What a night ! What a game ! The exciting roller coaster you wish for in a Finals, under the lights at the CBRP Cricket Stadium was magnificently captured in the television cameras of TV Asia ! Just watching the replays on the run outs and stumpings was thrilling !
It was like the most exciting BCS Championship game imaginable, or Kentucky vs Kansas to end March Madness 2012 !
Two evenly matched teams put it all on the immaculate Stadium pitch and outfield as they jousted for the Chanderpaul Trophy, and the national title, in the American College Cricket Championship sponsored by Coca Cola !
University of South Florida had been propelled by the all round exploits of Sai Ramesh and Ashgar Sheikh, whilst Karan Ganesh and Akeem Dodson had piloted York College through tough teams like Texas A & M and York University.
York College won the toss, and captain Abbas Khizer chose to bat “with our batting and bowling strength I believe we can put USF under pressure by making them chase runs”.
At first it seemed Dodson and Bilal Shahid had gotten York off to a good start, but they got bogged down, and Shahid in trying to hit out was caught in the deep and at 4.6 overs York C was 28 for 1.
In walked one of New York’s best batsmen, Karan Ganesh, and his cuts and flicks got him 36 in 30 balls with 4 fours; putting on 66 with Dodson. Ganesh was caught off USF skipper Nirav Shah at 94 for 2 in 12.5 overs (run rate of 7.52 ).
Dodson continued his onslaught, coming down the wicket often to pull and drive over the top for 5 sixes and 4 fours in his 78 in 49 balls. Given a crucial life with York only on 27, Doson paid USF pay, and as Amir Sadiqqui said provided “March 18 fireworks” , confusing the spectators who thought it was July 4th ! Only the Dasani water breaks provided the USF bowlers respite.
Batting with a broken nose Hayat Sikander made 10 as York College got to 151 for 8 – a very good total.
Astonishingly, without hitting many boundaries USF’s openers got off to a flying start of over 9 runs per over. Ramesh got off the mark with an exquisite cover drive flat along the ground for 4. Then left arm spinner Mohammad “Lebron” Suleman (sporting his blue headband) came into the attack – and got the breakthrough ! In form Ashgar Sheikh was bowled for 15 (2 fours 1 six) and USF was 36 for 1 after 3.5 overs. Sheikh came into the match averaging 50.6 RPI.
Indawalla took his opportunity to compensate for his costly drop of Dodson by combining with Ramesh for a partnership of 72. Indawala’s fine on drives and cuts and master blaster Ramesh’s arrogant strokeplay put USF in a comfortable position until Suleman once again effected the breakthrough by getting Ramesh lbw ! Ramesh entered the Finals averaging 54.25 !
Nevertheless at 108 for 2 at a run rate of 7.71, with only 44 left to win 35 balls, and Indawalla batting well USF was in the driver’s seat.
However here’s where the importance of Ramesh was magnified, as USF crumbled from 108 for 1 to 129 all out as Yasin Khan bowling off a short runup and focusing on swing,line & lenght, Bilal Shahid and Karan Ganesh each took 2 wickets to rout the USF batting.
Lightening-like wicket keeping by Dodson led to 2 stumpings and a run out and many more anxious moments for the Bulls’ batsmen. The 3rd umpire camera replays were a delight to see, everytime there was a stumping or run out attempt, and the accurate decisions of the umpires were confirmed by these replays !
Shiv Chanderpaul had sent a record message of congratulations to all the teams, as York College collected the unique Chanderpaul Trophy, which they just missed winning in 2010, to take back to New York.
With remarkable leadership from Abbas Khizer (who got Powerade poured on his head), dogged determination by Hayat Sikander, great all round play by Karan Ganesh and Akeem Dodson, the York College cricket team exemplified the great talent in American College Cricket and finished the job started in 2010.
Fittingly the Finals MVP was Mohamed Suleman, who got the crucial wickets Ashgar Sheikh and Sai Ramesh to stall, then stop the USF potential victory march. It was Suleman who worked with American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah to start the York College Cricket club in 2010.
Penn State Cricket Coach David Chakravorty, York U’s Jaiveer Chauhan, University of Pennsylvania’s Gavish Sharma, Ryerson’s Hassan Mirza & Farhan Khan, and Amir Saddiqui provided knowledgeable and exciting commentary for another historic achievement in cricket in America.
Coca Cola and Dish Network’s participation as mainstream sponsors of domestic cricket, was unprecedented and of enormous significance for the game.
From being the first to webcast domestic cricket in March 2010 to being the first to televise last year, American College Cricket, with TV Asia, had now delivered a truly great national Championship, on TV !
Darren Stortz & Becca Levin handled the Stadium Jumbotron, whilst Satish Hanumanthu did the online scoring.
Watch for at least 18 more American College Cricket matches on TV in 2012 as TV Asia televises the regionals !