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Alfalah University and Marwari College crowned champions

Men from Alfalah University. Marwari College Women. Remember these two names because you might find yourself searching for more at some point in the future to search for the backstory of the next men’s or women’s cricket star.

These are the two colleges that won the final of the Red Bull Campus Cricket India tournament on June 11 in Mohali. While Marwari College Women beat Rizvi College Women by 36 points in the morning, Alfalah University Men beat New LJ College Men by 35 points under the lights.

The women’s triumph was an incredible story in itself, with a Ranchi team winning the final, having beaten the “big” teams from established centers like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. In the final, Marwari College Women went 125 for 5 in their 20 overs, mostly thanks to finals player Anamika Kumari (60 from 54), with opening partner Priyanka Sawaiyan (37 from 44) playing a good part of support with 37 off. 44 and then claim 3 for 9 with his offspin. The Rizvi College women’s pursuit barely took off and they eventually found themselves at 89 for 6. Marwari College’s thirst for victory and what this milestone meant to them was exemplified by captain Shanti Kumari, who went through the grass and dived to save a boundary. , even when the result was a mere formality with the chase team too far behind.

In fact, Ranchi’s women have been great on the pitch throughout and smart with their tactics too. They established a six-three field and played on the outside, smothering the runs expertly.

The experience gained here would only help women’s cricket, current India vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and former India player Snehal Pradhan said.

“It was an amazing experience for the girls,” Mandhana said. “It’s something that’s going to help them in their careers and make them feel ‘I want to do this. I want to go there and do it for India as well.” These girls will come back and tell others about their experiences here, and the other girls will be like, ‘Oh, I want to experience that too.’

“Brands like Red Bull help a lot because they want to grow with the athlete. They want to provide the infrastructure, or whatever we ask for, for us to go out there and perform… Everyone has ideas, to start this and that, but they actually created a women’s team and they thought about it and started.

Pradhan, who established herself as a commentator after retiring from the game in 2013, said Red Bull’s arrangements for the final were flawless, providing players with facilities that are usually only available at higher levels.

“You think playing in stadiums like [the PCA Stadium in] Mohali, you have to play for India or maybe you have to play for your state – to play in this kind of place and have this kind of experience, where people take such good care of you…” Pradhan said “Hotels, teams have been kicked out… Only players who play for their country or state get that kind of experience.

“More matches, better exposure in matches, they become better cricketers. And they get experience of what cricket has to offer if they can maximize their talent in the future. Anu [Anamika Kumari] told me she only got a few games a season for her condition. She gets that platform now where she can put a score. It’s great to see that even below state cricket we have a structure for girls where they can express themselves.

“There’s a lot of talent, not just in the big centers, but also in smaller towns like Ranchi.”

The men also had a lot of standout performances.

Dheeru Singh led the charge for Alfalah University Men, smashing 67-for-43 balls from No. 4 to lead his side to 162 in 8. Dheeru netted 44 runs for the fourth wicket with Aniket Singh during a tricky period, after the first wickets had left the side 47 for 3 inside six overs. The stand came to just one run per ball, but both batters negotiated the phase where the spotlight was turned on and steered their team to calmer waters. Dheeru hit five sixes and as many fours in his innings. His range, in particular, was impressive, boundaries being crossed with ease.

Alfalaha University Men then limited the New LJ College Men to 127 for 9, a strong bowling performance backed by an excellent pitch. Faizan Alam took 3 for 26 in his four overs, while Boby Yadav, deemed a series player, took 3 for 25.

Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Riyan Parag has praised the tournament scene and these finals in particular have provided the young players.

“When I was a kid, I always dreamed of playing in the spotlight,” Parag said. “So I think having a stage like this to showcase your abilities is going to be really important for them. I hope they have a lot of fun and learn a lot…A platform like this, with sponsors, under lights, with a white ball – it’s a dream for any young cricketer.”

For many cricketers who have participated in the Red Bull Campus Cricket tournament, the dream has only just begun. They now have an invaluable wealth of experience to draw on as they work to realize those dreams on an even bigger stage.

Saurabh Somani is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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