[edit] The Vibha Cricket Cup – Ten years and running in Atlanta…

Mallick Huggahalli

With the IPL tournament taking center stage in the cricket world, the world is watching a revolution take place in the way cricket is played and enjoyed. However, Atlanta cricket enthusiasts are probably not entirely unaccustomed to this style of slam bang cricket, where sixes and fours fly in all directions and fielders hurl themselves with great vigor on super hot days in the sun and under flood lights. Yes, we are talking about the Vibha Cricket Tournament held on the Georgia Tech University SAC field every year for the past decade.

It is only this past year, since India captured the T20 World Cup, that most of India started taking notice of this abridged version of the game that one could enjoy in a matter of 3 hours. Packaged like most American and European sports and entertainment events, T20 has started to draw in millions of casual cricket fans in to this format – that promises non-stop action for the duration of the game. Interestingly, in the West Indies, in America and even in Pakistan, T20 games have been popular for years. In India and elsewhere, purists had mostly turned their heads from this fascinating formula – where agricultural, cross-batted, innovative slogging is encouraged and applauded and a bowler that gives away just 7 runs an over is seen as a match-winner.

The Vibha Cup is actually an even shorter version of the game, just 10 overs a side and 8 players a team. So that makes it even more difficult for the fielding side, with large gaps in the field. There were scores of less than 25 and as high as 161 in 10 overs. But that doesn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the players and teams, who have shown up in droves, increasing in participation every year. The game is played with the hard ‘tennis-cricket’ ball that makes it a little less hazardous for the casual player, but at the same time does not lessen the quality of the sport. What also makes the games at this tournament interesting is the true nature of the field. The SAC field is an Astroturf ground and is large enough to have two games going on at the same time.

The Vibha Cup started ten years ago in 1999 had 16 teams and about 100 players in all. And for the past 5 years, it has grown to more than 48 teams and greater than 400 players. The tournament had to expand to a second full weekend to be able to fit in all the rounds of the knock-out format.

The Vibha Cup has also attracted former cricket stars from across the globe. Basil Williams and Clayton Lambert who had played test cricket for the West Indies participated a few years ago as guests of the tournament. And in 2006, the chief guest was Syed Abid Ali from India who opened the bowling for them in the inaugural World Cup in 1975, in addition to playing many tests in the 60’s and 70’s as an exciting all-rounder. Not only did they take time to inaugurate the proceedings, they also donated generously to the cause.

A core group of 8-10 strong teams have formed a healthy rivalry and vie for the championship trophy every year. Trash talking, sledging, heated arguments with the umpires are common place in the heat of the competitive matches between the top teams. The tournament has been so popular in the past few years, that the top teams demanded and got a follow-up tournament – the Super 16 Cup. This tournament, as the name suggests pits the top teams from the Vibha Cup against each other in a knock-out format weekend event in June – for even more bragging rights!

One of the wonderful things about these two tournaments is that it brings together several generations together. We see casual teams with Dads and their children participating, novices who had not ever played gully-cricket, to Americans who try to apply their baseball-honed skills to a different ball game. And we see ultra-competitive, young athletic teams to veteran, savvy teams that know how to handle the pressure of a daunting chase or a tricky low total to defend. We also see players from Pakistan, Srilanka and India, England and Australia play with each other on the same teams. They are oblivious to the differences their countries might have or the rivalries their national teams might have.

[edit] 10th year – Increased Excitement, More Charity!

Tied matches, last ball sixers, and nail-biting excitement that has become the hallmark of the Vibha Cricket tournaments was abundant once again in its 10th edition. But, what has made this tournament even more special this year was the goal of raising $50,000 – twice the amount from last year and not only achieving that but actually exceeding it!! The funds raised from this event will be more than sufficient to support the annual budgets of two of Vibha’s premier projects – Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT) in Andhra Pradesh and Vidyarambham in Tamilnadu.

As expected, 48 teams pre-registered for the event three weeks ahead of the deadline and the buzz was on, all around the town well before the tournament began at 8am on May the 10th. With cricket perfect weather – mild temperatures, dry with a cool breeze - to boot, the tournament got off to a great start. The “Wall of Fame” and “10 years of Nostalgia” posters were of special attraction to most players and visitors. Ms. Carolyn Byrd, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GlobalTech Financial and past President of Coca-Cola Financial Corporation inaugurated the tournament by unveiling the Tournament T-Shirt. In her remarks, she impressed upon all the players and sponsors to contribute towards the cause and increase the targets year after year so that Vibha can continue to support more children in future.

