By Pirasanna Venugopal
The Bedessee New York Destroyers scored an upset victory in the finals of the Radiant Info USA Twenty20 against the well-established favorites Global Challengers of Greater NY. New York took home $5000 in cash and a glittering trophy courtesy of Radiant Info. Global Challengers took home $2000 for runners-up and the runners-up trophy for the second time.
Despite being a low-scoring affair, the final was a thriller in all respects and gave the fans and spectators every bit of entertainment in what has become something of a routine feature in the Twenty20 match format.
The Global Challengers are managed by Jaideep Reddy and captained by former West Indies international Neil McGarell. McGarrell told DreamCricket.com that he had spoken to the team Sunday night, and their ploy was to not tinker with the batting line-up that had put on 160 runs against the same team in an earlier league encounter. However, they did intend to deploy a different bowling package to keep the marauding Destroyers’ attack at bay. The Destroyers coach, Linden Fraser, revealed yesterday that he had formulated a different bowling strategy that he intended to use against the potent Challengers attack and he was confident that his players would execute the new plan to perfection.
Global opening batsman Andrew Gonzales was declared
the Best Bastman and Player of Series.
Courtesy: Shiek Mohamed, NewYorkCricket.com
The Challengers won the toss and elected to bat - hoping to put up another imposing total and put pressure on the talented but relatively green NY batting line-up.
Former Guyana opening batsman, Andrew (Kristoff) Gonzales, who also finished as the highest run maker in the tournament and Qayyam Farooq opened the innings for the Challengers and the Destroyers opened the attack with George Adams and Dwayne Walters - a pace-spin combo and the first surprise element in the Destroyers strategy was revealed.
This mixed-pace attack had a curtailing effect on the Challengers batsmen even though they did not lose any wickets. Their scoring rate was an anemic 5 runs an over for the first 4 overs. They finally managed to up the ante in the next couple of overs scoring 20 runs off it. However, George Adams extracted his revenge when he caught and bowled Qayaam Farooq for 27 off 22 balls.
Sudesh Dhaniram, a legend who has played for USA and Guyana, walked in next and his explosive power along with Gonzales offered a mouth-watering prospect for spectators. However, this was not to be as Dwayne Walters tempted Dhaniram into an ill-timed lofted drive to long on right into the arms of Akeem Dodson - a current USA player who is an alumnus of the 2006 U-19 World Cup campaign in Sri Lanka.
Tony Powell, a Jamaican international, came in at the fall of Dhaniram’s wicket and managed to keep up the run rate hovering at 6 along with Gonzalves. At the 10-over mark, the Challengers were comfortably placed at 60 for 2 with two in-form batsman and plenty of batting to come - a perfect launch pad for another massive total.
NY skipper and Team USA international Barrington Bartley got 3 for 6
in his 3 overs! Courtesy: Shiek Mohamed, NewYorkCricket.com
However, the Destroyers captain Barrington Bartley had other ideas. He brought himself on in tandem with Javain Thomas - a youngster with immense potential and Javain immediately repaid his captain’s faith in him when he accounted for Gonzalves leg-before for 25 runs off 30 balls - a slow scoring rate by his lofty standards.
Bartley removed the experienced Mookesh Sookram cheaply for 4 when he had him caught by Dodson - a repeat of the catch he had taken earlier to send off Dhaniram. Bowling the 16th over, the Destroyers captain scalped 2 more wickets - including the prized wicket of his counterpart Neil McGarrell for a mere 2 runs - caught brilliantly by Evans at mid-off and bowled danger man Tony Powell for 20.
Wicket-keeper Prasad Mahadeo was involved in a disastrous run-out to leave the Challengers teetering at 82 for 7 at the end of the 16th over. Dennis Evans kept up the intensity by removing Kumar Nandalal and Sean Stanislaus cheaply in the 17th over and the Challengers batting collapse was comprehensive. The last pair of Deryck McDonald and Sean Thomson eked out a few more runs and the Challengers were eventually all out for 94 with one over to spare - an unpardonable crime in a Twenty20 match scenario.
Picture above: Tournament Commissioner Gokul Chakravarthy (third from right) interviews Indian cricketing legend Balwinder Singh Sandhu (second from right) from the commentary box. Commentary feed from the Radiant Info USA Twenty20 final was carried live via EBC Radio 1170AM. (Courtesy: Shiek Mohamed, NewYorkCricket.com)
Meanwhile for the Destroyers, Captain Barrington Bartley, a Team USA player, led from the front returning an incredible 3 wickets for 6 runs in 3 overs. Dennis Evans with 2 wickets for 11 runs was the other notable contributor. In summary, Destroyers' plan worked to perfection and readers may recollect that this was the same strategy that was used in last year’s NJ T20 tournament with somewhat similar results.
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