The final of the Amar Ujala Agency and Media Cricket league (AUAMCL) reached a fitting climax with Multi Screen Media (MSM), Mumbai scraping past Jagran Prakashan, Delhi over the weekend. Both teams gave it all they had, with the visitors from MSM ultimately triumphing by just 6 runs. This was the closest final in the League since the inaugural edition of the league when the final had ended in a tie before being resolved.
With this match, AUAMCL - now in its fifth season - underlined its position as the most coveted trophy in the industry, when it comes to short format cricket. For MSM, this was their third successive triumph, helping them establish a record that is unlikely to be broken for some time.
Speaking on the occasion, Sunil Mutreja, Executive Director, Amar Ujala Publications, said, "I am delighted that we witnessed such a well contested final. My congratulations to MSM, the third time winners, for a match well played, and to Jagran, for providing such a good contest. We would especially like to congratulate both the teams for the spirit in which they played the match, which is really one of the biggest reasons we enjoy our association with the AUAMCL."
The finals, held at the picturesque cricket ground of Hamdard University in Delhi, had all the makings of a thriller, witnessing its share of great hits, near misses, and ups and downs in team fortunes. Played under lights, MSM's captain, Srinivas, won the toss and elected to bat first. Taking advantage of the large ground and the eight-person teams, the team got off to a flying start, stroking their way to 20 runs in the first over. It was the start they needed, combined with a slice of luck for their key batsman, Prateek, who benefited from a dropped catch. He, along with Sunil Punjabi, powered MSM to a formidable 148 for 4 wickets in their allotted 10 overs.
Jagran began their chase sedately, taking care not to lose wickets during the first couple of overs. Just when it looked like the match was slipping out of their grasp, Jagran's Robin started a breathtaking assault, with a succession of clean hits that certainly made the target of 41 in the final 3 overs seem achievable. It came down to 28 runs in the final two overs, which is when disaster stuck with Robin getting run out. That left the job of finishing the chase on Kunal, their captain but with the strike not rotating enough for his liking, Jagran ended up finishing at 142 for 3, losing the match by 6 runs.
Robin won the Man of the Match award for his brave innings of 97 which kept the chase alive for Jagran. The Value First Most Valuable Player of the Tournament award went to Prateek from MSM, for his consistent batting performances across the league stages and the final too, where he scored an unbeaten 68. Rajagopal S, Vice President Sales, Value First gave away the award.
Speaking at the felicitation ceremony, MSM captain Srinivas Mukri said, "Absolutely thrilled to have won for the third time. In a 10-over match, we needed a fair bit of luck to win. We really thought Jagran had us today. They played wonderfully well but congratulations to our team too, for holding their nerve and winning."
Kunal Jerath, Jagran's captain said, "We had said at the start that what we wanted was a good cricket match, and I am glad we had that today." On the defeat, he said, "I think we made a couple of tactical mistakes during our chase, as I should have come in to bat a little earlier. But that's how it goes I suppose, and congratulations to Sony for playing so well today".
Sreekant Khandekar, Director, afaqs!, who was also present, said, "It was a really fantastic match, in a great setting. We saw two good teams play a cliff hanger today, and for Sony to win this for the third time is quite incredible, when one considers the quality of opposition we have seen over the years."
The winners received a cheque for Rs 1 lac, while the runners up received Rs 50,000.