The overnight rain or the windy conditions did not dampen the spirits of the players on the second day, as all the teams went through their initial rounds of matches. The biggest upset of the tournament was the elimination of the Chattanooga Titans, finalists in several previous tournaments, in the very first round. Needing 18 runs in the last over, Ankur of team Agni hit three sixes, one off the last ball, to make the biggest news of the weekend. Other impressive performances were by ACC successfully chasing a target of 123 in 10 overs thus making it the biggest successful chase in tournament history. Manjunath Gowda scored an impressive 65 runs, with six sixes and 4 fours. There were several impressive feats by bowlers as well including a hat-trick by SenthilKumaran Ramaiyan who booked his page in Vibha cricket record books.

The intensity of the tournament rose a couple of notches on the third day of the tournament on May 17th, with several teams competing to make it to the quarters and to ensure their berth in the Super-16 tournament to be held on June 14. Having expanded their franchise, Alpharetta Monsters fielded two teams, one consisting of a young, hungry bunch (Alpharetta Monsters- The Kings) and the other with older but battle-tested stalwarts like Sanjay Narla and Naushad Bhamani (Alpharetta Monsters –The Challengers). The Challengers certainly fought till the last ball and tied the score in a low scoring match against Purple Bulls, but lost eventually based on the number of wickets. By the end of the day, four teams remained setting the stage for an exciting final day with two former champions -Alpharetta Monsters – The Kings and Blue Panthers -, one regular semi-finalist in Predators and a new challenger in ACC.

The semi-final match between Alpharetta Monsters and ACC was off to a sedate start, with the Monsters scoring only 36 runs at the end of 6 overs. The next four overs can only be described as a blitzkrieg, with Akshay Telang sending the ball soaring over the boundary six times, 5 of them off consecutive balls. The last four overs fetched 85 runs as the Monsters posted an impressive total of 121. It was left to ACC to repeat their feat from Day 1. And they made a valiant effort in scoring 65 runs in the first 6 overs. But with their top two batsmen - Manjunath and Aravind getting out attempting big hits, ACC ended their innings scoring 102 runs. But, they left no doubt in the minds of the other teams that this is a team to reckon with for years to come.

The second semi-final between The Predators and the reigning champions Blue Panthers was a repeat of several battles from previous tournaments, where the latter prevailed. There was an expectation that this may be the year of the Predators, particularly because of the depleted strength of the BluePanthers. The Panthers scored a calculated 81 runs, with scores of 17 and 16 coming from Ninad Patil and Prakash. It was the moment of truth for the Predators and with Azim, the best batsman in several previous Vibha tournaments in their ranks, it was a clear possibility. However, the Panthers exhibited some controlled bowling keeping the Predators on a leash as they allowed them to score only 53. Deepak Maini was particularly impressive giving away only 16 runs in his allocated three overs and claimed 3 wickets.

And finally the finals! The Monsters versus The Panthers. This was a classic cricketing battle, but played in a friendly environment, exemplifying the maturity of the teams and the spirit of the tournament. The Panthers started off at a steady pace, but their efforts to raise a huge total were consistently thwarted by the Monsters with sensible bowling and excellent catching. Having restricted the Panthers to just 82 (Prakash – 25), the Monsters lost an early wicket, but the partnership between Ajay Sundaram and Venkat Pokkuluri worth 55 runs at the required pace steadied the innings. With 17 runs required from the last 12 balls, the excitement reached its peak among the players and the spectators. Venkat, heaved a huge six off the third ball and with quick running between the wickets, finished the match with a whole over to spare. Venkat Pokkuluri who scored a match-winning 39 runs was adjudged the Jaya’s Dental man-of-the-match for the finals.

Congratulating the Monsters , Ninad Patil, captain of Blue Panthers said “Monsters have always been a strong team to beat and deserved to be the Vibha 2008 Champions. We have played a lot of competitive cricket over the last few years against them and it has always been exciting and passionate cricket. We would like to thank Vibha for providing us an opportunity to play by hosting this event annually for the last 10 years and for raising funds to support the underprivileged children back home.”

Manjunath Gowda from ACC with an aggregate score of 110 runs was adjudged the Hope Dental Best-Batsman of the tournament. Mujtaba Syed from the Predators was adjudged the Jaya’s Dental Best Bowler of the tournament for his final tally of 11 wickets. Deepak Maini was adjudged the Hope Dental Man of the Tournament for his overall performance with bat and ball. The “Cool Guys” team was awarded the Special trophy for raising the maximum amount of donations through an online pledge drive.

