Monday, September 26, 2011

Champs again! - A hatrick...

Cleveland Cricket Club wins the Midwest Cricket Tour Championship
The Midwest Cricket Tour (MCT) attracts about 32 teams from different parts of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Games are played in league round-robin format with each game being 35-overs a side following ICC rules and regulations.

Starting this year, MCT has created two divisions (Division 1 and 2). Cleveland Cricket Club fielded two teams CCC Gladiators (Div 1) and CCC Warriors (Div 2). It was a grueling season for both the teams. The Warriors ended up topping their group, and reached the finals. They moved up to Division 1 for next year.

The chamionship game:

CCC Warriors faced University of Kentucky (UK) in the finals, played at Stubbs Park in Dayton, OH on Sept 18, 2011.

Warriors won the toss and chose to baT. