Hitting for six: Lancaster team wins UK MBA cricket competition
Published 19 June 2012
The MCL trophy held aloft by the Lancaster MBA team
This year, six MBA teams from some of the UK's top business schools competed in the tournament, which took place on 4-5 June. The Lancaster MBA team, captained by Ketan Gandhi, showed a strong team spirit to beat Imperial and Cranfield teams in league matches, before holding its nerve to overcome Manchester Business School in a closely contested final to triumph as Champions!
Rain stops play
On day one Lancaster was scheduled to play its first match against Imperial. However rain prevented play and the match had to be shifted indoors. Put in to bat first, Lancaster made 82 off its 15 overs – led by handy contributions from Bharat Awasthi and Ketan Gandhi at the top of the order.
Imperial started cautiously with an opening stand of over 40 runs but was then jolted by losing three wickets during an unplayable bowling spell from Lancaster's Raghav Sharma and Rahul Golecha. Lancaster restricted Imperial to a total of 70 to convincingly clinch the first match by 12 runs. Raghav Sharma was awarded Man of the Match for his superb bowling performance of three wickets from three overs, including one maiden.
A networking event during the evening of the first day acted as a catalyst for all six teams to share their MBA experience. It was a good opportunity to build contacts and learn more about course structures and careers services at other top busines schools in the UK. The event was marked by a cake-cutting ceremony to celebrate the fourth year of the MCL competition.
On the morning of the second day the weather looked good but overnight rain had made the ground muddy and slippery. Lancaster was playing the hosts Cranfield. After a long deliberation both captains agreed that the outfield was not fit for the match and hence it had to be shifted indoors. Cranfield won the toss and elected to bat. At the start of Cranfield's innings Amit Tewari bowled a fierce spell. He was well supported by a spirited fielding performance led by Karthik Velu which restricted Cranfield to 12 runs for five wickets in the first five overs. Cranfield scraped through the rest of the overs to set a target of 55 off 15 overs. Lancaster chased the target easily and took a convincing victory with eight wickets in hand and three overs to go. Rahul Golecha scored 29 and took two wickets to clinch the Man of the Match award.
With these two victories, the Lancaster MBA topped the group table to enter the final. The other finalist, Manchester Business School, also won convincing victories against Warwick Business School and Cranfield Alumni teams to claim its place in the finals. The stage was now set for a clash of two arch-rivals – the Lancaster MBA and Manchester MBA teams.
With the outfield now dry, the match started outdoors. Lancaster won the toss and opted to field. Some emphatic and unplayable swing bowling by Sandeep Bhowmick, well supported by Ketan Gandhi and Amit Tewari, restricted Manchester to 21 for two at the end of seven overs. Lancaster's fielding was again top-class as shown by a well judged high catch by Guhan Ramasamy, a smart run out by Shankar Muthamperumal and Anush Gopalakrishnan, and some attacking ground fielding by Narendran Nair and Nitin Tyagi.
However, powerful out-of-ground hitting by Manchester helped the score to reach 96 at the end of 15 overs. Lancaster started the chase well, and just when the team had started to dominate the Manchester bowling attack, it unfortunately started to rain again. The match was shifted indoors with a fresh start to a 10-over game.
Lancaster again won the toss, and considering the bowling strengths of both teams, elected to bat first this time. Anup Agrawal provided a good start to the innings by maintaining the scoring rate at a run a ball. Ketan Gandhi and Amit Tewari provided an excellent finish, scoring 12 runs off the last over, to take the score to 78 runs off its allotted 10 overs.
Manchester made a shaky start by losing a few quick wickets, again thanks to fantastic fielding by Lancaster, but the middle order consolidated to make the chase interesting. With 31 needed off the last five overs and then 22 needed off the last three, surely the match was to go down to the wire?
Rahul Golecha bowled a spirited third last over to concede just four runs. Then with 18 required off two overs, Ketan Gandhi bowled a golden over conceding just three runs. With 15 required off the last over, Manchester tried to make a match of it by bringing it close to get eight runs off two balls, but fell short by three runs in spite of scoring a four off the last ball of the innings. Lancaster had won, and the Lancaster MBA team was the new holder of the MCL trophy! Ketan Gandhi received the Man of the Match award for making valuable contributions with the bat and the ball.
Man of the series
The awards ceremony was marked by the presence of Cranfield MBA director Graham Clark and the founder of the MCL, Ashwani Kumar. The Lancaster team performed as a collaborative and competitive unit throughout the tournament, and was deservingly awarded the best fielding team. Ketan Gandhi was awarded the Man of the Series trophy for his all round contribution. The shiny silver trophy was received by the Lancaster MBA team to loud applause and cheers from the audience and the other teams.
The Lancaster MBA team had been practising for this tournament daily for more than a month, in spite of its hectic MBA course schedule. It received enormous support throughout the practice sessions and during the MCL tournament from the rest of the cohort and from MBA staff. Winning the MCL trophy is a fitting result for the dedication, enthusiasm and spirit shown by everyone. Well done Lancaster MBA!
The Lancaster MBA cricket team after its triumph in the final