Cricket-themed fun and family day extravaganza unites communities

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Luxman Selvanesan

Luxman Selvanesan

Dunedin, January 7, 2022

One-Day Intercommunity event set a new benchmark for cooperation

The Cricket Match was more than a game- it was a get together of families and communities (Facebook Photo)

A one-day inter-community Cricket and family fun day event between the Tamil and Pakistan communities was a real-life example of how sport can bring people together and pave the way for building a harmonious relationship.

Arasan SuperKings took on the Pakistan Association of Canterbury New Zealand (PACNZ) in two straight T20 games at Weedons Cricket Club Grounds at Rolleston on December 29, 2021 to celebrate the diverse culture of the two communities.

Cricket the Catalyst

The games were social and competitive and Cricket was used as a catalyst for community development, building healthy relationships. It gave an insight into each other’s culture and promoted physical and mental wellbeing.

Arasan New Zealand is committed to supporting community health and well-being and believes that sports strengthen community bonds.

The Arasan SuperKings accounted for a variety of players who were chosen from across the South Island with varied cultural backgrounds. They were from Dunedin, Christchurch, and South Canterbury.

The First Game: Pakistan wins

In the first T20 game, PACNZ batted first and cruised along to 187 for five with opener Muhammad Asad Ali playing a Captain’s knock of 85 in just 53 balls. He set the tone at the top of the order with a stroke-filled innings that included 9 fours and 4 sixes, with a strike rate of 160.38.

Wicketkeeper-Batsman Muhammad Umair Shakeel scored an unbeaten 33 to set Arasan SuperKings a competitive target of 188 Runs. For Arasan SuperKings, Sabapathy Sujeevkanth, was the pick of the bowlers as he returned with the figures of 2 for 27 in three overs.

In reply, Arasan SuperKings did not have an ideal start as batsmen, attempting to match the run rate, fell prey to poor shot selection, with scores 22 for two after 2.3 overs.

The two teams: Arasan Super Kings and Pakistan Association of Canterbury New Zealand (Luxman Selvanesan is in the Centre)[/caption]

While the top order crumbled, opener Allen Pranesh Surendar took guard at one end in an attempt to steady the ship. Surendar anchored the innings with a 52-ball knock of 53 and kept the hopes alive for Arasan SuperKings to make a comeback.

But with the asking rate climbing with every dot ball, and with disciplined bowling from PACNZ, the latter won the contest by 36 runs.

PACNZ’S Umair Maqbool’s spell was the game changer as he conceded just nine runs in three overs, with a wicket to his name.

Muhammad Asad Ali was awarded the Player of the Match for his instrumental knock that saw PACNZ gain upper hand in the two-off contest.

The Second Game goes to Tamils

In the second game, hosts PACNZ put the visitors in to bat as Arasan SuperKings looked to level the contest.

Arasan SuperKings Captain Cyrus Godwill set the ball rolling with a brilliant six, over mid-wicket with just a flick of his wrists. He followed it with a spectacular lofted shot over the covers that sailed over the ropes, which set the belief in the visitor’s camp.

With a strike rate close to 160 and a knock that included 5 fours and 6 sixes, Cyrus fell short of a well-deserved century by six runs as he was holed out just a few inches away from the boundary at cow corner.

Arasan SuperKings’ 35-ball knock of 43 stitched a crucial partnership at the middle as the team set PACNZ a big target of 197.

Muhammad Fayyaz picked up a brace for 30 runs in his quota of four overs.

In reply, Muhammad Asad Ali, continued his red-hot form from the previous game as he counter attacked the Arasan SuperKings opening bowlers.

But his innings was cut short by Sheon Luxmanan as he outfoxed the batsman into playing a false shot as he knocked one to wicket keeper Logesh Kumar. With power hitting Ali gone early, it was a daunting task for PACNZ.

Wicket keeper Muhammad Umair Shakeel kept the hopes alive as he scored a 27 ball 42. It was Sheon Luxmanan who starred with the ball for Arasan SuperKings as he picked up three crucial wickets for 29 runs, in his four overs, that also included a maiden over.

With tight lines and disciplined variation, Sheon kept the pressure and forced the batsman to play the false shots as they swung across the line in an attempt to capitalise the field restrictions during the power play.

Sheon was well supported by Niranjan Ramesh who picked up three wickets for 27 runs in four overs. With his immaculate variations and change of pace, Niranjan forced the opposition to play aerial shots, with fielders positioned on the boundaries at the right place.

PACNZ could manage 165 for nine in their chase, that saw Arasan SuperKings win the game by 31 runs to level the contest.

The Honours to both sides

Cyrus was adjudged the Player of the match as Arasan SuperKings levelled the contest.

Asad Ali took the honours as the Best Batsman of the Tournament for wielding his willow while Sheon Luxmanan bagged the Best Bowler of the Tournament for swinging the white cherry and getting the crucial breakthroughs against the opposition.

The day was not just all about Cricket but was also a platform for the two communities to interact and build rapport, with plans for collaborations in the near future, including cultural events, badminton contests and other opportunities.

Family Day

The event saw the family members of both the communities interact, with PACNZ organising food for the event, giving an insight into their traditional food.

It was an inter community extravaganza which saw players and family members exchange ideas and discuss long term collaboration projects.

In the end, Cricket was the winner and the community members had made a few more friends to add on to their list.

A special mention to Nivethanan Thiraviam and the Weedons Cricket Club for providing the sporting facility and the ground at the last minute after inclement weather forced change of grounds.

Arasan New Zealand is determined to continue more such collaborations in the near future and is keen to organise a cultural festival which would see a singing and a dancing contest between the two communities.

Dr Luxman Selvanesan is the Chairman of Arasan Trust New Zealand and Chairman of Multiethnic Council in Dunedin. The Tournament was the result of his efforts and those of Muhammad Umair Shakeel of PACNZ

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