The Bay of Plenty Indians have long been a powerhouse of Rotorua cricket, but their dominance also extends to the national stage.

The club sent A and B sides to the New Zealand Indian Sports Association (NZISA) Cricket Tournament in Palmerston North last week and the A side finished in first place for the third consecutive year.

Club secretary Praful Morarji said the annual tournament, which was hosted by the Central Districts Indian Sports Club, has "a historical significance and has been played for many years".

During the Bay of Plenty Indians' three consecutive title wins, they have gone on a 12-match unbeaten streak. This year's tournament was contested by five teams and the BOP Indians B team finished third.

Advertisement

"The level of competition was greater than at previous tournaments with the final showcasing a nail biting and thrilling finish," Morarji said.

In the final against Wellington, BOP Indians won the toss and chose to field. Wellington got off to a flying start and reached 100/2 in the 11th over.

"Some tight fielding and discipline bowling saw us fight back and bundle Wellington for 125 runs. [There were] excellent bowling efforts by Jayvant Dhanjee, Harjinder Singh and Prashant Dhanjee, accompanied by a champion bowling display by Mehul Chhagan."

Chhagan took five wickets, including a hat trick to mop up the tail.

While 125 seemed a relatively simple chase, Wellington also produced a tight bowling performance which meant BOP Indians had to fight for the win.

The Bay of Plenty Indians A and B teams at the National Indian Cricket Tournament in Palmerston North. Photo / Supplied
The Bay of Plenty Indians A and B teams at the National Indian Cricket Tournament in Palmerston North. Photo / Supplied

The chase was led by Ajay Kumar who finished the tournament as the side's MVP.

A solid middle over partnership by Kamalpreet Bains and Gurwinder Singh saw them reach the target of 126 in the final over with four wickets to spare.

"It was a proud moment for our club and the win is a tribute to the great work being done by the executive committee."

Advertisement

The A side's first game of the tournament was against their own B team. They batted first and reached 166, with Bharat Popli scoring a half century.

In their chase, the B side was struggling at 40/8 until a wonderful innings by Midlage Ifthahar (64) saw his side come painfully close, falling just 17 runs short in what was a highly entertaining fight back.

The A side then beat two Central Districts teams to progress to the final against the also unbeaten Wellington.

Five players from the A team made the tournament team, along with two players from the B team.

"Parv Mehta was the MVP for the B team which finished third. A great bowling performance by Karamvir Benipal who took 6/19 saw himself finish the tournament with 10 wickets.

"Special mentions of thanks would like to be made to Hasmukh Chhagan and Shonit Chandra who have put a lot of hard administration work in behind the scenes. The club would like to thank the Indian community for their ongoing support and remember the past members who are no longer with us," Morarji said.

Bay of Plenty Indians players who made the National Indian Tournament team:
Ajay Kashyap, Bharat Popli, Harjinder Singh, Karampreet Bains, Mehul Chhagan (A team), Karamvir Benipal, Midlage Ifthahar (B team).