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By Peter Della Penna in Los Angeles (on Twitter)
Muhammad Asad Khan’s solid all-round performance in the semifinals and finals guided the Southern California Cricket Association to wins over Massachusetts State Cricket League by 89 runs in the morning followed by an eight wicket win over Cricket League of New Jersey in the afternoon as the SCCA won the inaugural American Cricket Federation Twenty20 National Tournament on Monday at Woodley Park in Los Angeles, California. Khan was named Tournament MVP for his performances in the event as SCCA knocked off the previously undefeated CLNJ in the final for the title.
SCCA began the day with an explosive batting display in their semifinal match against MSCL. After winning the toss and batting first, SCCA feasted on an MSCL bowling attack that struggled to find the right length. SCCA’s batsmen hit 21 fours and four sixes off their 20 overs, finishing on 198 for 6.
Rohit Yadav scored 22 of 24 runs in a first wicket partnership with Clayon Graham before being dismissed by Alexi Martin. Khan joined Graham at the wicket and the pair added 99 runs in 9.2 overs. Graham scored 55 off 34 balls and only had six dot balls in his innings when he was bowled by a Sharaz Baksh yorker. Khan finished with 70 off 43 balls before Baksh claimed him LBW with another yorker to make it 162 for 3 in the 16th over. Timil Patel and Amit Sood added 17 and 18 to boost SCCA to their eventual total, finishing just shy of 200.
Image (right) - Dr. Atul Rai presents Muhammad Asad Khan of the SCCA with the award for Tournament MVP. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
MSCL was 40 for 1 in 7 overs and managed to get to 53 four balls into the eighth over to stay within striking distance of the asking rate but Baksh was dismissed for 36 off 28 balls on the fifth ball of the over by Graham to put a serious dent in MSCL’s chances. When the big hitting Timmy Thomas was dismissed for a golden duck off the first ball of the ninth over by Patel, caught on the long off boundary, the dismissal all but sealed the match for SCCA. Patel finished with 2 for 18 and Shayan Abdulghani 3 for 19 as MSCL was bowled out on the last ball of the innings for 109.
In the other semifinal, CLNJ won the toss against Midwest Cricket Conference and despite the fact that CLNJ had won all three of their preliminary games batting first, elected to send MCC in to bat. MCC was restricted to 135 for 7 in 20 overs. CLNJ was 91 for 4 after 13 overs with the match evenly balanced, but thanks to 59 from Rohan Sheth, CLNJ managed to get across the line by four wickets with an over to spare.
In the final between SCCA and CLNJ, the east coast side won the toss and elected to bat first. CLNJ had several players get starts, but no one was able to carry on for a significant score. Sheth made 24 opening the innings and CLNJ captain Kunal Baride scored 25 at number four. Baride and Santosh Dani added 35 for the fifth wicket, but Baride fell with the score on 101 in the 16th, sparking a collapse that saw CLNJ lose three wickets in five balls for no runs to fall to 101 for 7. They were eventually bowled out for 118 in the last over. Left-arm spinner Abdulghani took 3 for 18 and finished with a tournament best 12 wickets.
Image (left) - Shayan Abdulghani receives an SG bat after being named Best Youth Player at the 2012 American Cricket Federation Twenty20. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
SCCA made light work of the chase, reaching the target in 13.4 overs. Yadav and Graham made 21 and 29 respectively before getting out as SCCA reached the 10-over mark at 81 for 2. Khan and Patel knocked off the rest of the runs with Khan finishing 37 not out in 25 balls and Patel 25 not out in 16 balls. Khan hit the winning runs with his eighth boundary.
At the post-tournament awards presentation, former USA U-19 player Abdulghani was presented with a bat from tournament sponsor SG after being chosen as the Best Youth Player on the weekend. CLNJ’s Jasdeep Singh was given the award for Best Bowler after finishing tied for first at the end of the group stage with six wickets including a hat-trick against Minnesota Cricket Association. Abishek Patel of the Southern Connecticut Cricket Association was named Best Batsman after being the top scorer in the group stage with 141 runs.