LAYTON — Cricket is on the rise in Utah.
For the first time ever four teams were playing two cricket matches in two separate cities — at the same time.
While two South Salt Lake Valley/Utah Valley clubs faced off at 11th Avenue Park, the Salt Lake County Sabrecats travelled to Layton to play the recently revived Bashers club.
“It’s my longtime dream come true,” said Sabrecats captain Nasir Khan, who has been the principal organizer of Intermountain Cricket League (ICL).
Khan’s Sabrecats (2-1) beat the Layton Bashers 185-157 in Layton’s first match in three years.
The Bashers’ Rajeev Soorma said the big reason for getting the team back together was that they just missed cricket too much. And they are all in for this season — the team has ordered uniforms with names on the back and everything.
Soorma’s brother and team captain Kapil said the “core group of guys” have been together for more than 10 games.
“We’ll play seven or eight matches (this year) and see where you go,” Kapil said. “We usually win 80 percent of our matches.”
The Bashers worked hard to get their pitch at Woodward Park ready to go — having to twice smooth the field because people unlawfully drove on the grass late Saturday night.
“Many thanks to our hosts for working very hard and tirelessly the entire week to prepare the pitch for this match,” Khan said after the match. “Job well done, Layton.”
Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, the Vincent Hawks (1-0) defeated the Utah Lions 181-180 in the Hawks’ captain Poro Burman’s final match with the team. Burman, who founded the team, is moving.
The Lions (1-2), unfortunately are also losing a key player. Wicketkeeper Omer Aslam Malik is graduating from college and got a job out of state. Graduation of college students is big problem for cricket clubs in Utah. However, the fact that these clubs continuing to play and invest in pitches and equipment is a good sign.
Khan confirmed on Sunday that the Las Vegas Express and the Boise Cricket Club (the fifth and sixth members of the ICL) will play in a three-day tournament in Salt Lake City during the Memorial Day weekend to compete for the Memorial Day Trophy.
SABRECATS 185, BASHERS 157: At Layton, Bharaht Kandati led the Sabrecats with 53 runs, which included six 6s and two 4s.
“Jagdev Singh and Shahzad Ahmed laid a solid foundation for the middle-order batsmen,” Khan said.
For the Bashers bowlers, Swadesh Patra took two wickets; Vish and Kapil Soorma also took one each.
When it was Layton’s turn to bat, Tejas (36) Karkik (26) and Sheron (25) Patra (20) all exceeded 20 runs.
Salt Lake County’s Arun added 29 runs (two 6s) and took two wickets from the Bashers. Rahid Karim and Zhar Khan also bowled well for the Sabrecats, taking two wickets each.
HAWKS 180, LIONS 179: At Salt Lake City, in a tightly-contested game, Vincent (playing its first game of the season) surpassed the target of 180 with 12 balls to spare (six wickets lost).
The Lions got a good start from batsmen Zaki Murtaza (37) and finished well with Harris Zia (39, not out). Leading the Utah bowlers was Ahsan Javed, who became the first Lions player to get a five-wicket haul.
Diwakar Nandiraju lead the Hawks’ batsmen with 36 runs. Vipul Joshi (28), Krishna Chaitanya (23), Roy (23) and Shawn (18) also hit well.
Intermountain Cricket League
Team W L Runs for Runs against
Vincent Hawks 1 0 180 179
SLC Sabrecats 2 1 479 509
Boise Cricket Club 0 0 0 0
Las Vegas Express 0 0 0 0
Utah Lions 1 2 531 474
Layton Bashers 0 1 157 185
Lions vs. Sabrecats
Hawks at Bashers