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Day 2 Match Report - Argonauts Vs Hurricanes 
Oct 05, 2008

Active match play at the Nuware NJT20 got off to a start on Oct 4th at the Warinanco Park in Roselle, NJ. The opening match of the tournament featured the star-packed Tri-state Argonauts and the fiesty Holmdel Hurricanes team. The conditions were damp and the heavy dew from the previous night resulted in a slow, wet outfield. Hurricanes won the toss and promptly inserted the Argonauts to bat, in an attempt to take advantage of the conditions and get a better assessment of the pitch.

With the temperature hovering in the low 60s, the Argonauts vice-captain Shantharam Serukur and Rajat Dhingra opened the batting while Nirav Patel and Yash Bhatia opened the bowling attack for the Hurricanes. The cold conditions and the tight bowling attack kept the Argonauts batsmen in check for the first 3 overs. The sun finally came out in the 4th over and almost on cue, Shantharam imperiously launched the second ball of the 4th over for 6 over the point region and the Argonauts bastmen finally opened up.

Just as the opening partnership was blossoming, Rajat Dhingra was run out for 12 and that brought Sharaz Baksh to the crease. Sharaz continued the attack along with Shantharam - who was fast approaching his fifty. The Hurricanes brought on Sashi Suvarna and he promptly got rid of Sharaz Baksh for 15. Sharaz's departure brought former India international Sadagoppan Ramesh to the crease. Ramesh, despite recovering from jet lag and the lack of acclimatization with the cold conditions, showed his class by immediately middling the ball with a couple of classic square drives. Just as Ramesh was getting a hang of the two-paced wicket and the conditions, he was involved in a close run-out. Shantharam soon followed, stumped while attempting to hoick Sashi, with a well-made 52 of just 38 balls, setting up the stage for the new batsmen - Timmy Thomas and Fazeeh Abbasi. The new batsmen ensured that there would be no dip in the run rate after the 2 quick wickets, by launching 4s and 6s. Timmy Thomas raced away to 23 off 10 balls before being bowled by Anand Chandraker. Fazal Alam and Tahir Patel provided good support to Fazeh Abbasi towards the end and the Argonauts finished with a healthy 161 for 7 in the allocated 20 overs. Anand Chandraker and Sashi Suvarna were the leading wicket-takers for the Hurricanes with 2 wickets each.

The Hurricanes hopes rested mainly on a counter-attack by their captain, Kunal Baride - but he was dismissed for 5 after edging Fazal Alam. Madhu Kondapi and Suresh Ramani put up a 20-run partnership before departing - trying to accelerate against a disciplined bowling attack by Fazal Alam & Fazeeh Abbasi. Madhu's loss brought Aby Joseph and the Hurricanes' chances largely rested on the hard-hitting Aby. Sensing the challenge, Argonauts captain Praveen Vijay brought himself onto bowl. Aby Joseph launched Praveen's first ball to the long on, right into the hands of Timmy Thomas - whom Praveen had specifically placed there for this purpose and the Hurricanes' chase was all but over. Sashi Suvarna and Anand Chandraker put up a spirited fight with 26 (of 25 balls) and 14 (of 21 balls) - but there was not much they could do against the restrictive spin attack of Sadagoppan Ramesh and Praveen Vijay, who tightened the noose on the Hurricanes' innings. They finally folded in 18.2 overs after having scored 109. Praveen Vijay led the bowling from the front with 3 wickets and Sadagoppan Ramesh was the most economical - allowing 15 runs in 4 overs with 1 wicket to boot.

Shantaram Serukur was awarded the Man of the Match for his batting heroics and the Argonauts need to keep up this momentum to advance to the next stage.