Early Sunday outside the nation’s capital, as the rising sun burned golden in the morning sky, UMBC in their blues, and North Carolina State in red took to the field, NCSU batting first. Runs were hard to come by, as all of Maryland’s bowlers, Sumeet Chordiya, Raghav Bharadwarj, Austin Aluvathingal,Gurnish Singh and Faisal Maniar kept it tight. Only Nikhil Talpallikar got the ball away, driving over midwicket for 4, and off driving for 6. Talipallikar scored 28 before being bowled by Aluvathingal. A middle order flurry by Ankit Mehta 18* and Sethu Gopal 16* took the Wolfpack to 113 for 7 at the end of their 20 overs. Watching, Shanae Strachan (Ms Teen Bhamas 2008) was thrilled,”This is exciting ! These 2 teams are great !”
UMBC smelled blood and closed in for the kill sending 2 of their best batsmen out to open Raghav Bharadwarj and Eraj Abidi. But Gopal swung one in from leg, and surprised Abidi by bowling him for a first ball duck ! Bharadwarj had flown in from Portland,Oregon for the Championship, having just graduated and moved to the West Coast (the eligibilty rules allow 2010 grads to play).
Gopal took 2 more quick wickets, Malegonkar 1, and UMBC was 26 for 4. Anand Patel 30 and Gurnish Singh 14 stopped the batting slide and for a while it looked as if UMBC would pull off the win ! Bhavani Hegde and Suhas Kumar struck back though with 2 wickets each to finish off UMBC for 99 runs in 19.2 overs ! Hiren Patel NCSU was game MVP.
TAKING ON MASON DOMINATION
An hour later North Carolina State batted first against George Mason University in the Finals of the 2010 American College Cricket Mid Atlantic Championship, Swapnil Gupta and Talpallikar opened the batting for North Carolina and Gupta 15 played a glorious flick, and Talpallidar ,11 got a life on the long off boundary before driving beautifully through midwicket for 4. Gopal made 16 including a 6 over midwicket and a cover drive for 4.
Then Hashim Khan and Hamaad struck back for George Mason, each taking 2 wickets and NCSU was 58 for 5 after 12 overs ! 100 seemed an illusive target ! Brilliant fielding and accurate throws by GMU resulted in 2 run outs, and the batsmen had to be cautious in attempting runs. Nikhil Rao 7, Ankit Mehta 15 and Hiren Patel 17 batted intelligently though, taking singles to move the score along and North Carolina State was able to reach 115 off their 20 overs.
MAYBE IT WAS THE FULL MOON
The NCSU bowling attack had shown their depth and strength so whilst George Mason began confidently, they were soon losing wickets ! Hashim Khan,14 looked dangerous before Ankit Mehta clean bowled him. Anoop Nair came in at # 7 but batted like a specialist batsman, and looked as though he was going to win it for Mason. Newcomer Kaliyan 7 cracked a 6 and though it was by no means Mason domination, the George Mason team was getting happy. Then Mehta struck, bowling Nair ! a run out helped NCSU wrap up Mason for 97 runs and the North Carolina State University Wolfpack were the first Champions of the the Mid Atlantic Conference !
Shanae Strachan (Ms Teen Bahamas 2008) presented the Trophy (a special design with Cricketzone) to the Champions North Carolina State University as College and USA star Adrian Gordon looked on. American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah praised the Champions and the participating teams, saying,
“It’s great to have all the teams that participated as partners in the college cricket movement, bringing cricket-the original American and Canadian sport, back into the mainstream, together with our strategic partners, BIG League USA. Let’s keep it up – the innings has only just begun !
Purdue University won the E Gordon Gee Trophy at the Midwest Championship, Rutgers won the Northeast Championship now, congratulations to North Carolina State for winning the Mid Atlantic Championship!”
Adrian Gordon,Lloyd Jodah and Nino DiLoreto selected Ankit Mehta as the Finals MVP. Mehta took 3 wickets and top scored for the Champions.
Sheldon Ellis, President of the Washington Cricket League (one of the oldest and largest leagues in the USA) had heart surgery a couple of days before, but called America College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah to say “I wish I could have been there….what American College Cricket is doing is extremely important, its really great for USA cricket. On behalf of the WCL, keep up the great work.”
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