On February 27, UTM became the tri-campus cricket champions for the first time in their history, giving the team something to be proud of and hopefully signifying the beginning of a new era.
On their road to the final, UTM had defeated UTSG Black and UTSC, losing only to UTSG Red by a narrow margin.
The Eagles were arguably the favourite for the final, in which they faced UTSG Black for the second time.
High on confidence as both their batsmen and bowlers had performed to their full potential so far and winning the opening toss, UTSG elected to field first and got off to a perfect start, dismissing UTM’s inform captain, Ehsan Sardar, in the first over.
This was followed by two quick dismissals before the end of the fourth over for Eagles batting mainstays Manmeet Singh and Pavit Paul.
It was at this stage that Muddasir Malik and Isuru Gamarachchi of UTM brought some much-needed stability to the innings. Gamarachchi scored some vital runs before he was run out due to a mix-up in the middle.
Perhaps it was the pressure of the final that was getting to the players. UTM needed some quick runs and it was at this moment that Saad Ahmed and Malik helped UTM amass a total of 50 runs in eight overs.
Chasing 50 runs in eight overs against a quality bowling lineup was going to be a difficult hurdle for UTSG. But UTM started on the back foot with the ball, conceding nine runs of their first over.
The next two overs weren’t fruitful for the Eagles either; UTSG had raced to 21 in three overs. It was a magical spell of spin bowling by Gamarachchi that bought UTM back into the fold.
The flow of runs dried up, which led to panic among the opposition causing a couple of run outs. He was complemented well by Hamza Khattak and Ahmed as both of them bowled a tight line and length from the other end.
Captain Sardar was constantly motivating his players, encouraging them to realize that victory was within their grasp. At the end, 17 runs were required of the last six balls and Sardar trusted Khattak to bowl the crucial last over. Khattak’s bowling pushed UTM over the finish line, helping the team win by seven runs to capture the championship.
The captain was thrilled with his side’s performance, which came at the end of this part of his career.
“This is my fourth and final year at UTM and I’ve been playing tri-campus cricket just as long,” says Sardar.
“When I was appointed captain this year, it was both an honour and a heavy burden, knowing that we had never won the tournament before. To have finally achieved this goal, this dream, and the journey to the final and victory—it felt absolutely surreal.”
UTM will be hosting the final tournament of the year on Friday in Gym C, with games running throughout the day against external college competition including Sheridan and Humber.
The Eagles hope to finish on top and add some more accolades to an already stellar year.