The Penn cricket team doesn’t have a new trophy to show off, but it certainly exceeded expectations at its recent national tournament.
The team — ranked 25th of 32 heading into the American College Cricket Championship in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., last week — finished the tournament in third place.
The Quakers won their first four matches to secure a berth in the semifinal match, where they lost to eventual champion George Mason.
“We have made history,” team captain Saksham Karwal wrote in an email. “The team is elated, though we know that the trophy was ours for the taking.”
Penn lost its semifinal match by just nine runs, an extremely small margin in cricket.
According to Karwal, the only reason the team made it so far was a strong team spirit.
“All 12 of the members had an unceasing, never-say-die attitude,” he wrote. “The hunger for winning was so strong that we could go out and beat the best of teams, may they be stronger than us on paper.”
The Red and Blue beat the University of Minnesota, Texas Tech University, the Thunderbird School of Management and the University of Iowa en route to the semifinals.
The team was allowed two alumni players, and both stepped up big for the Quakers. Rahul Bourothu, who earned a master’s degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 2009, and Gavish Sharma, a 2007 Engineering master’s graduate, both had games with at least 50 runs apiece.
Sophomore Dhruv Toshniwal also contributed more than 50 runs in the team’s first win.
Karwal acknowledged the strong support for the cricket club from Penn’s Department of Recreation. He hopes its strong finish at the tournament will encourage the administration and the Sports Club Council to invest in the team’s continuing success.
He believes an improvement in infrastructure would allow the team to be better prepared for bigger tournaments and have a greater chance of success in the future.
But with only two graduating players, the team has a good opportunity to make it back to the semifinals in next year’s tournament.
The captain has already received emails from interested players and incoming freshmen for next year, and he expects the team will be “even better” than the current group.
Junior Engineering student Roshan Rai will be captain next year, and Karwal says his successor will “do us all proud.”
“I have great hopes that next year’s team will surpass this year’s performance and bring back the cup,” Karwal wrote.