Commenting on their thrilling victory, Bali Subramanian, the captain of the Alpharetta Monsters said, "This victory was achieved not through individual performances but by working together as a team, very similar to what Srinivas Vemulapalli and his team have been doing for the last 10 years to improve the lives of thousands of underprivileged children in India. We are especially glad to win the 10th edition of the FutureTech Vibha Cricket tournament and thank the organizers, sponsors and volunteers for putting together this wonderful event to support India's future - Her children."

The Prize distribution ceremony followed, immediately after the finals. Mr. Sravan Vellanki, the Chairman of FutureTech the Title Sponsor for the event thanked all the players and on behalf of all the sponsors, presented the championship trophy to the Alpharetta Monsters. Mrs. Jaya Vallabhaneni from Jaya’s Dental, another Annual Sponsor for Vibha presented the individual trophies.

[edit] What is Vibha about and where do the funds go?

Cricket aside, the main focus of the organization and the participants is benefiting under-privileged children. Vibha is a non-profit organization involved in raising funds via various events at various chapters across the United States. The Atlanta chapter ( formed in 1996, has been highly successful in organizing other annual events like the DreamMile 5K Walk and Run – which also will be celebrating its 10th year in September, a Sports Mela involving indoor sports and several music and entertainment events as well. The funds raised are directed towards close to 40 projects in India ( The main focus areas of the projects supported by Vibha are:

1. Education: With a belief that education is the key to unlocking the potential of children and for breaking the vicious cycle of poverty, about 50% of their resources go towards education.

  • Pre-primary Education: With the motto of "catch them young", children are encouraged to develop school-going habits. Otherwise the children of poor parents working as day laborers are likely to drop-out. Vibha supports Vidyarambam (Tamilnadu) that has developed a scalable model in starting pre-primary centers and prepares thousands of children to go to school. Another project we support is Baikunthapur Tarun Sangha-BTS (West Bengal) which reduces the burden on daily-wage earning parents and older siblings by providing child-care centers.
  • Primary and Secondary Education: In places where the government school system has failed or is non-existent, several projects have started primary education centers to ensure basic literacy skills. Examples are Alamb (Delhi), Rachana (Maharashtra), Visakha Rural Development Society-VRDS (Andhra Pradesh) and Sevalaya (Tamilnadu). Rachana, in particular, has gained tremendous expertise in the approach of integrated development of children and is rapidly developing into a resource center for other organizations as well.
  • Bridge Schools: In communities where there are already a number of out-of-school children, some projects have started Bridge Schools. These help the children to "catch-up-quick" and get them mainstreamed into the regular school system. Examples are AWARD (Andhra Pradesh), Verala (Maharashtra), Swami Vivekananda Vani Prachar Samity (West Bengal) and Door Step School (Maharashtra).
  • Support Structure to Children: Some projects help the children by providing tuitions, school fees, uniforms and moral support. They ensure that children do not drop out of mainstream schools due to lack of resources at home. Sharada Kalyan Bhandar-SKB (West Bengal), Aasman (Maharashtra), Hope Foundation (Karnataka) and Gugle Trust (Maharashtra) are excellent examples in this category.
  • Support Structure to Schools: In several parts of India, the government schools have good infrastructure but lack motivation due to insufficient community involvement. Citizens in these communities have taken this up as a challenge. They are supporting the schools by funding additional teachers, facilities, computers and field trips. This approach is resulting in the reduction of drop-out rates of children from these schools. In this category, Vibha is funding Gandhian Organization for Rural Development-GORD (Andhra Pradesh), a Mobile Science Van by Association for India's Development-AID(Tamilnadu) and Children's Toy Foundation (Maharashtra).
  • Residential Education: A few of the more experienced projects like Bhagavatula Charitable Trust-BCT (Andhra Pradesh) have taken up residential education for underprivileged children. Vibha is proud to be supporting their efforts to completely transform the lives of those children.

2. Vocational Training: Many of their projects - Alamb (Delhi), Rajasthan Mahila Kalyan Mandal - RMKM (Rajasthan), Sebama Foundation (Tamilnadu) and Odanadi (Karnataka)- have vocational training as a significant component of their overall approach to development for older children. Income generation skills such as tailoring, embroidery and mechanic work help them stand on their own feet and break the cycle of poverty. These children would otherwise have to turn to more desperate measures for a livelihood. At Vibha, they source their own holiday greeting cards from RMKM.

3. Physically and/or Mentally Challenged Children: Children with special needs face significant hurdles because of a lack of community awareness of their needs and rights. Vibha has taken up the cause of these children and is supporting RMKM (Rajasthan), Janmadhyam (Delhi) and Shrishti Special Academy (Karnataka). Apart from providing education and training through special teachers, they are doing a great job in awareness generation and sensitization of the general public about the needs of these special children.

