SPJIMR Premier League (SPL)

The Bhavan’s Cricket Ground recently played host to the annual SPJIMR Premier League, more fondly referred to as SPL. The event was organized by the SPL Committee, which is a part of the SPRINT (SPJIMR’s annual sports fest) team. The event turned out to be a great success.

The matches were held across a time span of a couple of weeks, though the wheels were set in motion much earlier.  IPL style auctions were conducted where the owners (a team of 4) had to pick their selections from the batch. Samay Turakhia wielded the hammer in what was appreciated as a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The owners were initially selected after they made a pitch to the entire batch about why they are the apt owners of the teams of SPL. Following this, the captain and player profiles were shared across and in what turned out to be quite a memorable couple of nights of crazy auctioning, the player prices went over the roofs! Each owner had a cap of 100Mn $, from which a roster of about 13 – 15 players were to be picked. Multiple strategies came to the fore and the owners eventually engaged in hiking up prices for the other teams. Amarpal Munjal was the most sought after player in the auction with bidding reaching sky high figures of 37Mn $. While not all would have walked away happy from the auction, there certainly was a sense of excitement to what lay in store for the next few weeks.

Additionally, the owners had to pick 2 brand ambassadors from the batch to ensure their team had the maximum reach and PR. This expense was part of the 100Mn $ kitty mentioned earlier.

A total of 8 teams were part of the SPL this season, spread across different programmes (PGDM, PGPM and GMP) and divided into two groups. The matches in the group stage were held on the basis of lots. Each team played a total of 2 teams from their respective groups. At the end of the round robin matches, the top 2 teams from each of the group progressed to the semi- finals based on points (and if needed the Net Run Rate).

The final match day saw the semi-finals and the final being contested. In the first semi-final, Vegas Vikings locked horns with the BadAss Bhuvans. Vikings were billed as favourites coming into the game but in the end, BadAss Bhuvans ran away as winners by a comfortable margin. Vikings won the toss and decided to bat first, putting on a respectable 75/6 in their stipulated 10 overs. Kushal Raithatha and Amarpal Munjal top scored with 15 and 13 respectively. From Bhuvans’ side, Captain Prasanna and the all-rounder Ranjan Srivastava chipped in with a couple of wickets each. In the chase, it was Ranjan who contributed again with a match winning 20, closely followed by Varun who scored 15. It was Varun who finished the game off in style by scoring a 6 and 4 respectively off the 9th over. The BadAss Bhuvans came out on top with a 7 wicket win.

In the other rubber, SwagStars took on Kings & Knights in what turned out to be a closely contested game. The Knights chose to bowl first after winning the toss, which was almost a norm in this year’s SPL. SwagStars skipper Sai Krishna promoting himself to the top of the order, led from the front with a blistering 58 and looked to take the game away from the Knights before his opposition counterpart Shiv Vikram Singh chipped in with 3 key wickets to bring back the game in control. This restricted the Swagstars to a just about more than par 81/9 in the 10 overs. The Knights innings was well guided by Shubham Chourey’s fighting 39 but Akshay Gupta’s left arm spin took the game away from them with a classy 3/12 from his quota of overs. He was ably supported by his fielders as the SwagStars fielders dropped none that came their way.

A sizeable proportion of the participants from the batch turned out to support their favourite teams as SwagStars took on the BadAss Bhuvans in the final. SwagStars were put into bat by BadAss Bhuvan’s captain Prasanna S who led from the front with the ball in the first innings. For the SwagStars, Arun Arya played a composed 42 run knock with contributions from other teammates to reach a total of 83/8 in their allotted 12 overs. Given the big final, the pressure was always on the chasing team, but they were favourites to come out on the top. It was the ever dependable and consistent Ranjan Srivastava with the bat again taking his side through with a knock of 33 crucial runs. The chase was completed in 11.3 overs with the final going down to the wire. Rajan Gulati was accolade with The Man of the Match performance for his exploits with both the bat and ball.

Across the tournament, Sai Krishna (inspite of all his struggles with his pulled hamstring) and Shiv Vikram Singh made a big impression with both bat and ball. Sai Krishna was the top scorer in the tournament and was also adjudged as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) scoring 129 runs and taking 3 wickets while Shiv Vikram Singh turned out to be the best bowler taking 8 wickets through the tournament. At the end of the tournament, the trophies for the winners, runners-up, best batsman, best bowler and the most valuable player were handed out to the respective participants.