Previous national champions MMCC Pune, and MS University Faculty of Commerce, Baroda emerged as the two winners from West Zone to qualify for the national finals of Red Bull Campus Cricket 2017 from May 29th to 2nd June. It has been a long journey for these teams to win every match they played along the way to make it to the national finals.
While MMCC beat Jhunjhunwala College of Mumbai by 5 wickets in the Pool 1 West Zone final, MS University beat Dhanwate National College of Nagpur in the Pool 2 West Zone final. MMCC started their journey by becoming city champions of Pune. They played their first match against BMCC XI and defeated them by 27 runs in a match that was restricted to 17 overs. Next up was the Pune final, which MMCC won by beating SP College by 6 wickets.
In the first match of the West Zone playoffs, MMCC beat Sridora Caculo College, Mapusa by 10 wickets, chasing down a total of 61 runs, after Sridora was all out for 60 in 15.3 overs. MMCC astonishingly reached the target in only 2.2 overs. Y Nahar scored 29 off 10 balls, and D Shinde scored 31 off just 7 balls. D Hinghekar registered figures of 3-0-18-3 for MMCC in the first innings.
In the match that would decide who would go through to the national finals, MMCC beat Jhunjhunwala college of Mumbai by 5 wickets. Jhunjhunwala made 107 for 10 in 17.3 overs, whereas MMCC reached 108 for 5 in just 8.2 overs with an aggressive batting approach that is swiftly becoming their chief characteristic.
Red Bull Campus Cricket is bigger and better this year, with 170 teams from 26 Indian cities participating in the annual tournament. The tournament started on February 27th, with the city qualifiers, with the winning team progressing to the zonal/regional playoffs. Two teams from each of the four zones will then compete in the National finals, where the teams will play in the knockout rounds of quarterfinals, semifinals and finals respectively. The winning team from India will then represent the country in the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Series Championship 2017.
Past national winners from India who have gone on to represent the country at the World Championships are Rizvi College, Mumbai; DAV College, Chandigarh; Swami Shraddhanand College, Delhi, and MMC College, Pune.
Red Bull Campus Cricket is the only global T20 cricket tournament for university cricket teams, serving as an international platform for young and budding cricketers to showcase their talent and hone their skills. The tournament is now in its sixth year.
Red Bull Campus Cricket has long been a platform that supports budding cricket talent and has provided players to the much-loved Indian Premier League.
Dubai’s Chirag Suri, who played Red Bull Campus Cricket in 2015 & 2016, became the first UAE cricketer to be picked by an Indian Premier League (IPL) side when the Gujara
t Lions bagged him at the IPL auction in 2017. Talking about the Red Bull Campus Cricket tournament, Suri says, “The Red Bull Campus Cricket tournament is something we all look forward to, it’s a professional and well-managed event. It is a great opportunity for someone like me to go out there and test myself in different conditions. It is incredible to see how many players are coming through these leagues, and going on to become IPL cricketers or international cricketers.”Chirag Suri on his idol, the Indian Skipper said, “Virat Kohli is my favourite cricketer and he is someone I have been watching since his Under-19 days. He is my inspiration as he worked his way from the age groups to play for India and has also done well in the IPL”
Few cricketers in recent memory have had as impactful a start to their international career as Karun Nair. His now unforgettable triple hundred played a significant part in sealing a 4-0 series win for India last December and made him a member of an exclusive club. Speaking about his experience at RBCC, Nair says, “The Campus Cricket Experience was almost towards the end of my college education, it was a different kind of tournament actually. It had people from all over India, all these teams that could play, and it was quite different. It was very well organised, and with the support of Red Bull, I think it was a very well-run tournament.”Karun Nair recalls playing in the same team as a certain member of the current Indian team. “Yes, KL Rahul was there in our team as well. We played IPL and Red Bull Campus Cricket together.”
Abhimanyu Easwaran, who participated in the 2016 edition of Red Bull Campus Cricket, now has his sights on the future. He was a part of the Indian under-23 team in the Asian Cricket Council’s Emerging Cup tournament in Dhaka. When asked about his stint at Red Bull Campus Cricket, “It was a good experience; we played against good opposition so it was a learning experience. You get a good, challenging game, and that’s the best part about it. If you do well, you will be rewarded.” And rewarded he was, winning a bike for his performances in the tournament.
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