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Aby Joseph's 77 in vain as Challengers overcome the Hurricanes in a tight finish 
Oct 08, 2008

Global Challengers Vs Holmdel Hurricanes - Oct 5, 2008 - 3 pm

Challengers vs Hurricanes
The Global Challengers and Holmdel Hurricanes with losses in the morning games had a lot to prove in the second game of the day. The Hurricanes has lost their morning game to the Daredevils and the Challengers were smarting under a defeat against the New York Knights.

Hurricanes won the toss and elected to bat - hoping to put up a big total and forcing the Challengers to chase in fast fading light. The Hurricanes retained the team from the morning match and the Challengers made one change - bringing in Cameron Mirza for Salman Sheikh.

Asif Cheema & Madhu Kondapi opened the batting for the Hurricanes and they began cautiously against Deryck McDonald and Rudy Naraine. After beginning cautiously, Madhu fell caught and bowled to McDonald for 1. The loss brought Aby Joseph, the former Tamil Nadu Ranji cricketer. And Aby immediately announced his intentions by hoicking a six of Rudy Naraine.

This was a sign of things to come as Aby continued the carnage hitting 4s and 6s at will. Asif on the other end provided an effective foil for a good amount of time - grafting and ensuring that Aby had the strike. Asif was gone after scoring 10 runs - caught off McDonald.

Aby Joseph, who by now was tired from all the running between wickets, decided that the better way was to score runs in boundaries and not bother running.

The Challengers did not make it any easy on themselves with some slopping fielding and two dropped catches. Aby made them pay for these lapses as no Challengers bowler, including Neil McGarell - the former West Indies test cricketer, was spared by his assault. The mayhem finally ended in the last over when McGarell bowled Aby after he had carted him for 22 runs. Aby ended with the top score of 77 inclusive of 5 fours and 6 sixes. Rudy Naraine was the most successful bowler for the Challengers with 2 wickets for 18 runs off the allocated 4 overs.

The Challengers opened their batting with Rudy Naraine & Jamal Khan. Jamal was bowled by Aditya Mazumdar off the second over and that brought the young U-15 player, Cameron Mirza to the crease.

Challengers chasing against the Hurricanes
To his credit, the youngster showed no signs of nerves and he launched an on-drive off the very first ball that he faced. He continued to play classic cricket strokes off every opportunity while Rudy was attacking on the other end using strokes befitting the 20-20 style. The pair continued to keep pace with the asking rate with their contrasting styles putting on 45 runs.

The American born youngster was especially comfortable playing his shots - the favorite being a pull to deep midwicket off the back foot - signs that he has truly come of age. Rudy was the first to depart bowled by Zakir Hussain on 19.

Hurricanes captain Kunal introduced Sashi Suvarna at this stage and he immediately repaid his captain's faith by scalping Sean Stanislaus and Cameron Mirza (29). Melroy Kingston the next batsmen in could have finished the game soon if he got going - but the Hurricanes fielding ensured that he got no such chance when they ran out Kingston for duck. The match at this stage was interestingly poised because the Challengers still needed 60 odd runs from 10 overs.

Deryk McDonald and Neil McGarell worked together to keep the scoreboard ticking - with Neil playing the attacking role and Deryk rotating the strike. Just as this partnership was gaining strength, Neil was run out on 12 - with the Challengers needing 33 runs off 4 overs. The equation changed to 27 of 3 with the Challengers loosing another wicket - David Forbes. Santhosh Dani - the next batsman in immediately hit the ground running scoring ones and twos at will. At the end of the 18th over, the Challengers still needed 18 runs.

At this stage, Kunal brought back Zakir and he had Santhosh bowled for 13 runs off 7 balls. Derrick Kallicharan walked into this pressure-filled situation with fading light as the Sun was now behind the treeline. However, Derrick, brother of the legendary Alvin Kallicharan, showed no signs of the pressure as he coolly guided a long hop offering from Zakir to the square leg boundary. And to add insult to injury, he lofted the next ball to the long off boundary far beyond the boundary line and all that was needed was 2 runs from the last over.

The Challengers achieved the target with 4 balls to spare and 2 wickets in hand.

After much deliberation, it was decided that the Man of the Match award truly belonged to Aby Joseph even though his effort went in vain.

The match showed the pedigree that was on tap in the Challengers side, but they still need to win their remaining two games against the Argonauts and the Royals to assure themselves of a spot in the semis.