The inaugural season of the Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship presented by SLING TV came to an exciting conclusion on Sunday, Oct. 3, at scenic Church Street Park in Morrisville, NC. The Silicon Valley Strikers defeated the New Jersey Stallions by six wickets, winning a grand prize of $125,000, the largest in American cricket history, and became the first-ever Toyota Minor League Cricket Champions.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the Stallions began in blistering fashion, scoring 44 runs from the first five overs. New Jersey looked set to compile a huge total, reaching 85 for the loss of one wicket after 10 overs. Dominique Rikhi led the charge, scoring 42 from 33 balls, supported by Sai Mukkamalla, who struck 31 from 27. However, after Kulvinder Singh removed Mukkamalla in the twelfth over, the Strikers claimed four wickets in four overs and clamped down on the Stallions scoring.
A final flurry of runs for New Jersey in the last three overs set the Strikers a total of 141 runs to chase. Kulvinder Singh ended with figures of 3/32 from his four overs, while Saurabh Netravalkar, Roshon Primus and Pranay Suri each took a pair of wickets.
The Strikers’ batting started at a fast pace, Rahul Jariwala and Unmukt Chand helping Silicon Valley to 49 from the first five overs. Jariwala fell for 21 and Chand for 22, and Jayasuriya followed quickly after for a duck following a run out. The Strikers’ inning was anchored by a superb Narsingh Deonarine half-century, scoring an unbeaten 52 from 43 balls, while Roshon Primus struck 31 from 25 balls, also unbeaten. The Strikers reached their target with 11 balls to spare, Deonarine scoring the winning run and named the Player of the Match for the first Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship winning team.
The final match capped a historic season that saw more than 200 games contested in the most extensive tournament to ever take place in American cricket. Hammad Azam won the Most Valuable Player award for the season, the Golden State Grizzlies’ star leading his team to the Western Division title, scoring 411 runs at an average of 51.38 at a blistering 184.38 strike rate.
But it was ultimately the Grizzlies’ Western Division foes the Silicon Valley Strikers who took home the team title, with their captain Unmukt Chand the first to lift the Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship trophy.