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White Elephants crowned champions of KEC TEC Challengers Cup 2024

Sunday, January 21, 2024
White Elephants crowned champions of KEC TEC Challengers Cup 2024

In a gripping showdown at the iconic KOC cricket stadium, White Elephants snagged victory from the jaws of defeat to beat Black Panthers in the final of KEC TEC Challengers Cup, conducted by Thrissur Engineering College Alumni Association Kuwait Chapter (TECAL KUWAIT). Cricket world for Kuwait Engineers Forum (KEF) has never been the same ever since the tournament’s 2024 edition presented them a taste of franchises and player auctions. When the league matches resumed on final day of tournament, 12th of January, the tournament was excitingly poised with fair chance for all 5 clubs to join White Elephants in the semifinals.

The light drizzles made the toss more important than before, and Black Panthers had no hesitation to put High Range Blasters to bat in the day’s first match, eighth game of the league. They did not allow Blasters’ batters to settle down and had them struggling at 17 runs for 5 wickets, midway of their innings. The sixth wicket partnership of 17 runs between Stephen and Francis took Blasters to a total of 45 all out in 9.2 overs. Black Panthers ensured their place in semifinals when they chased down the target in 8 overs, with their opening batter, Binu Kailas scoring bulk of the runs. Binu remained not out on 28 runs. Brief Scores: High Range Blasters 45 all out in 9.2 overs (Francis-13, Stephen-11, Sebastian 3-5, Jasir 2-7) lost to Black Panthers 45/1 in 8 overs (Binu Kailas-28*).

Black Panthers’ win made the last league match between Orange Warriors and Kuwait Super Kings more attention grabbing as any club from the remaining four could still make for the two semifinal slots. Kuwait Super Kings were asked to bat and requiring a big win to qualify, they started the innings with their big hitters only to see them back in quick succession. KSK lost half their side for a meagre 22 runs. A counterattack from Joseph James with two mighty sixes helped them to a total of 46 runs. In a remarkable display of batting prowess, Ajin and Shajeer finished the game in 6 overs for Orange Warriors to power into the semifinals. Brief Scores: Kuwait Super Kings 46 all out in 9.1 overs (Joseph-25, Abhilash 3-6, Ajin 3-11) lost to Orange Warriors 47/2 in 6 overs (Ajin-20, Shajeer-11*). With Orange Warriors win, High Range Blasters also ensured a place in the semifinals.

First semifinal was between the mighty White Elephants and High Range Blasters. High Rangers got off to a good start with a solid opening partnership of 30 runs between Rajesh and Joby. With some good hits, Stephen and Skipper Ronnie tried to convert the start into a good total but after their fall, High Rangers struggled and could pose only 63 runs from 10 overs. In reply, an outstanding batting display from Skipper Nithin and Rakesh delivered White Elephants a resounding victory by chasing down the target in 6.5 overs. High Ranger bowlers erred in line and length, conceded 19 extras and paid the brunt for it by helping White Elephants to secure their deserved place in finals. Brief Scores: High Range Blasters 63/8 in 10 overs (Rajesh-23, Ronnie -12, Joby -12, Arjun 2-10, Basith 2-11) lost to White Elephants 64/0 in 6.5 overs (Nithin-27*, Rakesh-18*).

Much was expected when the two formidable clubs, Black Panthers and Orange Warriors with emphatic wins in their last league games were locking horns in the second semifinal. Orange Warriors was put into bat and soon found them struggling when Sebastian picked 2 wickets with consecutive deliveries in his first over. Young Ryan handed Warriors another blow when he had Ajin holed out at deep cover. Warriors regained the momentum with a good partnership between Shajeer and Robin and were aiming at a good total with their score at 47/3 in 7 overs. But Ryan’s 3 wickets burst in 8th over, turned the game in Panthers’ favor, and succeeded in restricting Orange Warriors’ total to 60 runs for 8 wickets in 10 overs. It was a comfortable chase for Black Panthers as none of the Orange Warriors’ bowlers could pose a threat to their top order. Binu Kailas and Manish with their characteristic knocks secured Black Panthers a place in the final. Brief Scores: Orange Warriors 60/8 in 10 overs (Shajeer-14, Robinson-10, Ryan 4-9, Sebastain 2-7) lost to Black Panthers 62/2 in 7.4 overs (Binu Kailas -22, Maneesh -15, Nimesh-10, Ajin1-14)

