By Peter Della Penna
Twin Man of the Match performances by Andrew Gonsalves propelled the Bedessee New York Destroyers into the semifinals of the Radiant Info Twenty20 USA 2010. Gonsalves scored 46 twice in two games in victories over the Atlantic All-Stars and the Washington Senators on Saturday afternoon at Watsessing Park in Bloomfield, N.J.
In the Destroyers first match of the day, they fought off a challenge from the Atlantic All-Stars to win by six wickets. Atlantic won the toss and elected to bat first but were under pressure immediately. Priyesh Shah and captain Nanda Sandilya both fell without scoring as the All-Stars were reduced to 2 for 1.
Atlantic’s innings was then spearheaded by 16-year-old opening batsman Cameron Mirza, who scored 38 in 35 balls. He added 52 for the third wicket with Regis Burton before Burton was bowled for 22 by Dennis Evans to make it 53 for 3. Atlantic then collapsed to be all out for 97 with no one else crossing double figures. Their running between the wickets was nervy throughout the innings and three players were run out, including Mirza.
Image - Cameron Mirza goes to drive on his way to 38 for the Atlantic All-Stars. [Copyright: DreamCricket.com]
Burton and Rushi Amin took two wickets apiece for All-Stars in the field, but the result was never in doubt once Gonsalves got going. He combined with Evans to add 51 for the first wicket as the Destroyers passed the target with 21 balls to spare.
The Destroyers then took care of business against the Washington Senators later in the day, winning by eight wickets. The Senators were bolstered by 49 not out from Sunil Pathak as they finished 110 for 5 in their 20 overs. Pathak added 59 runs for the fifth wicket with Charan Singh before Singh was bowled for 26 by Twain Walters.
Once again though, the Destroyers were just too good. The second 46 on the day by Gonsalves was an unbeaten knock as his team chased down the target in 16.1 overs. Gonsalves has a knee complaint though and is unsure if he’ll be able to play in the semifinal where New York will take on either the New England Pioneers or the Global New Jersey Daredevils, who each recorded victories on Saturday.
Image - Andrew Gonsalves frees his arms for another big hit. [Copyright: DreamCricket.com]
“I’m gonna go to a physio and check it up in the morning and hopefully everything’s okay for the semifinal in the afternoon,” said Gonsalves.
Global New Jersey Daredevils dealt the first of two defeats to Gentlemen of Philadelphia on the day, winning by 73 runs. Keith Hibbert was named Man of the Match for his 63, the highest individual player score of the day. Hibbert struck five boundaries in his knock which came off 48 balls.
“It went in our favor today because our captain won the toss so I just went out there and batted,” said Hibbert. “I put on a bit of score with Glenmore Hall, got a big partnership, 83, and that set the platform for the rest of the team.” Hall chipped in with 34 runs before he and Hibbert both fell to Jamal Mohammed, who took 2 for 17 in four overs for GOP.
Image - Keith Hibbert (left) accepts a Man of the Match Award from former Indian Test player Debasis Mohanty (center) and journalist Peter Della Penna (right). [Copyright: DreamCricket.com]
GOP’s innings never got going as Deryck McDonald wrecked the top order with three wickets before Aditya Mishra put his stamp on the match by taking 4 for 5 in a tight display of leg-spin and also contributed a runout in the field as GOP was bowled out for 86.
GOP needed to win their second match against the New England Pioneers to avoid bowing out before the semi-finals, but a spirited effort in the field by New England denied GOP that opportunity as the Pioneers won by 22 runs in the most exciting match of the day.
Radiant Info T20 USA Post Match Interview with Keith Hibbert from Peter Della Penna on Vimeo.
GOP won the toss against the Pioneers, electing to field, and displayed a tenacious attitude which was evident in a stunning, one-handed catch by Kevin Wynter off the bowling of Kirk Waysome that sent back opener Sharaz Baksh for 5. Skipper Fazal Alam fell cheaply a short time later, skying a mistimed cover drive to go for 3.
Alam’s wicket brought former India international Debasis Mohanty to the crease, a surprise given Mohanty’s reputation as a renowned swing bowler. As wickets continued to tumble at the other end, Mohanty calmly played a stabilizing role, eschewing the big shots and rotating the strike with well-placed ones and twos. When he finally fell to David Walton for a well-made 18, the Pioneers had ambled their way to 101. Walton was the pick of the bowlers for GOP, finishing with 3 for 19 in four overs.
A score of 101 is not the most daunting challenge in the T20 format and when GOP reached 40 for no loss in five overs, the odds of a win for New England seemed miles away. New England’s hopes of securing a win lay in their bowling attack led by Mohanty. While Mohanty opened the bowling with an economical first few overs, runs were leaking from the other end.
Image - Former India Test player Debasis Mohanty opened the bowling for New England Pioneers bowling a tidy three-over spell to concede only eight runs as he helped his team defend a first innings total of 101 to win by 22 runs and reach the semi-finals of the Radiant Info Twenty20 USA 2010. [Copyright: DreamCricket.com]
Seeking to stem the tide, Alam introduced spin into attack with Sheldon Smith, who justified his captain’s decision by sparking a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of the Pioneers. An inexplicable batting collapse by GOP was characterized by poor shot selection and batsmen trying to hit their way out of trouble. Mohammed bashed three fours and two sixes on his way to 33, but when he perished going for another smash off Smith, the innings spiraled out of control.
“We knew we had to bowl the guys out,” said Smith. “It’s hard to restrict a team for under 100 bowling 20 overs. So in order to win you had to bowl them out and that was the game plan."
Radiant Info T20 USA Post Match Interview with Sheldon Smith from Peter Della Penna on Vimeo.
The Pioneers produced an airtight fielding performance to keep the pressure on. Glenroy Franklin played the lone stable hand as the other Philadelphia batsmen completely self-destructed. Franklin was the only player besides the opening combination of Walton and Mohammed to reach double figures, but when he fell for 10 late in the innings, GOP needed a miracle to stay alive in the tournament. There was no such luck and the Philly innings came to an ignominious end, going from 46 for 0 to 79 all out in 16.3 overs. Smith was named Man of the Match after claiming 4 for 15.
While the Gentlemen of Philadelphia exit the Radiant Info Twenty20 USA before the semi-finals for the second straight year, the Pioneers will look to improve their batting performance against the Global NJ Daredevils on Sunday’s final preliminary game in Group A.
Image - Raj Amin is clean bowled by Ileo Freeman of Global NJ Daredevils to wrap Gentlemen of Philadelphia's first of two defeats on the day. [Copyright: DreamCricket.com]
The loser of that match will go up against the Bedessee NY Destroyers in one semi-final. The other team will then face off against the winner of the final Group B clash between the Washington Senators and Atlantic All-Stars.