NITIE was a plethora of colours and cricket as the institute’s calendar kicked off with one of the most awaited events, Season 4 of the NITIE Premier League. A celebration of cricket and sportsmanship, NPL was the perfect ingredient for students of NITIE and B-schools across Mumbai to come together and prove their mettle on the cricket pitch, displaying their camaraderie which spans beyond B-school boundaries. Orange, Green-White, Blue, Red-Black, Grey-Blue, Yellow, the six colours representing the six franchisees Punjab Warriors, Lucknow Nawabs, Mumbai Mavericks, Bangalore Falcons, Delhi Dabanggs and Chennai United, were the flavour of the season as NITIE was painted with these colours for the whole span of the event which started with the NPL Bawaal on the 22nd January and concluded with the NPL Finals on the 16th February.
NPL Bawaal was an exhibition of NITIE’s cricketing talent and an opportunity for budding team owners to scout for their favourite players. We saw some one-sided matches going a team’s way, some going right down to the wire with a super over. A splendid final saw IE43-B trumping IM19-A in the very last ball with four runs required off the last delivery which was completed with a clean boundary in the gap at covers bisected two fielders; such was the intensity of Bawaal.
The centre-stage of NPL, Team and Player Auctions, arrived on the scene amidst lots of hype and hoopla surrounding every student in the campus. The Team Auctions took place on the 31st January. Smartly dresses team owners took their seats at the tables in eight teams of four each to bid for the franchisee of their choice. It was an intense clash of egos and loyalties as the top six bidders grabbed the Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab and Lucknow franchisees, Delhi and Punjab among the Wildcard entrants this season. The owners enjoyed huge support from their stakeholders and it made for a totally unique experience for them as they used all their mind games and strategies under the spotlight to emerge as the next Mallyas and Ambanis, owning their own teams based out of their favourite cities.
The Player Auctions came up next on the 2nd and 3rd February, the second day reserved for foreign player auctions. Each team of owners was given the pool of players to choose from, and virtual cash of 6 lakhs to buy a 15 member squad. The teams now had a different set of strategies to target and rope in the game changers and match-winners for their squad. Teams fought tooth and nail for their favourite players, one increasing the bid and the other matching it, in no way ready to give a player up to the other team. Chits were drawn to decide the fate of some, some were sold cheap, some bids touched sky high. The costliest player went up for 2.35 lakhs and many players broke the record of the previous edition’s costliest bid of 1.65 lakhs. In the end, all 6 teams got their pool of players and they teamed up to fight it out for the coveted NPL Championship trophy.
A glittering inauguration kick-started the NPL 4.0 with teams marching in with their jerseys and team flags, all colour and splendour everywhere, and presented a team performance for everyone present there. There was an exclusive interaction with the cast and crew of the Bollywood movie FATAACK! which is yet to be released, and we had the likes of Bejoy Nambiar, Namit Das and Siddhant Kapoor in campus to promote their movie which essentially captures the flavour of cricket. The teams then cut their team-cakes and we finally had the ball rolling for the real deal of NPL, the matches, to commence the next day.
The matches were a treat. Every evening from 4-6pm the NITIE Cricket Ground would be a riot of colours and trumpets and loud cheers for the teams. The first round had the League matches where Lucknow Nawabs and Bangalore Falcons topped their pools by winning all their matches, gaining a direct entry into the semi-finals. The Challengers had the bottom two teams of each pool clashing against each other, the winners advancing into the semi-finals. Mumbai Mavericks and Punjab Warriors ousted the Delhi Dabanggs and Chennai United to book a berth in the semis. The Leagues and Challengers had some standout performances as players single-handedly exploited the opposition’s bowling attack and clobbered five 6’s in an over, much to the treat of their supporters and the gathered crowd.
The essence of the tournament was, stick to your basics and play good cricket. Punjab Warriors and Lucknow Nawabs did just that to win their semi-final matches and book their berth for the NPL 4.0 finals. The finals on the 16th was a final we had never seen in NPL history. It was One man vs Lucknow Nawabs when Punjab Warriors foreign catch Chinmay scored the first century of the season, the hisghest score in NPL history (138 off 49 balls) and a mammoth tally of eighteen 6’s in his innings. A delightful display of fireworks from one team and an excellent run chase by the other eventually ended with Lucknow falling just 4 runs short of the target, and Punjab Warriors being crowned the Champions of NPL 4.0 .
The cricketing extravaganza was a huge success in NITIE and even beyond its boundaries. An event which bonded students from different batches, franchisees and B-schools. Each student associated with NPL gained a great experience of handling a team, it’s brand management, finances involving their own cash, sportsmanship on and off the field, and most importantly they enjoyed the spirit of cricket. NPL took management studies onto the pitch and student’s got a way to learn them along with the game that is a religion in our country, Cricket.
NPL 4.0 was powered by its online partner MBA Universe, Youth partner MTV, Movie partner Fattack, content partner Twin City Times and Knowledge partners Cool Avenues and Gyan Central.