Now, you can get all the USA Cricket updates via Facebook. Also follow us on Twitter via @dreamcricket
By Peter Della Penna in Edison, New Jersey
Teams and administrators struggled to cope with ground conditions for
the second day in a row, but five matches were played with New York and
Atlantic coming away on top in the Eastern Conference bracket while
North West, South West and Central East all claimed victories in the
Western Conference on Saturday at the 2011 USACA Twenty20 Nationals in
Edison, New Jersey.
The matches were moved from Newark to the Edison area because the
grounds designated for play were waterlogged and and most other grounds
were unavailable as a result of local leagues having play scheduled for
Saturday. At the Woodbrook Elementary School in Edison, only two matches
were played on a field in which the grass was reportedly six to eight
inches high or more. Balls were allegedly lost in the grass inside the
field of play. Gowkaran Roopnarine turned in the top score of the day,
blasting 96 runs off 58 balls as Atlantic posted 163 for 4 in 20 overs
before defeating North East by 18 runs.
In the second match at the ground, New York throttled South East by
seven wickets. South East won the toss and batted first, but not for
long as they were bowled out for 77 in 16.3 overs. Adrian Gordon took 3
for 33 and leg-spinner Bryan Murphy 3 for 9. Only two players passed
double-digits for South East with Syed Hasan top scoring with 23. Akeem
Dodson had four dismissals behind the stumps. New York chased the runs
in 8.5 overs for the loss of three wickets. Dodson finished 24 not out
while Quasen Alfred also scored 24, including two sixes.
At Pine Grove Manor Elementary School in Somerset, the first match of
the day scheduled between South West and Central West was delayed for
more than two hours due to wretched ground conditions. The players
showed up at the ground to find the field littered with broken glass
bottles and drug paraphernalia.
Initially, it appeared that there might be no play at the ground as
the captains and management of each teams were uneasy about playing on
the field due to serious safety concerns. Ultimately, the players of all
four Western Conference teams spent about 20 minutes collecting shards
of glass by picking them up and putting them into plastic bags until the
ground was deemed reasonable enough to begin play.
The first match was reduced to 15 overs, which South West won by 10
runs. SWR won the toss, batting first and posted 109 all out in 15
overs. Central West fast bowler Usman Shuja set the tone early on,
taking 3 for 1 in three overs. Off-spinner Shail Bhatt then cleaned up
the lower order, taking 6 for 24 in his three over spell.
Central West’s task of chasing the runs appeared to be
straightforward at the innings break before they were informed that they
had taken too long to bowl their overs and received a two over penalty,
creating a target of 110 in 13 overs.
Elmore Hutchinson claimed the big scalp of Sushil Nadkarni, top
edging a hook that sailed straight to fine leg. Hammad Shahid then
accounted for Ryan Corns and Amir Nanji with a pair of short balls and
Central West struggled to rebuild from 22 for 3. Kashyap Desai played a
valiant knock down the order with 34 in 16 balls but it was not enough
as Central West finished 99 for 9 in 13.
Central East won the second 15-over contest of the day, beating North
West by 28 runs. CER won the toss and batted first as the opening pair
of Darshan Patel and Saminda Siriwardena put on 52 runs for the first
wicket. Siriwardena in particular looked majestic as he top scored with
42 off 29 balls including seven fours, every one of them flayed through
the off side. Central East finished at 139 for 7 in their 15 with Sunny
Singh taking 3 for 11 in two overs for North West.
Singh and Srikanth Sundaragopalan then one-upped CER by putting on 66
runs for the first wicket in reply for North West. Singh finished with
40 and Sundaragopalan with 25, but when the pair got out the North West
innings ran out of steam and they finished on 111 for 6.
The final match of the day was a 12-over game between North West and
South West, with NWR coming out on top by six runs. North West won the
toss and batted first, notching 128 for 5 in their 12. North West was 63
for 3 in eight overs, but more than doubled their score in the last 24
balls. Syed Fareed Ahmad led the charge at number five, scoring 40 not
out off 20 balls including four sixes while Ashok Singh blasted 26 in 8
balls, with five fours and a six.
South West kept the run rate in check during the early part of their
chase as Ricky Singh and Peshaan Wedanarachchi had a brisk 59-run
opening stand. South West then lost three wickets in three balls as
Singh left for 35 at the end of the fifth and Wedanarachchi for 19 at
the start of the sixth over. Amit Sood was then out first ball on the
second delivery of the sixth over by Ahmad to make it 59 for 3.
South West still looked a good chance to win until Marcus Stewart
fell for 26 off 12 on the fourth ball of the 10th over to make it 102
for 5 and Hutchinson fell on the next ball, both men claimed by left arm
spinner Samarth Shah.
South West needed 13 to win off the last over, but couldn’t pull it
off, finishing 122 for 8 in 12. Crucially, the umpires called two
five-ball overs in a row, the seventh and eighth overs. Had South West
been able to use those two extra deliveries to score, the match may have
turned out different. Shah finished a superb spell with 4 for 20 in
three, including a tremendous final over under pressure.
Sunday will have three 15-over games played at Weequahic Park in
Newark. The first fixture is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. between South
East and North East. Central West vs. Central East and New York vs.
Atlantic are the other two matches on tap.