Dubai: Odisha Blasters (formerly Dubai Odia) defeated Odia Samaj Abu Dhabi by 17 runs in a thrilling final match of Odisha Cup 2017-18 held in Ocean Fair Cricket ground in Dubai on 9th Feb 2018. The final match was played in the midst of a huge gathering of crowd who enjoyed delightful Odia cuisine and entertained by children dancing to Bollywood tunes and last but not the least a mesmerizing superlative display of the Pride of Odisha culture the Odishi dance performance by the students of Ms Rasmi. Many dignitary guests were present to cheer the finalist teams and congratulated Odisha Cup organizing committee of Odisha Samaj UAE to have accomplished the event on a commendable note. The final match witnessed the pendulum shifting between two sides till the very end but it was Odisha Blasters Akif and Khetra’s exceptional batting which propelled them clinch the title yet again for a consecutive second time and in the process they have set the Odisha Cup record straight with tenth consecutive win.
The course of the match was set for a perfect finish when Odisha Blasters captain Chinmaya won the toss and elected to bat first during a beautiful sunny afternoon appropriate for cricket.
OB lost their first two wickets when the score board was reading a mere 22 runs. Then came Akif to the Crease who formed a 50 runs partnership for the third wicket with Khetra that eventually made the difference between the two sides. Akif scored 45 of 54 balls with the help of 3 boundaries and Khetra scored 31 of 32 balls with the help of 3 boundaries as well. In light of this partnership OB set 112 runs target for OSA in allotted 20 overs. Balaji from OSA was superb in his control bowling and was rewarded with 3 wickets.
It was believed that the target of 112 on a grass outfield was a competent total to chase by OSA. Since beginning OSA was never in control of the game at any stage against a quality fast bowling unit of OB. OSA lost their first five wickets in a meagre 30 runs. Then came to the crease Mr. dependable Rajdeep for OSA who had been a go to man for OSA team throughout this tournament. In Shankar, Rajdeep found an able partner and formed a very good 39 run partnership but unfortunately that fell short at the end to take them through the line as the required run rate kept getting stiffer with every passing over. Smruti, Akif, Pabitra and Rajat, all stuck to a constricted line and length and crippled OSA batsmen throughout. Akif from OB was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round performance of 45 runs with the bat and acquired 2 wickets in 3.2 overs conceding 19 runs.
Below is a list of best performers who received Nikon cameras and Samsung smartphones as awards.
Man of the series – Pintu Dalai from Fujaira Odia Association
Best batsman – Soumya Mallik from Fujaira Odia Association
Best bowler – Biranchi Das from Fujaira Odia Association
Best Wicket keeper – Saifur Rehman from Odia Samaj Abu Dhabi
Prominent emerging player – Biswajit Behera from Utkal Challengers
Best Fielder – Bibhuti from Utkal Challengers
At the end it was a perfect jaunt and spectacle of brotherhood of Odia community ably organized by Odisha Cup organizing committee of OSUAE. Many prizes for kids also given away for their charming performances. Several Prabashi Odia luminaries of UAE were present to witness the cricketing extravaganza, prominent among them were Mr. Amiya Mishra, Mr. Ashok Panda, Mr Sohan Lekhidia from GIFX, Mr. Madhusudan Sarangi, Mr Ali from Grand Store, Mr. Pradeep Rath, Mr. Rudra Mohanty from Evidya, Mr. Sushant Panda whose encouragement catapulted the performance of both the finalist teams.