Chirag Suri showed why the IPL’s Gujarat Lions signed him up last season, as he was named this year’s Red Bull Campus Cricket batsman of the tournament.
The UAE star scored an impressive 202 runs in four games as he helped Heriot-Watt University (HWU) claim their fourth straight Red Bull Campus Cricket title.
Speaking to Sport 360, the 23-year-old praised the tournament’s standards, which is attracting more attention from cricket’s big leagues. “It’s getting better by the year and the level of cricket is definitely improving”, he said. “The event has become less predictable with some shock results in there this year. Manipal have a lot of good young players, which is always good to see coming through too”.
Despite picking up an individual award, Suri maintained the overall result is most important and the job is only half done, as his side now head to Sri Lanka for the World Finals – where they play the best university sides the globe has to offer. “When you’re a batsman the team depends on you a lot and its important that you play the ball as it comes”, he added.
“You can’t get complacent in these games as it only takes one good ball or one bad shot and you’re out so you have to be really on the ball. It’s a great feeling to win the award and I’m obviously happy to contribute and to see the team go on into the final stages of what is a big tournament. We always look forward to this tournament and we’re glad to win, and we’re the only team to win a Campus Cricket event four times in a row around the world”.
Suri played a pivotal part in his team’s success over the three-day event but maintains results are down to the team. “I had two games where I wasn’t out and I got some good runs, so 202 [runs] in four games isn’t too bad. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter about the numbers and stats, it’s more about the team going through. Some of the stats don’t always represent the true nature of the game either so the main thing is the team has advanced”.
HWU will now compete in the World Finals in Sri Lanka on September 21st.
The UAE’s Rohit Singh guided his team to the World Finals after an inspiring season as Heriot-Watt captain.
The young skipper, who is currently studying for his Masters having completed his degree in mechanical engineering, has experience playing for the UAE senior side, after been fast-tracked from the Under 19 team.
Speaking after the final, Singh welcomed the challenge of competing in the Red Bull Campus Cricket World Finals in Sri Lanka.
“The tournament has been a great success, especially having won it four times and I’ve been lucky enough to captain the side every time. Playing in Sri Lanka is much different to playing in the UAE because a lot of the players have professional contracts at that stage, so the standard in the world finals is very tough. Some of the guys are fully-contracted domestically as well even if they’re not playing for the national side to it’s highly competitive, whereas we’re only part-time or college cricketers so we don’t have as much experience as some of the opposition”.
Singh has an eye on the professional game himself and is keen to catch the eye of the IPL teams, who have previously used the Campus Cricket event to spot upcoming talent. “I was fast-tracked into the UAE senior team after captaining the UAE under-19 side”, he added. “I’ve not had the IPL come in yet but it’s a good platform to be spotted, especially in Sri Lanka. It’s about putting in a good performance and seeing what happens. The goal is to be a recognised cricketer in the world’s major leagues. I’m aiming to be the best in the UAE and then play in some of the top leagues around the world”.
Dubai CC and Sharjah CC have booked their places in Saturday night’s Emirates Cricket’s Inaugural ‘UAE Cricket Leagues’ Men’s T20 series final, following solid wins over Ajman CC and Abu Dhabi CC (respectively).
Ajman won the toss and elected to bat in Friday’s first match. Ajman never seemed to find their rhythm and despite a strong partnership by Waseem Rana and Faizan Asif, which added 66-runs (off 44-balls) to the scoreboard, they had to settle for 148-runs (for loss of 9 wickets) at the end of their innings.
Dubai openers Waqas Raja and Chirag Suri replied by smashing the Ajman bowlers around the park, recording a decent partnership of 87-runs (off 66-balls).
After the opening duo walked, Adnan Ijaz and Mohammad Qasim added another 44-runs aiding the side to comfortably pass the required number to win, carding 150-runs for loss of 2-wickets (18-overs).
In the second match of the day, both Abu Dhabi and Sharjah had their sights firmly set on a final’s berth.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Sharjah’s run rate was kept well under control by a quality Abu Dhabi side. Sharjah soon found themselves at 64-runs for loss of 5-wickets toward the end of the 11th over.
A quick-fire partnership between Shaiman Anwar and Syed Ubadah, of 45-runs from 21-balls, laid the foundation for their middle and lower middle order to amass 117-runs in the remaining overs, finishing with 179-runs (loss of 7 wickets).
Chasing a winning target of 180-runs, Abu Dhabi were subjected to a clinical performance by Sharjah’s bowlers, claiming wickets at regular intervals leading to the collapse of Abu Dhabi.
Despite a strong 31-runs (off 17-balls) which included 3-fours and 2-sixes by opener Fayyaz Ahmed, and a quick surge by Ashok Kumar, who added 38-runs (off 25-balls with 4 sixes), Sharjah restricted Abu Dhabi to 157-runs (for loss of 9-wickets) to comfortably securing their place in the Inaugural UAE Leagues T20 finals.
Tonight’s final between Dubai CC and Sharjah CC is expected to provide a scintillating display of cricket, and starts at 7pm at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Entry to watch the final is free.
Bringing together the four Councils of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai and Sharjah, the Men’s T20 series is the third series in the Inaugural UAE Cricket Leagues.
The Leagues will be played in the highly-popular formats of T20 and 50-over formats in boys, women’s and men’s categories, and will be played through a 28 match-schedule across the UAE.