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Kochi Royals lift St Mary’s Veterans’ Premier League title

Former Ranji cricketers from Kerala have a ball at Dubai Sevens

17:37 February 12, 2018
 Kochi Royals

Dubai: Kochi Royals emerged as the champions of the fifth edition of the St Mary’s Veterans’ Premier League at the Dubai Sevens ground defeating Malabar Warriors by eight wickets on Sunday.

The two-day tournament, contested by six teams made up of 75 former Kerala State Ranji Trophy players, was organised by Kerala Overseas Cricketers (KOC) under the auspices of the Dubai Cricket Council and backed by Kerala Cricket Association.

The next edition of this event will be held in Thodupuzha in Kerala to generate interest in the game from remote venues.

Kochi, led by K..A. Sunil, restricted Malabar to 99 for six in 15 overs. Malabar had started off well through Hanish Babu, who plays for Kuwait, hitting a quick 29 from 31 balls before a muscle cramp forced him to retire. Opener Reeje Mohan maintained the run flow but Sundar had the in-form Sunil Oasis caught and bowled for 16. Liju Ravindran struck twice to remove CTK Mashood (14) and M. Sohrab (1) while Mohan got run out for 30 from 31 balls.

Chasing the total, Kochi got a good start with UAE’s popular cricketer Harish Menon picking the gaps regularly. Though Usman Kutty trapped opener K.A. Sunil leg before for 20, the opening pair already put on 41 runs. Sundar batted cautiously and took the team to 93, just seven runs short of the target, when Mashood dismissed him for 16 runs. Menon remained unbeaten on 41 off 45 balls with one six and three boundaries to ensure the victory with five balls to spare.

Speaking to Gulf News after receiving the winners’ trophy, Sundar who captains KOC team and is a prominent Kochi player said: “We have proved to be third time lucky. We were two times finalist of this tournament and really delighted to have our hands on the trophy. Winning it in Dubai makes it sweeter and our win was absolutely a team effort with everyone stepping in when needed. “

Both the semi-finals were nail-biting thrillers, Kochi Royals defeated J.K. Malabar Tigers by one wicket off the last ball while Malabar Tiger defeated Kochi Tuskers by one run. Jayesh George, the secretary of the Kerala Cricket Association, gave away the trophies.