals.

The first of the semi-finals was contested between Birmingham A and Finchley A. Both teams had looked very promising in the earlier games without being tested to the fullest. In a tightly-fought match with sharp fielding and quick running between the wickets, the game came to a dramatic end with both teams being tied on an equal score of 61 runs. The winner was to be decided in a bowl-off where each team selected one player to have three attempts at bowling at a set of stumps. Bhavik Depala of Finchley A was on target on two occasions thereby winning the bowl-off and securing Finchley A’s position in the final.

The second semi-final was between East London A and Harrow A. East A batted first and posted a mammoth target of 144 runs on the board. Harrow A, always under pressure with such a large target, struggled to keep up with the required run rate and in chasing such a large score were always vulnerable to losing wickets. In the end, Harrow managed to score only 78 which proved well short of East London.

The final was set – Finchley A vs. East London A. Finchley were to bowl first and with fantastic and accurate bowling backed up by great work in the field, they managed to take regular wickets which disrupted any momentum East London may have had while batting. In the end, East crumbled to a score of only 10 runs. Despite such a low target, Finchley have always been dogged by losing wickets under pressure, and with the rules stating that a wicket lost results in a deduction of 5 runs from the score, work was still needed to secure victory for Finchley. However, the calm and composed nature of the team at the batting crease managed to see out the bowling threat from East London as they ultimately scored a total of 38 runs to become Pramukh Cup Champions 2011. Finchley had finally achieved their potential of winning the title after many great journeys in the tournament’s history.

The ‘Best Bowler’ award went to Nikul Depala of Finchley A who was constantly a threat in taking regular wickets, which even included a hat-trick. Mohit Mahatma of East London won the ‘Best Batsman’ award with many great displays of his batting talent and ability to hit the ball cleanly. The ‘Best All-Rounder’ award was presented to Bhavik Depala of Finchley A who put on a great display with both bat and ball when his team needed it the most.

All in all, it was a great event in which the tournament was played in a competitive manner yet with fine sporting spirit. 

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