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In Cricket League of New Jersey's Division 1 Final on Sunday, September 15th, South Gujarat CC won the toss and asked Gymkhana to bat on a sunny 73 degree day at Franklin Township's Weston Road Pitch 2. The pitch was flat and the outfield was whipped into shape - this ground hosted the Millennium Cricket League final the previous day.
Going into the final, SGCC and Gymkhana were neck to neck in the points table each team having won 11 of the 15 matches played during the league season. However, SGCC had maintained a slight edge. Both teams were keen to retake the championship from Newark. SGCC were the 2010 champions and Gymkhana took the crown in 2011.
Gymkhana encountered some heavy headwind at the start of the match. Avinash Ganti was dismissed for 4 and Sean Stanislaus Herbert was given LBW on 2. Hiten Patel then sent Navdeep Gadhoke home for a duck. Reduced to 22 for 3, Gymkhana desperately needed some stability. That they got in the form of a 40 run partnership between Ahsan Siddiqui (39) and Dharmesh Tyagi (30).
After Ahsan fell to Harshit Patel, Asghar Kazim (29) stuck around with Dharmesh to add 43 runs. Once this partnership was broken, Gymkhana once again lost the plot and imploded to 140 for 9. To SGCC's utter dismay, Gymkhana's tail wagged spectacularly as Nabeel Adeel and Muhammad Tayyab added 43 runs in the last 4 overs. Nabeel's 29 not out included two sixes and Tayyab, not to be left behind, hit one over the fence in the same over - the 22 run tally from that over helped Gymkhana put up a respectable total of 183 for 9.
Of course, 183 was still a below par score on this ground, especially for the formidable SGCC. Naturally, SGCC appeared confident at the start of their chase even though they lost Priyesh Shah early to Dharmesh Tyagi. A solid partnership between Uday Patel and Rikish Patel took SGCC to 64 for 2 at a healthy 5 run per over clip. After Uday's and Hiten Patel's departure, it was the turn of Karan Patel and Kapil Khanna and the two experienced batsmen pursued the 64 runs that were needed from 66 balls with six wickets in hand. Kapil was unlucky to be runout on 47 but success was still within reach.
At the start of the last over SGCC needed 8 runs to win with 2 wickets in hand. The two teams were in a place they had been before. Gymkhana had won the last game of the regular league against SGCC by 2 runs and had lost to SGCC by one wicket in the 2010 semifinal.
Mohammad Nisar Ahmed was asked to bowl the final over, and with good reason. In the semi-final, when Stars needed 9 runs of the last over with 2 wickets in hand, the same bowler had picked up both wickets conceding 1 run. In the final, he showed even more grit.
After a first ball single, SGCC needed just 7 from 5 balls. Jaymin Goswami slogged the second ball to long on where Ahsan Siddiqui took a brilliant catch. For the third, Nisar delivered a dot ball, and nails were quickly disappearing in the dugout. SGCC badly needed a boundary and Vimal Lad was determined to find one. However, a diving catch by wicket keeper Ahmer Iqbal in the fourth ball dashed his and SGCC's hopes and gave Gymkhana their second championship in three years.