India has won its third HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup title after defeating Sri Lanka at Blacktown International Sportspark on Thursday night.
It was the first time the two communities had met in a HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup final, with Sri Lanka defeating Bangladesh and India overcoming defending champions Pakistan in the semi-finals to secure their places in the grand final. Semi-final results are listed below.
Sri Lanka elected to bat first in the T10 fixture, posting a competitive total of 3/79. Santosh Samuel top-scored with 44* while Japneet Singh and Mandar Mariguddi picked up one wicket each for India.
In reply, India’s openers Dhruv Kant (32*) and Smit Doshi (45*) continued their dominant form, completing the run chase with four balls to spare.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commander Operations and Support Brett James assisted with the trophy presentation. James is also the captain of the AFP cricket team.
Members of the AFP were present throughout the tournament to help break down barriers between multi-cultural communities and the police.
Sri Lanka captain Suthakar Senathipillay praised the efforts of his team during the tournament.
“I’m really proud of my team,” said Senathipillay.
“Even until the last ball they didn’t lose hope in all matches we played. Even though we scored low score in our group matches, everyone believed we could defend it. Our bowling was very disciplined throughout and our fielders backed up really well.
“I’m really proud to lead the Sri Lankan team into their first finals in HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup. It was a great experience for every one of us.
“Even though the team had guys from different religious ethnic backgrounds in Sri Lanka, everyone played and had fun together. Everyone supported one another and shared knowledge with each other. I hope we can improve ourselves more to be the champions next year.”
Title-winning captain Arun Chauhan was humbled to lead the Indian community in the HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup.
“Representing your nation in a HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup is always a proud moment.
“We were pumped up to get through to the finals also knowing Pakistan were the defending champions and beat us in the final last year.
“We knew we needed everyone to be on top of their game to beat Sri Lanka who played some good quality cricket in this HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup.”
The HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup exists to give individuals the opportunity to connect with their community and celebrate culture through cricket.
The seventh edition of the tournament saw teams represent six different communities – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Trudi Busch, Director of Marketing, Sponsorship and Community at HomeWorld, said the reason HomeWorld – who manage and develop the largest new home display villages across NSW – continue to support the Thunder Nation Cup is because its values extend beyond the cricket field.
“It has been fantastic to see the HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup trials and games take place over the past few weeks,” said Busch.
“Once again this tournament has shown us the vital role that cricket plays in bringing communities together.
“The HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup is something HomeWorld is really proud to support and we continue to work closely with Sydney Thunder to ensure that this tournament grows every year.”
For more information about the HomeWorld Thunder Nation Cup, please contact Sydney Thunder.
Semi-Final 1: Sri Lanka (4/65) defeated Bangladesh (5/55). Santosh Samuel (29*) top-scored for Sri Lanka and Don Dasanayake claimed 2/7, while Bangladesh’s Rajib Sarker scored 20*.
Semi-Final 2: Pakistan (2/52) was defeated by India (0/57). Dhiraj Sharma (2/9) was India’s best with the ball before captain Arun Chauhan (31*) and Dhruv Kant (21*) steered them to victory.