THE AMERICAN COLLEGE CRICKET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP presented by SLING
Six years after joining American College Cricket Ryerson University was in the National Championship final ! Everest University on the other hand was less than 2 years old, and had just lost 2 matches in the American College Cricket Home & Away League. However both teams’ batting were firing on all cylinders, and had scored over 200 when batting first in the Group stages. The SONY cameras were ready to film the game, as they had the Semis, with SLING as the Presenting Sponsor, and LEDKING & House of Spices as Associate sponsors.
Ryerson’s Captain Hassan Mirza, who brought Ryerson into American College Cricket when he was a student (2 alumni are allowed on a team) won the toss, and chose to bat. Mirza had said last year that he was ‘retiring’ from college cricket but decided to give it one more year before devoting his attention to managing Canadian College Cricket.
The pitch in the Semi Finals had given the bowlers a lot of help, sometimes kept low and the highest team score was 106. So batting first and setting a target seemed like a wise decision. Shahroze Shah & former Canada Under 19 player Yug Rao opened, and Rao was lbw to Suresh Srigdharan at 23 for 1 after 4.3 overs. When Saad Bin Zafar, who play for Canada, was out it was 40 for 3 after 7.1. In walked the injured Hassan Mirza and together with Shah they put on 58 before Mirza went for 27 after 15.3. On this wicket this was a very good position to be in. Shah was keeping the score going and by the time he was out for 63 (7 fours & 1 six) Ryerson was on 114 with 7 balls to go. To Everest’s dismay, 14 runs came off the last over so Ryerson ended with 129 for 7. A tough total for Everest. Shary Singh with 2 for 10 in 4 overs was the top bowler for Everest.
Everest’s response never got off the ground, as their batsmen struggled. We had seen this happen before in 2014 when Auburn, in a magnificent run reached the Final, only to be overcome possibly by the pressure, and be dominated by USF. Two batsmen reached double figures and Samih Sadiq with 14 was the top scorer. Yug Rao took 2 important wickets of Sadiq and Wadhavania, and Pasha went through the lower order ending with astonishing figures of 5 for 11 as Ryerson won! Shahroze Shah’s innings of 63 runs made him the Bazooka Cricket MVP !
Ryerson’s victory came after 6 years of trying. Always a strong team, they won the North East Championship 4 times, and always looked like a contender in the National Championship, always having great games vs U of South Florida ! In one of the many memorable instances Ryerson made over 200 runs, and USF chased it ! In the 2015 Semis Ryeron lost to UT Dallas on the penultimate ball, and UTD went on to win the Championship !
Like York University before them, a number of their players went on tho play for Canada, Saad Bin Zafar from the current team, & Yug Rao played U 19 for Canada. Nikhil Dutta played for Canada and has played in the CPL & BPL. Key to Ryerson’s success has been the leadership of Hassan Mirza, and then Obaid Ullah. Mirza & Obaid learned the tools of building the organisation of the Ryerson club, as part of American College Cricket, and have been able to lead the way for Canadian universities successfully. It’s no accident that Mirza went on to found Canadian College Cricket with the support of Lloyd Jodah, and American College Cricket.
Winning the Championship is enormous for the team, and a payoff for their work OFF the field in moving the game forward in Canada. Young players have hope, and Ryerson’s consistent performance in American College Cricket have given young players in Canada hope in a tangible way. You can see your success celebrated in Action photos, on web stream & on TV, SONY TV, not just the illusive dream of playing for your country.
To cap a magnificent Championship where the weather was amazing, the All Time Great Shiv Chanderpaul attended the Final day to present the Chanderpaul Trophy to Hassan Mirza, as well as MVP Awards to the MVPs for all 49 matches ! The humbliest Superstar, Shiv took pictures with countless players and chatted with them. During the SONY TV broadcast he had provided invaluable insights doing color commentary, which he enjoyed.
PHOTOS : Presentation with Shiv Chanderpaul:
ACTION PHOTOS : More being added