From six teams in 2017 to twelve teams in 2019, the All Nations Cricket Festival has witnessed massive growth and contribution from the local sportsmen and cricket enthusiasts in Christchurch.
Sponsored by Ara Institute of Canterbury, the festival kicked off on Sunday, November 24 at the Hagley Park, where twelve matches were held in the Round 1 of the tournament. The next round, semi-final and final will be held on Sundays, December 1 and 8 respectively.
The cricket festival is delivered in partnership between Christchurch Metro Cricket, the Christchurch Multicultural Council and the Christchurch City Council to promote unity in diversity through cricket.
"We have had a record number of entries this year as the festival continues to grow each year," Mike Harvey, General Manager of Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket Association said.
The twelve teams divided into Pool A and B are Afghan XI, 11 Kings of Punjab, Tamil Pasanga, Doon Tiger Club, Cornered Tigers, Afghan Fine Legs, Firangi XI, Action Indoor Sports Central, Nepal Everest Warriors, PlaceMe, Pakistan Falcons, and Strikers.
"We have players from different ethnic backgrounds such as Indian origin, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lankans, English and Kiwi descent," Mr Harvey told The Indian Weekender.
The pool A side, team Firangi XI emerged top winning two matches against Action Indoor Sports Central and Nepal Everest Warriors to gain 10 points. Cornered Tigers, Afghan Fine Legs, Nepal Everest Warriors and Action Indoor Sports Central with five points each and PlaceMe with zero points.
In Pool B, Strikers and Tamil Pasanga topped with 10 points each with Strikers defeating Doon Tiger Club and Pakistan Falcons, and Tamil Pasanga defeating Doon Tiger Club and Afghan XI. Pakistan Falcons and 11 KIngs of Punjab gained five points each and Afghan and Doon Tigers Club with no wins.
David Jayapaul with 88 runs for Tamil Pasanga, and Habib Marwat with 85 runs for the Cornered Tigers were the top two scorers for Round 1; Milin Paul with 4/21 for the Afghan Fine Legs as best bowling figure for Round 1 of the tournament.
"Thanks to the Christchurch Multicultural Council, and in particular, Surinder Tandon, for being a key partner in the event and to the Christchurch City Council for their support to the event," Mr Harvey said.
Mr Harvey commended the support of the local communities who have participated both as players and spectators contributing their part in making the event successful, the third year in a row.
"It has been excellent to see over the last three years, the number of teams who enter the All Nations Festival is now playing regular club cricket in the Christchurch competitions each Saturday.
"They have joined a club and are enjoying the social benefits that being a club member can provide," Mr Harvey added.
Christchurch Multicultural Council's President, Surinder Tandon, on Sunday presented a certificate of appreciation to Christchurch Metro Cricket in recognition of the contributions of the Club and its members to the multicultural communities of Christchurch.
Mr Tandon not only thanked the CMCA but also acknowledged the cricket clubs of Christchurch, who have embraced cultural teams in their clubs within recent seasons.
Ara Institute of Canterbury All Nations Cricket Festival will have a total of five rounds of pool play followed by the finals on the afternoon of Sunday, December 8.
Scorecard: Pool A
Cornered Tigers 176/8 beat Afghan Fine Legs 86/10
Firangi XI 125/7 beat Action Indoor Sports Central 121/7
Nepal Everest Warriors 176/8 beat Placeme 157/4
Afghan Fine Legs 81/2 beat Placeme 80/10
Nepal Everest Warriors 129/9 lost to Firangi XI 130/1
Action Indoor Sport Central 158/9 beat Cornered Tigers 135/10
Scorecard: Pool B
Pakistan Falcons 122/8 lost to The Strikers 123/6
Afghan 11 107/6 lost to 11 Kings of Punjab 108/2
Tamil Pasanga 200/6 beat Doon Tiger Club 80/9
11 Kings of Punjab 113/10 lost to Pakistan Falcons 115/8
Strikers 228/5 beat Doon Tiger Club 135/10
Afghan XI 139/7 lost to Tamil Pasanga 140/7