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USA Cricket: USACA National T20 Championship is a damp squib

2014 Aug 18 by DreamCricket USA

In the first two days of rain-affected play on Thursday and Friday, the USACA National T20 Championship quickly went from "a chance to shine" to "let's get at least one day of sunshine." After only three games were completed by Friday, a decision was made to move six games to Saturday and reduce the overs to 10-overs per side.

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After the first two days of rain-affected play on Thursday and Friday, the USACA National T20 Championship quickly went from "a chance to shine" to "let's get at least one day of sunshine."   After only three games were completed by Friday, a decision was made to move six games to Saturday and reduce the overs to 10-overs per side.  

Picture (right): Normal Monthly Rainfall in Broward County

Six 10-over games were held on the morning of Saturday.  Matches that were scheduled to determine third through sixth place were boycotted by the players after they were told that there would be no semis. 

In any event, two group winners after the group stage, South East and New York moved to the finals which was stopped after only six overs were bowled.   In the end, the two teams were declared co-winners making the entire tournament quite literally a damp squib. 

May through October are wet months in Broward, as even a simple Google search will reveal, and there is a significant weather risk when scheduling tournaments during that time. USACA took a chance with its scheduling but that appears to have backfired or, more appropriately, too damp to fire.  Owen Grey, USACA Board Member, told ESPNCricinfo that it was a learning experience.

The tournament, which was touted as a game-changer at the start of the year, as USACA announced a live broadcast deal with ESPN3 and signed a three year host-city arrangement with Indianapolis, ended as the most forgettable tournament in recent times.  It is now a complete mystery how USACA will select a team to represent the country in Uganda.

Group Stage - Day 1

All three games on Day 1 ended without a result as rain interrupted play.  North East Region scored 106 for 2 in 11.2 overs before rain and lightning intervened. Akil Husbands tore New York apart scoring 54 from 29 balls that included six sixes and a four. Husbands and Aditya Mishra, with 35 off 19 deliveries, featured in a 79 run opening stand which was all in vain as rain interrupted play.

In South West's game against Central West, SW openers Ritesh Kadu and Arjun Tyagarajan were dismissed for a duck. But Ravi Timbawala and Nisarg Patel put on a rescue with a 68-run stand. Nisarg made 54 off 29 deliveries mirroring Husbands' effort in runs, deliveries and sixes. Nisarg remained not out as rain came in the 10th over to stall proceedings.

In Central East's Group B game against South East, CE was saved by the rain after seeing themselves in a nightmarish 40 for 7. Camilus Alexander excelled with a 3 for 10 effort in 3 overs.

Group Stage - Day 2

Atlantic Region could not convert a 42 run opening stand by Raj Bhavsar (28 off 36 balls) and Francis Mendonca (20 from 24 balls) into a meaningful total as the next six batsmen failed to get past the single digit.  AR eventually sputtered to 102 for 8.

North West had an easy time as Shiva Vashishat (47 off 55 balls including 3 sixes) and Saqib Saleem (33 from 23) ensured that target was overhauled without a hiccup.

Pic (right): Shiva Vashishat seen here in a file photo from 2010. His 47 off 55 stood out in NW's victory over Atlantic.

Also on Day 2, North East was stunned by South West's spin attack which claimed 7 wickets. Sahaj Patel took 3 for 12 from his 3 overs as North East collapsed for 62 in 18 overs. South West attained the target in just 9 overs as Ritesh Kadu came through with 44 n.o. from 32 balls.

In the game between Central West and New York, after a solid start, CW shot itself going from 45 for 0 to 55 for 5. A valiant 44 from the blade of the former TN Ranji cricketer Dhandapani Devarasan and 33 from Majid Rizvi saved the day as CW put on 155 for 9. Off spinner Karan Ganesh took 3 for 23 for New York.

In the chase, former USA skipper Steve Massiah (54 from 45 balls) and Javien Thomas (41 from 30 balls) put up a 71-run partnership that was followed by a blistering 43 run partnership by Barrington Bartley and Rashard Marshall giving NY a decisive victory.

All remaining games were pushed to Saturday.

Group Stage - Day 3

New York contained South West to 66 for 5 in the 10-over Group A game played on Saturday.  Nisarg Patel's 29 not out off 26 balls stood out in the SW inning.  In reply, New York benefited from a steady 20 off 14 balls from the blade of Steve Massiah.  Barrington Bartley scored 19 off 17 balls to bring the match home for NY.

In the match between North East and Central West, Sharaz Baksh and Aditya Mishra featured in a 37 run partnership to see their side post a healthy 85 off the allotted 10 overs.  Jaideep Reddy rattled the Central West taking 4 wickets for 9 in his two overs.  CW finished 61 for 9 finishing last in their Group.

South East inflicted a defeat on North West in the Group B encounter as NW, batting first, put on 87 for 8 in their allotted 10 overs.  Nilesh Rane scored 24 for NW featuring two fours and a six.  Bowling for SE, Camelius Alexander too 3 wickets for 11 runs in his two overs.  In the chase, Steven Taylor went on a rampage scoring 54 from 29 balls (6 fours and 3 sixes) quashing NW's hopes as SE finished their chase in 9.1 overs. 

Atlantic Region prevailed over Central East as AR's Raj Bhavsar continued to impress with his bowling taking 4 wickets for 13 runs in his 2 overs.   And yet, CE did well to put on 95 runs on the board.  In the chase, Adil Bhatti put the match firmly in AR's pocket by getting to 50 not out from 18 balls (3 fours and 5 sixes) as Sean Stanislaus (18 not out) provided important support.

NW (81 for 4) defeated CE (77 for 4) in the other game.  Batting for NW, Nilesh Rane once again excelled scoring 37 not out from 23 balls with Srini Santhanam (27 from 20) giving support.

South East vanquished AR with a decisive victory.  Batting first, SE made 114 runs in 10 overs thanks mainly to Darpan Patel (33 from 11 balls) and Zainali Sayed (30 not out from 13 balls).  In reply, Atlantic Region finished on 87 for 5 after being unable to floor the gas pedal despite Adil Bhatti's valiant 36 from 30 balls.  That saw SE finish on top of the Group B leaderboard.  AR finished third and CE finished last in the group.