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University of South Florida defeated Auburn in the American College Cricket National Championship Final held in Florida on March 16, 2014. The match was shown live on both ESPN 3 and TV Asia - the first cricket in America to be shown on ESPN3.
Auburn Tigers, a team that was rebuilding following the departure of Naveen Thiagarajan, Rahul Potghan and Faraz Ahmed, surprised everyone by defeating the defending champions UMBC, #2 ranked University of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Harvard and Boston University on the way to the finals.
For USF, a team that had made 3 finals, their fourth final offered a chance to take home the Chanderpaul Trophy that had eluded them. With skipper Sai Ramesh in tremendous form, striking a century and 87 coming into the finals, the goal was certainly within reach. The 87 came against Ryerson, chasing 207, in a match that saw 417 runs scored.
The championship match began with Auburn Tigers Captain Abhishek Kulkarni winning the toss and electing to bat – citing factors like possible later dew in the night air. USF Captain Sai Ramesh, a previous Championship MVP and multiple All American, was pleased to bat second, confident in his team's ability to chase any total.
Auburn lost star batsman Sam Selvaraj in Abdullah Sheik’s first over and Bulls bowler Karthik Shekar proceeded to devastate the top order by getting the next 3 wickets. At 19 for 4 the Tigers were wounded. Vibodh Misra's 26 featuring five 4s and a dogged 10 in 31 balls by Aditya Agarwal were the only double-digit scores as the Tigers folded for 67 in 18 overs.
For USF, it was a matter of how soon. That question was answered as the in-form Sai Ramesh struck 4 fours in his 26 and Krunal Bhange clipped to 22* with 4 fours.
American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah presented the Chanderpaul Trophy to the new national college cricket champions. Sai Ramesh was awarded the Championship MVP and Best Batsman and Karthik Shekar was named the Finals MVP for his opening spell of 3 for 16.
“ESPN had been interested in broadcasting American College Cricket from since the first year, whilst TV Asia stepped forward in 2011 and began televising American College Cricket from Oct 2011. We felt the time was right this year, to do both and I can not praise enough TV Asia’s investment in, and commitment to American College Cricket” said Jodah.
Championship scorecards can be accessed here.
Source: American College Cricket. Picture Credit: American College Cricket.