Positive impression made at Inner City World Cup

A young Afghanistan team triumphed in the 9th ‘Inner City World Cup’ by beating a spirited Sri Lanka at The MCC Academy, Lord’s Cricket Ground on the 29th August.

The  event, run by The Change Foundation and sponsored by Investec, brings together young Londoners from different communities through cricket to teach them about different cultures, encourage community cohesion and friendship.  The Inner City World Cup is a ‘Street20’ cricket competition, and young people choose to represent either their own country of birth or their parent’s country of birth.

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There were 6 teams involved from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, England, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, alongside 2 guest teams from event sponsors, Investec and leading cricket magazine, All Out Cricket.

After a brief introduction from The Change Foundation’s, Alex Bassan, event organiser, the teams were split into 2 groups for the main competition of the day. Group A consisted of Sri Lanka, England, Pakistan and Investec with Group B having India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and All Out Cricket.

As the main event got under way (because later in the afternoon all teams are mixed up and play together) the standard of cricket was high with some accurate bowling and hard hitting. Bodies were put on the line to stop any runs being conceded and to make sure that their team had the best chance of making it into the final.  Sri Lanka secured their place in the final by winning Group A but Group B was not so easy to split.

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Sadly guest team All Out Cricket had ruled themselves out with no wins and so it was down to a intense ‘Bowl Out’ between Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh to decide who would meet Sri Lanka.  As the Bowl Out progessed, the nerves were getting to everyone and it came down to the last 3 young players for each team. Bangladesh stepped up and narrowly misses the stumps. Next up were India, ‘Oh no he’s bottled it, it’s been bowled into the next post code!’.  Finally the last Afghan player steps up. The pressure all on him… YES! He’s done and Afghanistan are through!

So Sri Lanka took on Afghanistan in a keenly contested match. Afghanistan having been put into bat get away to a flyer but Sri Lanka soon pull it back with a few quick wickets. Afghanistan picked up the rate again and set Sri Lanka a tough target off their allotted 20 balls. Despite losing a few early wickets the middle order steadied the ship and Sri Lanka looked on target until a superb catch from one of the young Afghani lads turned the game around. Afghanistan are crowned Inner City World Cup Winners.

With all the excitement of the morning surely there can’t be more? There was, with the arrival of England and Middlesex Cricketer, Sam Robson. Sam arrived just after a lunch as the teams were being mixed up.  Mixing the teams up in the afternoon brings so much value to the day. It not only encourages the players to work with new people but it gives the young people an opportunity to understand a new culture and learn from their peers. With now 6 new teams created, a new tournament is played but with more of a focus on mixing communities together in a friendly environment. Sam Robson also joined in and showed the players how it’s done!

The day finished on a high with the young people not only going away with bundles of cricket under their belt but a real sense of achievement, a healthy respect for others and perhaps learnt something new about themselves!

Henry Cowen from All Out Cricket left feeling inspired by the young people he had met, “We were absolutely delighted to take part in the day. The talent on show was very impressive and the youngsters on all sides made quite the impression on us – not least when they were condemning us to three straight defeats. It’s a fantastic initiative and one that we were proud to be involved in. There’s no doubt it’s something that will really benefit all of the youngsters that were involved.”

Finally a big thank you to, Investec for their continued support of the Inner City World Cup, All Out Cricket for their coverage, The MCC Academy at Lord’s Cricket Ground for being so accommodating to us and supplying a cracking lunch and of course DJ Dave for some brilliant tunes!

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