Last year USC visited San Diego in the last game of the season, came desperately close to clinching a thriller which they lost by 1 wicket. That game by far was the most tense and electrifying game of the whole season.
This year however, the trip to the southern coastline was sweeter and satisfying. Make no mistake, this year USC were up against a better and stronger SD side, which boasted of 2 of the top 5 batsmen in div 2 right now. USC were missing key players Jeet and Deepak Yadav for this tight game.
USC won the toss and put SD to bat on the matted Canyonside wicket. Sandhu and Ashish opened with attack and bowled with venom against openers Badri and Rahil. Badri who scored 93 against Ventura in the previous game was in ominous touch as he flicked and drove against the pace attack. Sandhu had the final say in the battle as he picked up both the in form openers to LBW decisions.
Abhemanyu replaced Ashish and bowled with nippy pace and good length to trouble the batsmen. He was rewarded with the wicket of Raju who edged one to Thammiah behind the stumps. Ashish changed ends and came back with a brilliant over in which he picked up 2 wickets, both edges flying straight to the safe hands of Dushyant and Mishal in the slips. With SD under pressure, Achal played with a steady head and dropped anchor to steady the ship.
Abhemanyu however, continued to strike at the other end as he picked up Vikram to another fine piece of bowling. Achal after being dropped in the covers, couldn’t make it count and was brilliantly run out by Abhemanyu at point. Bharat cleaned up the tail effortlessly and had a brilliant caught and bowled to end the SD innings with a miserable total of 93 in 25 overs.
Sandhu was the pick of the bowlers with 8-2-12-2, Bharat picked up 3 for 10, and Abhemanyu and Ashish picked up 2 apiece. Good bowling was complimented by some brilliant fielding in the deep by Pratik and Murli.
USC started cautiously while chasing 94, Bharat and Tyagi opening the batting. 1st 4 overs yielded only 4 runs, and finally Shyam got through Bharat’s astute defense as Bharat edged one to 1st slip. Sandhu came in and threw caution to the wind as he smashed Shyam twice through the covers to counter attack the SD pacers. He then took the arial route to bludgeon the bowling into submission.
Tyagi picked up Sandhu’s cue and played ruthless cover drives to further dent any SD hopes of making early inroads. The duo added 49 runs in just 6 overs to quickly change the course of the game. Tyagi finally played one straight to the covers. Mishal and Sandhu kept chipping at the remaining runs.
Sandhu was unlucky to be dismissed at the non-striker’s end, when Mishal played a full toss straight back to the bowler, who dropped the catch, but the ball went on to hit the non-strikers end stumps. Sandhu made 32 to compliment his earlier efforts with the ball. Thammiah and Mishal made short work of the remaining few runs as the two batsmen brought USC home in just under 20 overs.
The win takes USC to the top of the standings with 3 wins from 4 games. With 12 more games remaining, USC would hope to continue this good run in the future and remain at the top for the rest of the season and make a strong case for a div 1 promotion.
Game Summary – USC win by 7 wickets
Venue – Canyonside @ San Deigo
Toss: USC; put San Diego into bat
San Deigo - 93 all out in 24.5 overs ( Badri 22, Achal 16 ) Sandhu 8-2-12-2, Bharat 3-0-10-3, Ashish 2/25, Abhemanyu 2/25
USC – 94/3 in 18.1 overs (Sandhu 32, Tyagi 17, Mishal 16*) Nishanth 1/17, Shyam 1/20
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