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Srinivasan Jagannathan G (left) and Ankur Sinha G are seen preparing for a cricket match on the Barry Astroturf Field in this September 2008 file photo.
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The third MIT cricket tournament kicked off to a frenetic start over a somber weekend of mist and drizzle on June 28. Ten teams participating in the MIT Cricket Club’s first summer tournament, an anticipated encore to tournaments held in the fall and spring. A testament to the popularity of the tournament was the attendance and avid interest of several established professional cricket clubs from the New England area.

The Jack Barry Astroturf Field provided a unique venue for cricket. The use of taped tennis balls on the skidding turf added to the novelty of the experience and presented a challenge to every player irrespective of suite (batting, bowling or fielding), enhancing its appeal to cricket teams from around the New England region.

The ten teams havebeen divided into two groups of five teams. First, all teams within each group play each other, round-robin. The top two teams from each group qualify for the semifinals. Ten players can represent a team for a game, and the batting innings comprise a maximum of 12 overs each. The MIT Cricket club fielded two teams for this tournament: the MIT Elecktrons and MIT Protons.

Group A consisted of Burlington, Watertown, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Rhode Island, and the MIT Electrons. Group B featured teams from Waltham and Lowell along with the MIT Protons, the Cambridge Cricket Club (winners of the fall tournament), as well as new entrant Galaxy XI.

The first weekend of the tournament, June 27 and 28, featured tense and riveting encounters punctuated by awe-inspiring sixes, intimidating yorkers and bouncers, and match-turning catches. The tournament standings at the end of the weekend showcased the emergence of vastly disparate trends in the two groups. In Group A, there is a stark schism opening up between the top two teams and the rest of the field. Howerver the chaotic nature of Group B resulted in a four-way tussle for the top two spots, adding excitement to the upcoming weekend matches on July 10 and 12, which will be followed by the knockout matches on July 18 and 19.

The MIT Electrons and UMass Lowell have emerged as the teams to watch from Group A, having won both their matches. While all-around team effort and orthodox application have been the strengths of the MIT Electrons, UMass Lowell has relied upon its potent bowling attack to subdue its opponents. The contrasting styles of the two teams have generated immense interest in their clash in coming weekend of matches. Watertown and Rhode Island have both been valiant in their matches and have lent refreshing verve to the tournament through their dash and flamboyance. The big hitters from Watertown caused more than a few jitters in their matches against the MIT Electrons and UMass Lowell, while the marauding bashers from Rhode Island lit up the arena with their audacious batting against extremely challenging bowlers. However, their lack of discipline and consistency undid their charge against the clinical exhibitions of the MIT Electrons and UMass Lowell, nudging them both onto the verge of elimination. Burlington, the fifth team in Group A, will start its campaign in the second week, and their progress could have a significant impact on the duopoly in the group so far.

In Group B, pre-tournament interest was directed towards which team would likely accompany the defending champions, the Cambridge Cricket Club, to the semifinal stages. However, all such predictions were overturned when the Cambridge Cricket Club lost to the MIT Protons in a most shocking reversal that underscored the inherent unpredictability of this game. Inspired by scattered performances in bits-and-pieces, the MIT Protons outlasted a strangely lukewarm Cambridge Cricket Club in their first clash, but promptly conceded the initiative in their next encounter against Waltham XI through a most lopsided defeat. In keeping with the trend, the Cambridge Cricket Club underwent a timely revival of fortunes by handing tournament fledglings Galaxy XI a sound beating, while Waltham undid their good work against the MIT Protons through a lackluster performance against an inspired and sprightly outfit in the form of Lowell Rockers. The Rockers were particularly noteworthy for their inexorable energy on the field and with the bat.

All in all, the results from the first week have set a tantalizing platform for the matches in the final weeks of the tournament, where the temperament and fortitude of the teams are likely to be tested to the fullest.

The cricketing community at MIT is prepared for another absorbing sequence of clashes that promises to bring quality competitive cricket to the shores of this prestigious institution, and extends a cordial invitation to every member of the university to partake in this thrilling celebration of a universally popular sport. Details regarding the tournament schedule and match timings, as well as playing conditions and rules, are available at the MIT Cricket Club’s website:

http://www.mitcricket.net/tournaments/2009/summer/
trn-home.html.