A pair of centuries highlighted day two of the 2021 USA Cricket U19 National Championship as Mid Atlantic's Sai Mukkamalla and West Zone Reds' Skanda Rohit Sharma both reached triple figures in victories for their respective sides.
Picture credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna in Houston (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna
Mid Atlantic made it two wins from two thanks to a century from opener Sai Mukkamalla in a dominant 85-run victory over South Zone in Group A while West Zone Reds middle-order batsman Skanda Rohit Sharma reached three figures in his side’s 156-run victory over East Zone in Group B on a batting dominated day two of the 2021 USA Cricket U19 National Championship in Prairie View, Texas.
Mukkamalla become the first century-maker of the tournament with his 110 off 116 balls including eight fours and two sixes after Mid Atlantic were sent in to bat at the toss. His innings came with its share of luck however. The right-hander survived a runout chance from backward point on 71 and pulled medium pacer Abhiram Bolisetty straight to deep square leg on 93 only for the ball to burst through the fielder’s hands and land over the rope for six. A single on the next delivery into the covers took him to three figures. His innings finally came to an end when he was runout by Dhruv Patel.
But by that stage, Mid Atlantic had more than enough to defend. Mukkamalla combined for a pair of half-century stands, first with Pranav Rao and then with Yasir Mohammad. South had a brief opening to claw back into the match behind the medium pace of Rohan Phadke, who broke a 65-run stand between Mukkamalla and Mohammad by getting the later to pull to long-on for 38, then claimed the huge scalp of Ishan Sharma two balls later for a duck on a leading edge to midwicket just a day after Sharma’s unbeaten 92 in a win over Colts. But South’s subpar fielding came back to bite them in the end with the multiple chances offered to Mukkamalla in particular. Mid Atlantic were eventually bowled out for 250 in the final over as Phadke ended with 3 for 35 in 7.2 overs.
South were in a deep hole early in the chase after Shapnil Roy claimed both openers with the new ball and further inroads were created by Varun Mantha and legspinner Aditya Sharma, who had Bolisetty edging a cut behind to be out for 4 making it 29 for 4 in the 13th
. Mid Atlantic’s spinners continued to dismantle the middle-order to make it 86 for 8 in the 30th
before the South tail wagged to bring some respectability to the final margin. Dhruv top-scored with 39 from No. 9 before South were eventually bowled out for 165 in the 48th
over. Mid Atlantic captain Nitish Mahesh ended with the best figures on the day claiming 2 for 23 with his spin.
Much like South West a day earlier, West Zone Reds showed off their immense batting depth by making 331 for 9 despite being in trouble at 172 for 6 in the 32nd
over. Skanda and Ajay Immadi produced a 146-run partnership across 16.2 overs to right the course for Reds. However, it could have been nipped in the bud when Immadi skied a flick to midwicket on 4 but was shelled when they partnership had only reached five runs.
The pair proceeded to demoralize the East bowlers with a series of flicks, drives, cuts and pulls square of the wicket, punishing short pitched bowling as well as a series of full tosses. Immadi reached a half-century by driving a six straight down the ground before Skanda went to three figures gliding a late cut through third man for a boundary and all told he had 11 fours and one six in his knock. The partnership came to an end when Skanda tried to sweep the spin of Safwan Ahmed and miscued it off the toe for a return catch. Immadi was dropped again at long off on 58 in the final over before eventually ending unbeaten on 60 off 46 balls with seven fours and two sixes. Safwan ended with East’s best figures of 2 for 26 in five overs.
In reply, Rohan Posanipally bowled a hostile new ball spell to keep East’s batsmen in check and eventually ended with 2 for 20 in 6.3 overs. East batted methodically for much of their innings without ever threatening to reach the target. Mohamed Shaw and Safwan added 83 for the third wicket in a partnership that spanned 17.5 overs before Shaw fell for 57 on a skied a drive off Immadi to Posanipally, who claimed a fantastic over the shoulder catch.
Reds captain Sanjay Krishnamurthi followed up his first innings 35 off 30 balls with 3 for 12 off eight overs of rapid left-arm spin, helping to wipe out the tail as East Zone eventually subsided for 175 in 43.3 overs.
Day three of the tournament will see six teams in action. Tourney hosts South West will battle East to start the day at 9:30 am. In a battle of winless sides, West Zone Blues will face Colts. West Zone Reds will be looking to keep up their winning form against the winless Midwest.