A Wonderfully Successful Inaugural 2022 Smart Investments Canadian Friendship Cup!

By Tony McWatt, Publisher

The 2022 Inaugural Season of the Smart Investments Canadian Friendship Cup was
concluded on Friday, June 24 at King City’s Maple Leaf Cricket Club. In what was a
most fitting climax to a very well-organized and superbly staged two weeks tournament,
the Delhi-Kathmandu Royals fashioned an exciting last –over two-wicket win over the
Jaffna-Galle Centurions to claim the championship title and its associated $20,000
prize money. As losing finalists, Centurions would, however, have been somewhat consoled by the
$10,00o they pocketed as runners-up.
Conceived by SOFF Indoor Cricket Facility Owner, Ranjith Bandulahewa, the 2022 Canadian
Friendship Cup was organized, promoted and eventually successfully staged by him and his fellow
members of Cricket Beyond Borders. As a not-for-profit organization Cricket Beyond Borders’
aim was to use the event as a platform to promote unity, harmony, and humanity to combine with
sporting excellence and financial rewards.

Under Smart Investment Property’s Title Sponsorship the tournament’s 2022 inaugural edition
provided some very unique features, These included a) Innovative team names to transcend
geographical National borders b) Stringent team qualifying criteria to maintain high levels of
competition c) Test match-grade premium leather balls d) High prize monies to attract top talent. e)
Amazing MVP prizes for each game and f ) Cricket simultaneously celebrated as a sport, family and
multicultural community event.

Bangalore Peshawar Titans, Delhi Kathmandu
Royals, Gujarat Toronto Challengers, Jaffna
Galle Centurions, Karachi Chandigarh Kings,
Mumbai Lahore Knights and Rajasthan
Rangpur Thunders were the seven teams that
competed for championship honours as well
as their fair share of the available $30,000
in prize monies during the June 10 – 22 T20
tournament. Several Canadian current and
former players including current National
team captain Navneet Dhaliwal, middleorder
batsman, Rayyan Pathan, all-rounder
Harsh Thaker, seamer Ravi Joshi as well as
mystery-spinner Nikhil Dutta participated in
the tournament.

Both Dhaliwal and Pathan used the
tournament to further emphasize their class
as arguably Canada’s two best batsmen, with
all due respect to the absent Nitish Kumar,
who is now seemingly, permanently USA
based. Pathan was the tournament’s big
individual prize money winner. He pocketed
approximately $750 for being adjudged
Player of the Tournament, as well as the Best
Batsman both overall and in the Playoffs.

For his part Dhaliwal, with 274 runs/7 innings, showed his class in finishing second just marginally
behind Pathan (289/7), in the standings for the tournament’s highest run scorers. He also scored a
classily composed 34 balls 55, including 2 sixes and 6 fours, that provided the foundation for the
Royal’s successful, championship-winning chase of the 199 runs victory target that had been set by
the Centurions.

The highlight of the very exciting Final, at the conclusion of which there was an IPL-like champagne
popping trophy and prize money presentation ceremony was an eye-opening, remarkable, half-century
by Canada’s now still only just twenty-four years old Harsh Thaker. In an innings that was
almost as equally breath-taking as Johnny Bairstow’s recent 2nd Test winning hundred for England
against New Zealand, Thaker struck 3 sixes and 5 fours to reach his fifty in just 24 balls.
It was an exhibition of incredulous striking from the youngster. Witnessed first-hand as it was by
Dhaliwal, his captain and fellow Canadian teammate, it was highly suggestive of Thaker being granted
an immediately forthcoming promotion in the National team’s batting order.

With its 2022 Inaugural Season now having been successfully completed, the Canadian Friendship
Cup’s chief organizers Ranjith Bandulahewa, Harry Chheda and their Cricket Across Borders fellow
members, along with the Title Sponsors Smart Investments Partnership Owners, Abhay Mathur and
Mohammed Moledina, can now start planning for next year’s edition. Using one of Brampton City’s
many lit cricket grounds as the venue and featuring the participation of a fully sponsored Ontario
U23 team, the extended invitation to this year’s tournament of which was unfortunately declined
by Cricket Ontario, would be two suggested considerations for making the tournament even more
successful than it was this year.

In the interim, deserved kudos of the highest order must now be extended to all concerned for what
was indeed a wonderfully successful 2022 Smart Investments Canadian Friendship Cup Inaugural
Season! Cheers.

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