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By Thomas Franz
Galaxy defeated Novi by 8 wickets with 5.1 overs remaining.
Galaxy 157-2 Novi 156-9
After needing 20 overs to chase their opponents in two of their first three matches, Galaxy CC wasted no time in chasing Novi’s 156 runs to capture the Meijer State Games of Michigan T20 Tournament championship.
Thiyaga Singamuthu, a member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore of the Indian Premiere League, opened with 83 runs and helped achieve an eight-wicket victory for Galaxy with 5.1 overs remaining.
“Thiayaga is an amazing player. Right now he’s visiting us, he’s helping us with our cricketing skills, and he showed a little bit of it today,” Galaxy captain Phalgun Bala said. “This tournament has proven that when two professional people come in they can just turn the whole thing around.”
The turning point in the match came with the first ball of the 17th over when Novi’s Anoop Bhookare was caught to end his innings with 59 runs. Bhookare sparked a significant rally in the middle overs for Novi, but after his departure Galaxy took three more wickets in the last three overs while holding Novi to 16 runs in that time. The lack of a push in the late overs by Novi turned momentum to Galaxy as they began their chase, and it also quieted a boisterous Novi side.
“They’ve always been a very competitive side so we knew what we were getting into, and I really expected them to be even more aggressive on the field when Thiyaga got out,” Bala said. “We had almost won the match by then and when Thiyaga walked out, Satish walked in and that was it.”
Satish Rajagopal, another Galaxy player from the Indian Premiere League, clinched the victory with a single to cap off his 13 runs to seal the championship. Shiva Vashishat, one of several players from California for Galaxy, made three catches and added 17 runs.
“Satish and Thiyaga were finishing every single game so we really didn’t have much to chase, but on the field I think the boys did really well, and I think that was actually one of the reasons we won because our ground fielding was very good. We had a lot of young guys, and I think that definitely was the difference,” Vashishat said.
For Novi the loss put a sour end on an otherwise successful tournament. Despite losing their opening match to Midwest CC, they bounced back with a nine-wicket victory over the Michigan Mavericks to secure a spot in the semifinals, where they flipped the script on Midwest to earn a spot against Galaxy.
“We batted well in comparison to their bowling because their bowling was really strong. It was a one-man show on their team, and their IPL player took the game away,” Novi captain Arjun Ajbani said. “He batted really well. Some of his shots we even enjoyed being the opponents. Somewhere around 30-35 runs more and it might have been a different story, but it was a one-man show, tough luck, but they deserved to win.”
Novi CC defeated Midwest by 5 wickets with 5 balls remaining.
Novi 144-5 Midwest 140-10 in 20 overs
In the first semi-final of the Meijer State Games of Michigan T20 tournament, Novi’s opening batsman Rohan Kapkar scored 60 runs off 47 balls to lead Novi to a five-wicket victory against Midwest with five balls remaining.
Kapkar stayed in the contest until the last ball of the 18th over. Salil Kathuria provided the main run support for Novi in the late overs, contributing 37 runs and hitting the final boundary to chase Midwest’s 140 runs.
Kisham Patel and Anoop Bhookare each took two wickets to leav Novi’s bowling attack that limited five of Midwest’s batsmen to less than 10 runs.
In the second semi-final, Galaxy defeated GRCC with 5 overs remaining. Galaxy chased GRCC's 145-7 with 7 wickets to spare.
Galaxy defeated Midwest by 4 wickets with 0 balls remaining.
Galaxy 168-6 Midwest 167-4
Grand Rapids, Mich. - Down eight runs with two balls remaining, it appeared that Galaxy Cricket Club’s valiant chase of Midwest CC’s 167 would finish short.
Mahesh Surya had other plans.
The ninth batsman Friday evening, Surya entered the crease with four balls left. Two dot balls later, Surya hit an off drive to deep mid-off for two runs, and that set the stage for even greater theatrics.
Surya took the next ball and hit a no doubt straight drive past long on for six that sent the Galaxy bench into a frenzy.
“I was thinking that if it was in my arc, I knew the area where I was going to go for, and luckily the ball was in the arc so I went for it,” Surya said. “Especially because there was no need to leave anything behind with it being the last ball so I gave it my all.”
Galaxy’s comeback initially didn’t appear that it would mount to anything significant as Midwest’s Asad Majeed took two wickets in the third over, but Jodhbir Singh provided a stabilizing 53 runs while Satish Rajagopal and Saad Khan added 28 and 25 runs respectively.
Midwest’s inning began equally troubling as their top three batsmen combined for nine runs, but that gave way to a 120-run partnership between Mohammad Yusuf and Abhijit Joshi.
Yusuf finished with 71 runs before being bowled by Kuldeep Singh in the 18th over, and Joshi finished with 77 runs, not out.
Postgame interviews and footage of the last 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=x_5QgMRxiPg
Galaxy defeated Grand Rapids Tigers by 1 wicket with 3 balls remaining.
Galaxy 154-9 GRCC 153-5
Grand Rapids, Mich. – In their second thrilling game of the weekend, Galaxy CC took advantage of two drops by Grand Rapids fielders in the final over to cap off its chase of 153.
Ramandeep Singh would be credited with scoring the final 11 runs for Galaxy, but it took a bit of good fortune at the expense of the Grand Rapids’ fielders to pass 153. Singh hit two shots to long-on to begin the 20th over. The defender dropped the first ball, but in the process he tapped the ball over his head and across the boundary to count for six. The second ball hit by Singh was more of line drive that the defender had to run in to catch, but he dropped it for two runs and kept Galaxy alive.
Singh finished the rally with a three-run glance to fine leg, where no defender was present for about 25 yards.
“I’ve been through this situation quite a few times now so I tried to stay calm, and I was thinking that if it’s in my zone I’m going to hit it because I had to go for it. There was no other option,” Singh said.
Prior to Singh’s heroics in the 20th over, Thiyaga Singamuthu and Satish Rajagopal, two visiting players from the Indian Premiere League, paced Galaxy’s chase through the middle overs. Singamuthu led Galaxy with 60 runs off 34 balls while Rajagopal added 30 runs off 15 deliveries.
Grand Rapids’ Murtaza Majid, an all-rounder professional visiting from the Karachi Whites, kept his team in the contest the whole way. The fourth batsman for Grand Rapids on Saturday, Majid put together a 51-run performance off 38 balls. Majid also collected four wickets to slow down Galaxy’s chase.
“My captain gave me one goal, just to play a natural game,” Majid said. “I was just doing the basics by bowling good line and length and let them make a mistake. In the first game I scored about 70 runs then in this game I scored 50 and took four wickets, so I’m pretty happy with my performance but I know I have to score huge in the semi-finals and final.”
Midwest CC defeated Novi CC by 4 wickets, with 5 balls remaining.
Midwest 136-6 Novi 130 All Out
Postgame Interviews: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rNUB37UVmo0
In other games:
Grand Rapids Tigers defeated Michigan Mavericks by 98 runs.
GRCC 231-7 MPCC 133-9
Novi CC defeated Michigan Mavericks by 9 wickets with 10.3 overs remaining.
MPCC 109-9 Novi 110-1 in 9.3 overs