Caldrac Cricket Club will host Arena United in a ‘David meets Goliath’ clash in the finals of the NGC -sponsored T20 Central Night Cricket Challenge at the Caldrac Recreational Grounds, Dow Village California from 6.30 p.m. tonight.
Underdogs Arena United, a composite of former secondary school players, have enjoyed a Cinderella run in the competition, organised by the NGO People Empowering People. They head into today’s NGC final unbeaten after a comprehensive 21-run victory over Highlights in the first semi-final at the Caldrac ground last Thursday.
Star batsman Darry Balgobin brought the Arena faithful to their feet with a boundary-laced 70 to lead his team to a massive 159-5 before their bowlers restricted the Highlights outfit to 138-5 in their 20 overs.
Arena captain Rudal Beepath said his team has nothing to lose and everything to gain going into tonight’s $20,000 final.
“Our team is getting stronger with each game we play and we feel like this is our time. Our village really needed something like this so we feel proud to represent Arena knowing the whole village is behind us.”
Caldrac, meanwhile, earned their finals berth with a professional semi-final performance against home town favourites Calcutta SC at the Calcutta Recreational Grounds, Freeport last Thursday. Caldrac opening batsman Mark Deyal top-scored with 39 as the California-based team closed on 118-5 in their allotted 20 overs.
The Caldrac bowling unit then held their nerve picking up wickets at vital times throughout the innings to restrict the home team to 93 and silence the vociferous Calcutta fans.
Caldrac captain Mustapha Ali said his team is now confident of clinching the final at home after pulling off a major upset in the Calcutta heartland.
“We feel about 95 per cent sure we can win at home. We know the pitch, we know the grounds and we have the home support,” said Ali.
Action in the NGC sponsored Central Nights Cricket Challenge begins from 2:30 pm today at the Caldrac Recreational Grounds when beaten semi-finalist Calcutta SC and Highlights clash in the third place play-off, with $7000 and $4000 being awarded to the third and fourth place teams respectively. Caldrac and Arena will then go head to head at the same ground from 6:30 p.m. for the grand prize of $20,000, with $12,000 going to the team finishing second.