Watch the Replay of the American College Cricket Finals on HD (if you’re in college you can probably login through your school’s cable provider)
The American College Cricket National Championship Finals was shown live on ESPN 3 and TV Asia – the first non-international cricket game, and the first cricket in America, to be shown on the world’s # 1 sports channel, ESPN !
The importance of the event for world cricket cannot be overstated, and the effects on the development of the game in the USA is, and will be far reaching.The game was shown in High Definition, and featured exciting full on close ups of bowlers running in before cutting to the batsman. Presenting Sponsor was Coca Cola, with Supporting Sponsor Xfinity.
It was college football giant Auburn vs University of South Florida ! Auburn was rebuilding from losing top players like Naveen Thiagarajan, Rahul Potghan, and Faraz Ahmed. The AU Tigers were hardly expected to make it to the Playoffs, having missed even making the Semis of the 2013 South East Regionals. But Auburn defeated 2013 National Champion # 1 ranked UMBC, # 2 University of Pennsylvania, # 9 West Virginia, Home & Away Champion Harvard, & Boston U to get to the Finals….where they met the Buffalo Bills of College Cricket, USF !
USF had made 3 Finals before (and two final 4s) in the 5 previous American College Cricket National Championship but the title had eluded them. With Sai Ramesh in tremendous form, striking a century, and 87 run out. The 87 was smashed in a run chase vs Ryerson, who made 207, a total that USF chased down in a Quarter Final game in which 417 runs were scored !
As one of the pioneering 5 colleges, with Boston University, Montgomery College, Carnegie Mellon and University of Miami, who blazed a trail at the first American College Cricket Championship in March 2009, USF had additional motivation to stamp its name on the Chanderpaul Trophy.
The Finals began with Auburn Tigers Captain Abhishek Kulkarni winning the toss and electing to bat – citing factors like possible later dew in the night air. USF Captain Sai Ramesh, a previous Championship MVP and multiple All American, was pleased to bat second, being confident his batsmen could chase any total, as they proved vs Ryerson. 2011 MVP Adrian Gordon spun the coin, and Lloyd Jodah reported for ESPN & TV Asia, with ECB Umpire Billy Taylor and Sylvan Taylor officiating.
From the start USF Bulls’s bowlers were focused and Auburn’s new batting sensation 6’2 Sam Selvaraj swung outside one and was bowled in Abdullah Sheik’s first over. New Bulls bowler Karthik Shekar then devastated the Tigers top order by getting the next 3 wickets, and Auburn was 19 for 4 ! The delightful stroke player Prasana Venkatesh, who had made so many runs for Auburn in the past, was gone for 9 !
It was clear the enormity of the occasion was taking its toll on the nerves of the Auburn players : their first National Championship Finals, their first TV game & most of all, the first non-international cricket game, and the first cricket game in America to be broadcast on ESPN ! It must have felt like playing in a World Cup Final !
The big veteran Vibodh Misra struck 5 lovely fours in his 26 whilst a dogged 10 in 31 balls by Aditya Agarwal were Auburn’s only scores in double figures as Nagesh Nayak and Shaaz Shajani wrapped up the tail, Auburn being all out for 67 in 18 overs. Great bowling and fielding by USF and the tremendous pressure of the situation had gotten to the Tigers batsmen.
There was no doubt that USF would make the runs easily, and the in-form Sai Ramesh struck 4 fours in his 26, leaving the 6’2 Krunal Bhange to delight viewers with his stroke play for a bit, making 22* with 4 fours and USF won easily.
American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah presented the Chanderpaul trophy on ESPN to the new National Champions ! Championship MVP and Best Batsman was Sai Ramesh whilst the Finals MVP was Kathik Shekar for his devastating opening bowling spell of 3 for 16.
Once again American College Cricket had taken the game higher, benefiting every cricketer, every fan in the USA and Canada. “ESPN had been interested in broadcasting American College Cricket from since the first year, whilst TV Asia stepped forward in 2011 and began televising American College Cricket from Oct 2011. We felt the time was right this year, to do both and I can not praise enough TV Asia’s investment in, and commitment to American College Cricket” said Jodah.
Commentators were Lloyd Jodah, Jamie Lloyd, Josh McLean, Tim Shirriffs , Adrian Gordon (2011 American College Cricket MVP) and Vivek Jayaram (Harvard current player). Championship Crichq scorecards : http://americancollegecricket.com/national-championship-score/