With the grace and blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the eagerly anticipated Yogi Yuva Cup cricket tournament took place on Sunday 18 March 2012, which this year was sponsored by Danda, Shakti Nursing Homes, Healthaid and Standard Bank of India.
A total of 34 teams – the highest ever – were participating this year. They arrived enthusiastically in the morning from centres across the country with a mixture of nerves and excitement, aiming to take the trophy home as rightful champions.
After the traditional opening ceremony at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London and the Harrow Leisure Centre in the presence of Thakorji, Yogvivek Swami and sadhus, the initial group stages began at both venues as well as at The Swaminarayan School.
It was evident that teams had put in a lot of effort in preparation, as many matches witnessed close finishes, all in the true spirit of cricket. Following the group stages, 16 teams made it through to the knockout rounds, after which the quarter-finals were all held at Harrow Leisure Centre.
The semi-finals saw India Sevaks A play against Leicester A while Finchley Fighters (A) faced India Sevaks B. After some close encounters and exciting matches – some being decided on the last ball – India Sevaks faced Finchley Fighters in the grand final.
In the final, India Sevaks A set a below-par score of 62 runs from their allocated eight overs, mainly due to some excellent bowling from the Fighters. India Sevaks A began with a great combination of accurate bowling and tight fielding to restrict the Finchley openers. At this point, it seemed as if the north London team would struggle to reach the target. However, the Fighters pulled off some superb hitting and were coasting in the final overs with deft touches and easy singles. The target was duly reached and the game was over; Finchley Fighters were deservedly crowned Champions of the Yogi Yuva Cup 2012.
All teams showed great passion, desire and sportsmanship in a wonderful performance of indoor cricket, topping yet another excellent tournament.
Individual players who shone in the different aspects of the game were also awarded for their outstanding performances. The Best Batsman award went to Vivek Kachhela of India Sevaks A, while Chetan Depala of the Finchley Fighters took home the award for Best Bowler.