USA Cricket News

USA Cricket: West Zone Reds finish undefeated to win 2021 USA Men’s 50-over Nationals

2021 Nov 20 by DreamCricket USA

An 84-run win over South Zone ensured West Zone Reds ended the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record. 

Image credit: Peter Della Penna

By Peter Della Penna in Houston (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
Harmeet Singh’s all-round show in the tournament final with 55 off 50 balls followed by 2 for 36 with the ball helped West Zone Reds clinch an unbeaten championship with a 74-run win over South Zone to win the inaugural USA Cricket Men’s 50-over National Championship at Prairie View Cricket Complex in Texas. 
Harmeet became the fourth Reds player during the tournament to score a half-century – along with Shehan Jayasuriya, Josh Dascombe and Vatsal Vaghela – as part of a squad tremendous batting and bowling depth. Vaghela led the way in the final with the ball, taking 3 for 29 in 8.2 overs, making him one of four bowlers on the Reds to finish in the top 10 wicket-takers at the event along with Harmeet, captain Saurabh Netravalkar and Ruchir Joshi.  
The final against South Zone was evenly poised after South had Reds under pressure at 176 for 6 after 36 overs. But Harmeet’s knock after entering at No. 7 took Reds into a dominant position, ending with 108 off the final 14 overs to post a total of 284. 
Steven Taylor blasted 50 off 32 balls to kick off the South chase, but the scoring rate slowed significantly after his departure, trying to uppercut Harmeet over short third man. South captain Aaron Jones top-scored with 52 off 74 balls, which featured back-to-back sixes off Netravalkar to bring up a half-century. But he was deceived in flight by Vaghela to be stumped for the seventh wicket, and the South tail subsided not long after. 
Southwest finished in third place after defeating West Zone Blues by 122 runs. Sushant Modani scored his second unbeaten century of the tournament to propel Southwest to a total of 296 for 7. Modani then took 3 for 19 with his part-time spin, cementing Player of the Tournament honors. Marty Kain took 3 for 44 in a losing effort with his left-arm spin and ended as the joint leading wicket taker – along with East Zone’s Bhaskar Yadram on 11 wickets – to claim the tournament’s Best Bowler award by virtue of a better economy rate. 
Only 14 balls were bowled in the originally scheduled fifth place playoff between Midwest and Mid Atlantic before the match was abandoned due to problems with the state of the pitch which had been affected a day earlier by excessive water that tournament organizers claimed was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the ground and the match. After a three-hour delay to prepare a new pitch, a new 20-over contest was attempted without any further issues as Mid Atlantic chased a target of 143 with five balls to spare to win by four wickets. 
East notched their first win over the tournament in the seventh place playoff to defeat USA U19 by six wickets. Gajanand Singh and Xavier Marshall each scored half-centuries to chase a target of 215 with 16.1 overs to spare. For USA U19s, Rahul Jariwala’s 23 off 25 balls took him past Saad Ali to become the tournament’s leading scorer as he walked away with the Best Batsman award after ending with 251 runs as both he and Modani scored two centuries in the event.