The Jigmethang Cricket Ground is currently ablaze with excitement as nine teams battle it out in the Bhutan T20 Smash 2023. This thrilling T20 league, hosting 40 matches for the first time, not only aims to crown a champion but also presents a golden opportunity for players to secure a spot in the senior men’s national cricket team, which will compete in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Malaysia this July.
Representing various regions such as Thimphu, Samtse, Punakha, and Paro, these nine teams are determined to showcase their cricketing prowess on this grand stage.
After the league round, the top-performing teams will qualify for the semi-finals. As of now, SKD All Stars, Paro Blue Moon, Dragon Strikers, and Druk Chargers hold the top four positions, igniting the anticipation for thrilling encounters in the upcoming rounds.
Tournament coordinator, Yeshey Choden, highlighted the reasons behind the extensive schedule of 40 matches. “We are obligated to fulfill the ICC criteria for tournament matches. Additionally, the league matches provide invaluable experience to the players. Lastly, with each team playing eight matches, we can identify and select players for the national team,” Choden explained.
Considering that the participating players include students and working professionals, all matches are scheduled on weekends, allowing everyone to actively participate in this cricketing extravaganza.
In yesterday’s matches, Paro Blue Moon triumphed over Dantak XI by a margin of 42 runs in the morning session, while SKD All Stars dominated Team Academy by a staggering 158 runs in the afternoon.
However, players express that the lack of adequate facilities remains a significant challenge for them.
“This tournament is going to benefit numerous Bhutanese cricketers as we have already witnessed the emergence of young talents. If Bhutan cricket continues to organize tournaments like this, we may uncover ten exceptional players each time. Therefore, I believe this tournament has been fruitful. Nevertheless, the facilities must improve. With the right infrastructure in place, Bhutan cricket can thrive,” stated Mikyo Dorji, a player from SKD All Stars.
Today, Druk Chargers secured a commanding victory of 78 runs against Team Academy in the morning match. However, due to rain, the afternoon fixture between Paro Blue Moon and Hits Karva had to be abandoned.
The grand finale of the Bhutan T20 Smash 2023 is scheduled to take place on June 25th, promising an electrifying conclusion to this exhilarating cricketing spectacle.