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USA Cricket: Toronto wins first North American Cricket Championship
by DreamCricket USA
Mar 11, 2014

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The North American Cricket Championship (NACC) was contested In Phoenix, Arizona, over the weekend between the Midwest Cricket Conference and the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.  Toronto swept the series despite a determined effort by MCC, who are the reigning ACF champions.  The tournament was hosted by Arizona Cricket Association, which is led by President Rod Gohil, and received praise from participants.

In the first 40-over match, Toronto won the toss and sent Midwest in to bat.  The track favored spin and, as expected, MCC was spun out for 110 in the 29th over. 

Toronto was wobbly in its chase as wickets fell in quick succession.   But from 47 for 5 in the 10th over, Toronto staged a recovery thanks to opener Ali Nabeel (46) and teammate Hassan Choghtai (18).    In the end, it was their unbeaten 64-run partnership, which assured their side a five-wicket victory.

Naeem Hasham and Ragunath Soogoor each took three wickets in the Canadian victory, while Raza Ur Rehman contributed two. For Midwest, N. Bakshi took three wickets.

On day two, the wicket had much more in it for the batsmen.  Midwest opted to bat first after winning the toss and lived up to the promise by making 259-9 in its 40 overs.   Abhijit Joshi top-scored with 66, including six boundaries, while Ashhar Mehdi chipped in with 37 and Mannan Patel added 29.

Toronto once again impressed, this time with a century opening wicket partnership between skipper Shaheed Keshvani (48) and Rustam Bhatti (80).   That was followed by a blistering 50-ball 73 by Raza Ur Rehman.  Arsalan Qadir nabbed two wickets in Toronto’s cup-clinching win, while Midwest’s Mannan Patel also had two scalps.

The Americans looked to avoid a whitewash in the third game while Canadians set out to prove their dominance.  Batting first, Toronto quickly found itself in trouble, being reduced to 61-5 in the 14th over, but they battled back largely on the shoulders of Ur Rehman, who finished on an unbeaten 116, the NACC’s only century.  Soogoor chipped in with a handy half-century himself, as Toronto built a splendid innings of 243-7, despite the solid performance of Donieke Perrin, who nabbed four Canadian wickets.

In their chase, Midwest batted determinedly, but found itself no match for the inspired Toronto bowling attack, finishing at 168 in the 36th over.

Afterwards, Toronto received its well-earned reward as captain Keshvani accepted the NACC Cup, and the squad erupted into a wild, champagne-soaked celebration. Ur Rehman was presented with a Hammer Cricket bat as the NACC’s top run scorer, and both captains were given autographed copies of the recently published ‘Flannels on the Sward,’ a history of cricket in the Americas penned by author Jayesh Patel.

“I would like to thank the American Cricket Federation and the Arizona Cricket Association, in particular Mike Thomas and Rod Gohil,” said Keshvani. “We played the tournament like gentlemen and would like to thank the Midwest team for doing the same. Cricket in America is extremely lucky to have the ACF, and we wish you all the success in the future.

Midwest’s former president Mohammed Iftikhar said, “On behalf of the Midwest Cricket Conference, I would like to thank entire ACF. It was an honor to play great talent at a top-notch facility, and the tournament was very well organized.”

ACF CEO Jamie Harrison said, “It was wonderful to see two such great squads be able to come out in this beautiful venue and play great cricket. The matches were all well-contested, and the teams represented their countries admirably.

“I also want to take a moment to thank Rod Gohil and the Arizona Cricket Association, which conducted this event flawlessly, and saw to every need and eventuality. It was truly a pleasure to work with Rod and his team, and I can’t wait for next year.”

NACC Program brochure can be downloaded here.

Source: ACF Media Release; Pictures Courtesy: ACF

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