Chicago Premier League opens season with thrilling match

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Mujeeb Ahmed awarded Player of the Match at the first game kicking off Chicago Predmier League Season 2022 July 7, 2022. Photo: Twitter Chicago Premier League

The Chicago Premier League 20/20 cricket tournament, one of the most keenly awaited events for Indian-Americans and other South Asian communities, kicked off July 7, 2022. Chicago Phantoms and Chicago Destroyers opened the 2022 CPL season.

Chicago Phantoms the winning team at the July 7, 2022, Chicago Premier League kickoff. Photo: Asian Media USA

Played at Skokie Sports, which was lit up with new LED lights on six light poles, players had ample visibility on the cricket pitch. The new light poles provided ample light in the middle which eliminated an issue that most players face when they bat on any of the grounds in Chicagoland, a press release from Asian Media USA said, adding that players and team owners appeared happy with the new addition to infrastructure which had been overlooked by earlier organizers.

Chicago Destroyers team which played in the kicoff match July 7, 2022, for the Chicago Premier League 2022 Season. Photo: Asian Media USA

Chicago Premier League owner Adil Azeem Khan said, “This is just the beginning of better cricketing infrastructure in Chicago,” and indicated he has planned several other improvements that will wow the Chicago crowd.

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Following is a play-by-play account of the game from Asian Media USA –

Scoreboard for the kickoff game between Phantoms and Destroyers at the Chicago Premier League Season opening in Chicago July 7, 2022. Photo: Twitter Chicago Premier League

Phantoms won the toss and elected to bat first. Usama Farqaleet and Jasim Sajjad opened the innings but their partnership was marred by the quick fall of Usama to Yash Mehta’s bowling for 5 runs.

Mujeeb Ahmed stepped in for Usama and not only did he hold his wicket down till the last over but made a spectacular 110 of 62 balls before he succumbed to Vineet Sinha’s quick pace and a poorly executed shot.

The rest of the team contributed little in terms of runs but nevertheless by rotating strikes Mujeeb could continue with his onslaught of the Destroyers offense.

Mujeeb Ahmed, 2nd from right, receiving the Player of The Match award at the July 7, 2022, kickoff event of the Chicago Premier League Season 2022 launch. Photo: Asian Media USA

Phantoms set the target to 175 in 20 overs. Vineet Sinha was the best bowler on the offensive side with 4 overs, 19 runs, 2 wickets and an economy rate of just 4.75; Shaheer Hasan was the most expensive with an economy rate of 16.00.

Fahad Babar and Zohad Hussain opened the innings for Destroyers and with the exceptional batting line up did not have any pressure while they continued to destroy the bowling attack of the Phantoms.

The fall of the first wicket came at the total score of 90 in the 10th over with Zohad succumbing to Umama Azmi.

Shaheer Hasan took on the role of keeping the wicket on one end and continued to chip at the total but could not get a partnership going with falling wickets on the other end. Phantoms exerted pressure on the batters and got Fahad Babar, Venkatesh Naidu, Yash Mehta out within a span of 20 runs. The loss of wickets at frequent intervals slowed down the onslaught of Destroyers and put both teams on an even keel.

Destroyers failed to recover their momentum from the fall of Yash Mehta in the 14th over. The game came to the wire in the last over and Phantoms held the Destroyers back by 4 runs to win the season opener by a 4-run margin.

Mujeeb Ahmed was awarded Player of The Match for his batting. He also collected the award for his century in the innings.

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