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Vibha revamps cricket scene with Indoor Box Cricket: Annual tournament crowns champions

Atlanta, GA, May 8, 2024: Vibha has brought new excitement to the game of cricket in Atlanta in 2024 by changing the format to Indoor Box Cricket! Known in Atlanta as the pioneer of creating and executing exciting fundraising events for the past three decades – two prime examples being 25 years of DreamMile and 25 years of Cricket – Vibha has always strived to bring in new energy in fundraising for the cause of education of underprivileged children. Taking pride as the organization to have conducted the very first cricket tournament in Atlanta way back in 1998, and starting the first women’s tournament in Atlanta in 2015, and introducing the Super-Sixer format in 2021, Vibha has now set a new pace for cricket with Indoor Box Cricket.

Twenty-six teams participated in the 26th Annual FutureTech Vibha Cricket Tournament over three evenings of April 26-28 at “The ATL,” a new hub for indoor cricket in Atlanta. “The game is not over till the last ball is bowled” is a standard adage in cricket, and Indoor Box Cricket takes it to its literal extreme. Several matches were decided on the last ball because of the rules that include negative five runs for each time a batter gets out, scope for bonus runs on each ball, a wide/no-ball penalized with three runs, and the requirement that all the stipulated balls of all overs have to be bowled.

Gowtam Goli, CEO of RapidIT, presenting the Women Champions Trophy to Desi Smashers.

The women’s final was a nail-biter! Defending a respectable total of 32 runs in 6 overs, Desi Smashers prevailed over Wonder Women by taking a wicket at the penultimate ball of the match. With twelve runs required off the last over, the best pair of the Wonder Women – Malathi and Anila – gathered nine runs from the first four balls and needed only three runs in the last two balls. But Shital Agarwal, the bowler, kept her nerve and bowled a ball outside the off stump, and Mownika Bobba as the wicketkeeper executed a stumping. Adding those five negative runs, the target became 8 runs from the last ball, and all that Shital had to do was not to bowl a no-ball/wide. Uthara Yelugula of Desi Smashers scored fifteen runs in their team total and bagged the Woman of the Match for the Finals. Padma Padala bagged the Best Bowler, Durga Datta won the Best Batter, and Amrita Sukumar was declared the Best Allrounder for the Women’s Tournament.

Sravan Vellanki, President and CEO of FutureTech, gave away the Tournament Cup to the winners and talked about the long association between Vibha and FutureTech. Gowtam Goli, CEO of RapidIT, and his wife Jyothi Goli also participated in the Award ceremony and gave away special prizes. Venu Pisike, Chairman of the USA Cricket Board, also spoke at the occasion. Pankaj Zanke, the main coordinator for the tournament, said, “Leading the 2024 Vibha Cricket event is an honor. It provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with sponsors from industry leaders and partner with players from Atlanta who share Vibha’s passion for education. This partnership truly emphasizes the power of community in providing underprivileged children from India and the USA with the opportunities they deserve.” He also thanked Anj Balusu, USA Cricket League Director, for all the guidance in starting this new format and framing the rules for the tournament.

Sravan Vellanki, Chairman and CEO of FutureTech, presenting the Men Champions Trophy to RapidIT Monsters.

The Men’s Finals between SplashBI Titans and RapidIT Monsters Kings turned into a one-sided affair with Monsters, the tournament favorites, overpowering their opponents with both bat and ball. The Titans, who had won some close matches in earlier rounds, scored 43 runs in their 6 overs, but because their players also got out 8 times – 40 negative runs – resulting in a net total of only 3 runs. In reply, the Monsters scored 57 runs without taking any chances and losing their wicket only twice. Vijay Suri of the RapidIT Monsters bagged the “Man of the Match” for Finals as well as Best Bowler of the Tournament. Rahul SG is adjudged the Best Batsman, and Rahul Auti as the Best Allrounder of the tournament. Sanjay Narla, the manager for the Monsters franchise, said, “After winning Vibha’s 25th-year tournament last year, repeating the feat in the 2024 Vibha Tournament is even more special for the Monsters as we are celebrating our own 25 years of existence. It’s been an honor and privilege to be associated with Vibha all these years.”

Vibha Atlanta is gearing up for the next two big fundraisers – Third Annual Vibha Dream Golf (www.vibha.org/dreamgolf) on June 17th followed by the 26th Annual Vibha DreamMile on September 15th. All the funds raised from all these fundraisers go towards changing lives through education of underprivileged children in India and USA. For a complete list of projects supported by Vibha, please visit www.vibha.org/projects. Vibha, Atlanta, is working hard to make a difference in Atlanta as well by funding Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), InspireEdu, and International Community School (ICS). Would you like to join this team and make a difference? Please send an email to volunteer@atlanta.vibha.org and join the dedicated group of volunteers in Atlanta!

Cover photo: ā€œVā€ for Vibha and Volunteering! Five women teams in their colors!

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