4. Children in Vulnerable Conditions: Certain groups children of sex workers, children in bonded labor - are particularly vulnerable. Vibha is supporting projects that are focused on this segment of the population. Odanadi (Karnataka) and Guria (Uttar Pradesh) are protecting such children by providing shelters, education and vocational training for alternate income generation. Action for Welfare and Awakening in Rural Development-AWARD (Andhra Pradesh) and Health Education Adoption Rehabilitation Development Society-HEARDS (Andhra Pradesh) are fighting the issue of child labor through community mobilization and education with bridge schools. Pratidhi (New Delhi) is highlighting the issue of sexual abuse of children by partnering with the Delhi Police, sensitizing the public about this issue and helping the affected children and families with counseling.

Given the sincerity of the organization, the seriousness of the cause, and the impact the raised funds are creating, the South Asian community in particular has united strongly in their support for Vibha and their dedicated volunteers. FutureTech Consulting has been sponsoring this tournament for several years. The coordinator of the tournament Srinivas Vemulapalli said “We are very proud of the growth of this tournament over the past ten years and the difference it is able to make in the lives of children through the resources raised. It was only possible because of the support of sponsors, players and the volunteers. We have consistently raised more resources year after year and thank everybody for exceeding the target of $50K from this event”. The support of the community is significant especially because of the competition for charitable funds in America. With hundreds of causes to choose from and highly visible and active groups like United Way and the Red Cross, marketing is always a challenge for all the non-profits with similar missions. But cricket is the great gelling force that has created this unique, enjoyable event - The Vibha Cricket Cup - that is bringing pleasure to hundreds of Atlantans and creating better lives for thousands of little children in India.

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[edit] Upcoming Events

Volunteer Meeting - July 9th, 2016 Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM Johns Creek Fire Station

Local volunteering @ Fostercare Support Foundation – Saturday July 30, 2016 – 10am-Noon

Dream Mile 2016 – Sep 17, 2016

[edit] Recent Events

Volunteer Meeting - June 12th, 2016 Sunday 2:00 to 4:00PM OCEE Library

Volunteer Meeting - April 2nd, 2016 , Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road, Cumming 20041 GA

Vibha Cricket Cup 2016, April 16th

Volunteer Meeting - May 14th, 2016 , Saturday 3:00 to 5:00PM Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road, Cumming 20041 GA

Volunteer Meeting - Oct 10th, 2015 Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM OCEE Library

Dream Mile 2015 - Sept 19th

Foster Care Volunteering, August 1, 2015

Volunteer Meeting - July 11th, Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM

Volunteer Meeting - June 7th, Sunday 2:00 to 4:00PM, Johns Creek Fire Station No. 62

Vibha Cricket 2015 - April 2015

Youth Volunteer Meeting - April 26th, Sunday 12 to 2PM, Shakerag Firestation (Near Shakerag Elementary)

Vibha Chess 2015 - February 7th 2015

Volunteer Meeting - February 14th, 2015 - 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm @ OCEE Library

Vibha Table Tennis 2015 - February 28th 2015

Volunteer Meeting - January 10th, 2015 - 2:30 pm @ OCEE Library

Local Volunteering @CRN Gift Wrapping, December 20th 2014

Volunteer Meeting - December 6th 2014

Dream Mile 2014 - Sept 20th

Vibha Cricket 2014

Dream Play 2014

Dream Mile 2013

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2013

Dream Play 2013 - February 16th, 2013

Paramount Software Dream Mile 2012

FutureTech Cricket Cup 2012

Dream Play 2012 (Khel Mela) - March 24th, 2012

Hands-On Volunteering - Dec. 18th, 2011

Paramount Software Dream Mile 2011 - Oct 1st

Vibha Open - Tennis Tournament - Aug 20th

Krishna Kanhaiya - June 19th

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2011

Vibe - March 5th 2011

Past Events

[edit] In the Press

Cricket and Service: A Perfect Duo

FutureTech commits $50K in the next 5 years to Vibha Cricket Cup

K-MACS Dream Play 2012

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2011 - Khabar (July 2011)

International Dance Festival raises funds for children’s causes! - Khabar (February 2011)

12th Annual Dream Mile - Khabar (October 2010)

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2010 - Khabar (July 2010)

11th Annual Dream Mile - Khabar (October 2009)

Pyramid Consulting Super16 (July 2009)

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2009 - Khabar (June 2009)

Sanket Systems Khel Mela 2009 - Khabar (May 2009)

Older Press Releases

Vibha is a 501 (c) (3) organization, registered in the State of New Jersey. Vibha's Tax ID is 22-3122761.
Copyright © 2016 Vibha Inc. All rights reserved.
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