Global Challengers to meet New York Destroyers in Radiant Info USA Twenty20 Final
The Radiant Info USA Twenty20 Tournament will culminate in the grand finale tomorrow - featuring a rematch of Group-A teams - NY Destroyers and the Global Challengers. The final will be played at the scenic Watsessing Park 1 in Bloomfield, New Jersey where the festivities will begin at 1PM. Honorable Upendra Chivukula, Deputy speaker of New Jersey Assembly will be the Guest of Honor along with Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Indian cricketing legend who was part of the 1983 World Cup Squad.
The Challengers led by the inimitable Neil McGarrell are clearly the favorites heading into the final and youthful NY Destroyers will need to come up with a different strategy if they harbor any hopes of winning the title.
After a spate of one-sided games on the first day, the Radiant Info USA Twenty20 sprung alive with a bunch of high-voltage games on the second day. The morning’s matches featured a bragging-rights match between the NY Destroyers & Global Challengers and another one in Group B featuring the NJ Daredevils and the New England Pioneers. At the beginning of the day, the result of the Daredevils - Pioneers was assumed to be a foregone conclusion - with the general consensus being that the Pioneers had no chance against the Daredevils’ run machine.
However, what ensued through the rest of the day was anything but predictable. The Destroyers and the Challengers engaged in a high-scoring run fest that could only be described as the “High Noon Shootout”.
The fans were the biggest benefactors from this parallel pyrotechnic show and wishing that split-screen match views were possible on the ground. Exclamations from one field were matched by thundering booms of the bat from the other field - all in all making for a wonderful cricketing Sunday feast for the fans.
Here’s how it all unfolded-
Morning Session - Preliminary Games
Pioneers upset Daredevils - Head into semi-finals
The NJ Daredevils versus New England Pioneers produced more than its share of surprises. With Guest of Honor Balwinder Singh Sandhu watching the performances, NJ Daredevils turned on the heat on New England and blasted them all over the park. Most of the attack came from the willow of Kiran Patel who got 78 from just 42 balls before he was unfortunately run out. Chris Vassel got 28 and Nasir Islam got 21 in support roles to Kiran’s main act as they helped put up 158 for 7. Chasing 159 and with a team which had seen some key players becoming unavailable, New England Pioneers were written off , not only by the spectators who started paying attention to the events of the adjoining ground, but by their own players one of whom headed home after he was downed early on.
After Sharaz Baksh got a duck and Shahid Shahzab got LBW for 2, the latter left the field and left the field disappointed thinking his teams campaign had ended. But New England captain Fazal Alam had a point to prove and he took it upon himself to get the house in order. Scoring 46 from 31 balls, he toiled hard to keep the Pioneers in the game. The rocket fuel for the final orbit came from Sanichar who just blasted his way through with 45 that included 6 hits to the fence (2 fours and 4 sixes). Not only did the Pioneers shake up Daredevils' confidence, they also knocked Gentlemen of Philadelphia out the equation. Bowling for Daredevils, Chris Vassel excelled with 3 for 19, but runs flowed freely from his colleagues as Alam and then Sanichar were merciless in their attack.
NY Destroyers come up short against the Challengers in a high-scoring run affair
The NY Destroyers came into the tournament riding on a reputation based on vibrant youth and extreme athleticism. After their quick work against the Senators yesterday, their first true test was going to be against the Challengers. Meanwhile, the Challengers did not get a chance to battle test their strengthened batting lineup against the Senators and today’s game against the Destroyers was their last chance before the do or die stage of the tournament. And boy did they test their batting strength. Winning the toss, the Challengers elected to bat and the openers Qayyam Farooq and Andrew Gonzales had a sedate start against the Destroyers attack consisting of George Adams and Khaleem Bux. They inched their way to 19 off 5 overs before opening up their arms.
Having gained a measure of the pitch, the two carved out 37 runs in the next 5 overs to take the total to 56 in 10 overs. Qayyam was the first to fall caught by Dodson off Javain Thomas for 19 off 25 balls. Sudhesh Dhaniram came at one down and immediately upped the ante with fours and sixes. Unfortunately, his innings was cut short when he was caught at mid-off by Zaheer Saffie off skipper Barington Bartley’s bowling. Dhaniram had put on put on 36 runs in a second wicket partnership with Gonzales of which his contribution alone was 30 inclusive of 2 fours and sixes. Dhaniram’s explosive innings was a mere precursor to the mayhem that Gonzales was about to unleash. Boundary hits and booming drives became a regular feature as Andrew went hammer and tongs at the NY Destroyers bowlers. He soon reached his 50 and his intensity only seemed to increase as he passed this milestone. He was eventually out for 87 - the highest individual score in the tournament so far in the last over caught by Smith off Bartley. Tony Powell and Prasad Mahadeo provided adequate support for Gonzales as the Challengers finished on 160 for 5 in 20 overs. Captain Barington Bartley was the pick of the bowlers with 4 wickets for 36 runs and Javain Thomas accounted for the other wicket to fall.
The Destroyers response hinged on a spirited counter-attack and they did exactly that - thanks to a brilliant start from Dennis Evans. Though his partner, Akeem Dodson feel cheaply for 2, Evans keep the scoreboard ticking along with Zaheer Saffie and the two ensured that the required run-rate was always within reachable limits during the chase. The pair took the Destroyers to 60 off 8 overs when Challengers captain made a breakthrough bowling Evans for 30 (off 26 balls). Saffie followed 13 runs later for 26. The sudden loss of wickets and the tight bowling by the wily Challengers bowlers strangled the rest of the Destroyers batsmen as they fell short by 15 runs in their chase. Ron Andrews attempted to carry the game single-handedly with a busy 35 but when he was castled by McGarrell that pretty much ended the game for the Destroyers and they finished 15 runs short of the target. Captain McGarrell was the pick of the bowlers for the Challengers accounting for 3 wickets off 22 runs and Andrew Gonzales was awarded