The city was proud to host a thrilling match of the T20 Cricket World Cup for the Blind at the KIIT university cricket ground. This match was of India CAB against New Zealand Blindcaps in which India smashed a victory by 9 wickets. The highlight of the entire match was a full stadium and the presence of close to 1000 differently abled children from Special Schools from all across Odisha.
Through a personal invite to all the Special Schools of Odisha through various Governmental and Educational departments as well as through Swabhiman (a nonprofit, a cross disability organization) by famous Odia Actor and the Brand Ambassador for Cricket for the Blind in Odisha Sabyasachi Mishra, over 1000 children from Special Schools from various cities had turned up to watch the match. The children screamed, clapped and cheered the players with enthusiasm no less than every other spectator in the crowd. “I had expected a maximum of 300 children to participate. Presence of these children in such huge numbers is truly motivating by itself. This event was not just a cricket match, but a true learning experience. This will truly encourage them to work hard towards achieving their dreams and ambitions without allowing any physical challenges stand as a hurdle in their paths.” Sabyaschi quoted.
The ninth day of the T20 World Cup for the Blind began on a thrilling start with a stadium overflowing with full stands. The defending champions, IndusInd India CAB took on the New Zealand Blindcaps with West Indies winning the toss and choosing to bat first. The Blindcaps were restricted to a score of 136/6 on the scoreboard in 20 overs with BD Wilson scoring an undefeated half century and Odisha Star Jafar Iqbal and Ketal Patel picking up 2 and 1 wickets respectively.
In the second innings Captain Ajay Kumar Reddy of Team India displayed extraordinary batsman skill with a score of 75 not out in 28 balls including 14 boundaries and Odisha boy Sukhram Majhi helped him set the score with his 56 runs in 25 balls including 11 boundaries. The duo successfully chased the target in mere 9 overs. MLK McCaskill took the sole wicket of Jafar Iqbal. Sukhram Majhi was awarded the Man of the Match award.
Being delighted on playing Host to the Match in their University, Honorary Founding Director, KIIT University, Achyuta Samanta said “We have organized many tournaments including Ranji Trophy and other BCCI tournaments. But this is a new experience for us as many times sighted cricketers also miss an easy ball. But these cricketers are able to score 300+ by just listening to the ball. Extremely proud and humbled at the same time to host this match. We wholeheartedly support the initiative of Cricket for the Blind.” As a token of appreciation, KIIT also presented trophies to the players, umpires, coaches as well as the Sponsors. Mr. Samanta gave away thr trophies along with MJ Srikant and Sabyasachi Mishra.
Being enthralled by the crowd and the match, Vishal K Dev, Commissioner and Secretary to Government, Sports & Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha said, “We are absolutely privileged to be hosting two wonderful teams in Odisha for the League Match of the 2nd T20 World Cup Cricket for the Blind. We have always believed in an Inclusive society and equal opportunities for all which drives us to support special causes and help meet their needs. On behalf of the Sports and Youth Services Department of the Govt. of Odisha, I wish both the teams good luck for the rest of the matches in tournament”
President of CABI and Founder Managing Trustee of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled Mahantesh G K expressed “I’m very happy that match is happening in Bhubaneshwar and the support we have garnered there is very encouraging, especially Odisha Government, KIIT University and all the other companies who have come forward. I appreciate all the excellent efforts put into the successful organizing of the Match and thank each and every one for joining hands and supporting this noble cause with your presence at the match venue”.
MJ Srikant, Strategist on board of CABI and member of the World Cup Organizing Committee, expressed, “I am delighted to be in the midst of such a tremendous crowd. Spellbound to see the buzzing city of Bhubaneshwar come alive in support of the Match. There is so much about life one can learn and get inspired from seeing these players play the sport. I once again thank the Govt of Odisha for making this possible with their invaluable support and a special thanks to all the Sponsors for being present today and showing your support in person as well.”
“A splendid performance by both New Zealand Blind Caps and the Indian Cricket Team. It feels great playing host to both the sides here at Bhubaneshwar. I am honoured and humbled that the children have and the schools have accepted my humble invitation and have come from across the state to support the cause and learn a valuable lesson for life. There cannot be a greater way to support the cause of Cricket for the Visually Impaired.” Added Sabyasachi Mishra, Cine Actor, Activist and the Brand Ambassador of Cricket for the Visually Impaired in Odisha.
Expressing gratitude to the Sponsors, Secretary, Cricket Association for the Visually Impaired Odisha (CAVI Odisha), Sannyas Kumar Behara said “I’d like to thank the Government of Odisha, IOCL, Tata Steel, SBI and all other Sponsors who have contributed to the success of organizing the World Cup Tournament in Odisha. A special thanks to CABI for giving us the opportunity to host the match, MJSPR for extending their PR and Branding Support in a very professional manner for the whole tournament, and to Special Olympics Bharat Odisha for their all-round support. My best wishes goes out to both the teams.”
“CAVI Odisha is putting in their best efforts to promote the game throughout the state. They need all the possible support from the Governments as well as corporates. We have no dearth of talent in the state. They should also get opportunities on the level equal to the sighted cricketers.” Added Prakash K Rath, Area Director, Special Olympics Bharat Odisha and the Ground In charge. Needless to say, the organization and their team has been extremely professional and judicious in managing the crowd and the entire event and match.
Appreciating the noble cause, many companies and organizations have come forward in Support. This Tournament and the Match is Supported by KIIT University, Odisha Mining Corporation, Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Limited, NALCO, Tata Steel, SightSavers, Indian Oil Corporation and All India Radio.
Rahul Dravid is the official Brand Ambassador for the tournament while Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, K L Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Gautam Gambhir, Anupam Kher have also come forward to support and promote Blind Cricket. Former India Player Dilip Vengsarkar and many other cricketers have also come forward to support this international event. In a recent media announcement, Odia Actor Sabyasachi Mishra has also been announced as the Brand Ambassador for Cricket for the Blind in the State of Odisha.
The tournament is also supported by Government of Karnataka, Government of Telangana, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Sports Authority of India, Sports Ministry, IndusInd Bank, SBI, Star Sports, ONGC, Blue Voda, Bank of Baroda, Enerzal, CBM, SG Pvt Ltd, Coca Cola, PVR, ICCR, Indian Association of Para Sports Organisations, CricHQ, Oxxy, NASSCOM Foundation, Study by Janak, Radio Udaan.
Following are the results:
New Zealand Blindcaps: 136/6 in 20.0 overs (JH Dunn 1, TRM Patterson 4, Parveen Shankar 6, RJ Gilmore 6, BD Wilson 52 n.o., GC Williamson 0, MLK McCaskill 13, Deacun Dunn 13 n.o., Iqbal Jafar 2- 19, Ketan Patel 1-12) lost to India CAB: 140/1 in 9.0 overs (Sukhram Majhi 56 n.o., Iqbal Jafar 0, Ajay Kumar Reddy 72 n.o., MLK McCaskill 1-47)