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West Indies All Stars win MAQ T20 cricket championship in Florida
by DreamCricket USA
May 26, 2008
The MAQ T20 Championship

The West Indies All Stars put up the only noteworthy total of the tournament - they scored 128 in the championship match. Courtney Browne, the former captain of Barbados, made 48 runs in this match. The wicket-keeper batsman was also involved in a stumping and a catch in the final.

Canadians found the going tough and did well to reach 91 - most of those runs came from Geoff Barnett (28) and Sanjay Thuraisingham (25). Tim Allen of the West Indies took a neat 3 for 16 from his 4 overs. Hamish Anthony bowled a miserly 3 overs taking two wickets for just 6 runs.

West Indies won all their matches over the weekend and deserved to win the championship.

Canada All Stars, the runner-up, surprised everyone by putting on some tremendous performances against Pakistan All Stars and World XI All Stars. They beat Azhar's men by 9 wickets and Miandad's team by 5 wickets. Not bad considering Miandad's team comprised a handful of cricketers who play cricket at the highest level.

The World All Star XI was the weakest team - that despite the presence of Mohammad Azharuddin. His own tally in the tournament of 18 from three outings disappointed his fans who had been eagerly waiting for a stroke-filled essay from the classy batsman. His team lost all three matches it played. Pakistan All Stars disappointed by losing two of their three matches. Miandad's willow had clearly seen better days and it did not look like those days could be wished back. His nephew Faisal Iqbal, had a decent tournament scoring 46 not out against the Canadians and 21 in the final match against the World XI.

MAQ T20 is a milestone

MAQ T20 should be commended for being the first high profile cricket tournament in the newly constructed Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill. With better timing and nicer weather, and had the organizers pulled together teams with greater fire-power, the event would certainly have lived up to the billing.

Despite these constraints, the event attracted a modest crowd - some 500 attended the final. The organizers had predicted an attendance of 30,000 or more but cricket fans were notable by their absence. Some locals attributed it to long weekend activities and a competing reggae event downtown.

The tournament organizers must get credit where it is due - they spent a lot of their money - some $75000 in prize money was on offer, add to that the cost of hosting the international cricketers. And their organization did succeed in its efforts to bring the sport to a stadium audience, something that many have tried and failed recently in USA. By hosting it at the new stadium that was designed for that very purpose, they have helped cricket make a new beginning in the Florida region.

As Richie Richardson said, "It's a start for what could be a great thing in South Florida."

Hype and reality

Writing about the MAQ T20 in the South Florida Times on May 23rd, Chris Jenkins was completely bowled over by the propaganda. "The event will be a first on American soil in two areas, as the first international cricket match and as the first match held at a cricket stadium," he wrote.

The writer cannot be blamed for being a bit too enthusiastic about the weekend of cricket, but this is far from truth. USA hosted the first international match on American soil years in 1844 between USA and Canada. The first ever English tour of USA was in 1859 and Harper's Weekly even carried an illustration of that match.

Labeled as an "International Cricket Tournament," the MAQ T20 follows Los Angeles Open Twenty20's example of inviting overseas cricketers to entertain and to promote cricket. To a certain extent, it has improved on that years-old premise by injecting some music and entertainment into the mix.

Whereas the LA Open featured mostly current cricketers and also includes USA based teams, the MAQ teams had a few former cricketers as well. In fact, three of the teams were led by former greats - Javed Miandad, Mohammed Azharuddin, and Richie Richardson.

The teams were not the national teams as Chris Jenkins was led to believe. Chris Jenkins wrote "The Pakistan National Cricket Team comes in as one of the tournament favorites, having won more than 75 percent of its games overall. The team was last year’s runner-up for the inaugural International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 Championships held in South Africa."

The team that represented was not the Pakistan national team even though it included some former international cricketers. Also playing on the team were Imran Farhat and Imran Nazir, two cricketers who play in the rebel ICL league. There were several USA based cricketers of Pakistani origin on this team - not exactly an All Star team but close enough.

The West Indies team had more star-power than the competition with several first class cricketers amidst their ranks.

The Canadians were really the only unit that were something of a national team. And they exceeded everyone's expectations.

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