In the super over match to determine the winner of the third place, High Range Blasters won the toss and decided to bowl first with their ace bowler, Stephen. Ajin and Shajeer started the innings for Orange Warriors in the super over and struggled to place the shots in the first four balls of the over. Shajeer hit a four and followed that with a couple to take Warriors’ score to 9 runs. Skipper Ronnie and Stephen started the chase for High Rangers against Warriors’ best bowler, Abhilash. Stephen ran hard with his skipper and took doubles on first two balls. A wide from Abhilash made the equation easier for High Rangers. Orange Warriors fought back with Stephen’s wicket in the next ball. The game swung in favor of High Rangers again when Francis took 3 runs in the next ball. Requiring just 2 runs from 2 balls, and with skipper Ronnie on strike, it was all High Rangers’ game. Abhilash then reminded us of why cricket is often referred to as a game of glorious uncertainties, produced a great bowl to get Ronnie bowled and to win the third place for Orange Warriors.

The stage was set for an epic final encounter between White Elephants, with their stellar run, positioned as the dominant force and Black Panthers embracing the role of resilient underdogs. White Elephants were riding the momentum standing as the only unbeaten side in the competition. On the other side, Black Panthers were basking in red-hot form from the last two games. White Elephants won the toss again, put Black Panthers into bat and got the initial advantage with Binu Kailas’s wicket in first over by Shyam. Nimesh with good shots took the momentum back for Black Panthers and had a good partnership of 16 in 9 balls with Ryan. After Nimesh’s wicket, Renju joined Ryan and both maintained the momentum, played impressive shots, ran hard, and stole the show with a partnership of 41 from 28 balls. Towards the end, Manish’s explosive 23 runs, with 3 huge sixes, powered Black Panthers to a substantial total of 88 runs despite facing a mini batting collapse towards the end. In reply, White Elephants were tied down by the spirited bowling and fielding of Black Panthers and lost Rakesh’s wicket at 28 runs in 5th over. Basith then joined Skipper Nithin and at that stage, White Elephants were facing an uphill task with required run rate more than 12. Basith smashed 3 sixes and fell to Manish in 8th over but his cameo of 26 runs from 11 balls brought the game back for White Elephants. 20 runs still required to win, fortunes swung in the last 2 overs. Shyam Madhusoodanan played a brilliant innings under pressure with Nithin to take his team very close but fell when 3 runs were still required from 2 balls. New batter, Arjun smashed the very next ball for a six for White Elephants to clinch KEC TEC Challengers Cup. Black Panthers bled 56 runs in the last 5 overs and dropped many crucial catches to cost them heavily. Skipper Nithin showcased a sensational display of skill and composure, and his unbeaten 36 was instrumental in White Elephants’ triumph. Brief Scores: Black Panthers 88/6 in 10 overs (Maneesh -23, Renju -22, Ryan-21, Nimesh-11, Shyam M 2-11) lost to White Elephants 92/3 in 9.5 overs (Nithin-36, Basith-26, Shyam M-13, Manish 1-14).

Guests of Honor for the day were Mr. Rajan Peter (Sales Director - KEC) and Mr. Husker Pareed (Mohammed Al-Houti Gen. Trad. Cont. Co.). Basith for his scintillating knock was adjudged Player of the Finals. Special prizes were awarded to Nithin Varughese (best batter, White Elephants), Abhilash (best bowler, Orange Warriors), Ryan Tibish (emerging player, Black Panthers), Ethan Cheriyan (most valuable player, Kerala Tuskers). Individual prizes, trophies and medals were presented by Messrs. Santhosh Abraham (GC-KEF), Hanan Shan (GCD- KEF), Abdul Jabbar (Chairman -TECAL Kuwait) and Sunil Chandran (TEC Challengers Cup Convener). Santhosh Joseph (TECAL Kuwait) presented the Vote of Thanks for making KEC TEC Challengers Cup 2024 a grand success.



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