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Last Saturday's Millennium Cricket League final saw a faceoff between traditional rivals - Global Challengers CC and South Gujarat CC. On a spectacular cricketing day and on a fantastic Weston Road pitch, Global Challengers won the toss and elected to bat.
In the second ball of the innings, even as spectators were pitching their tents and settling into their seats, Ahson Bukhari of Global called for a second run off a mishit that went past the keeper, Oneil Powell responded with a no but Ahson kept running and was run out for 1. Former USA and Guyana batsman, Sudesh Dhaniram (pictured right - File Photo) joined Powell.
In the third over, Powell was caught in the slips by Uday Patel off a leg cutter and Global Challengers were now reduced to 3 for 2.
Dhaniram, who had been in many pressure situations, proceeded to steady the ship with support from Sean Stanislaus Herbert. By the time Dhaniram was out on 72 (7 fours and 3 sixes), Global was on firmer ground thanks to the 132 run partnership between the two.
Sean continued for a while with Damaine Sangster before being given out LBW to Karan Patel for 56. With the score reading 150 for 4 in the 28th over, Global batsmen Sangster and Damien Reed decided to accelerate. Global raced to 207 when Reed was bowled by Karan Patel in the first over of power play. In due course, Sangster got his 50 before he too was bowled by Karan Patel, the fourth wicket for the young U19 bowler. Global ended their innings with a massive 264 for the loss of 6 wickets in the alloted 40 overs.
If you play cricket in New Jersey, you know not to be dismisive of SGCC. Priyesh Shah and Uday Patel started the proceedings cautiously. However, Kevin Darlington and Damien Reed bowled a good line - an unforced error was all they needed. Priyesh Shah was runout for 6 in the 5th over almost in an identical way as Ahson Bukhari was dismissed earlier in the day. Uday was out on the very next ball caught by Dhaniram off Darlington.
Thanks to the efforts of Karan Patel and Rushi Patel, SGCC appeared to find its rhythm again but the promising Karan fell to Colin Duke for 23 and Rushi Patel followed with 22. SGCC's remaining batsmen buckled under pressure as wickets fell at regular intervals thereafter. SGCC were bowled out for 121, uncharacteristically low for the team. Rushi Amin was the pick of the bowlers for Global Challengers with 3/36.
Global won by 142 runs. Sudesh Dhaniram was named Man of the Match for his blazing 72 runs and a bowling effort that yielded 2 wickets.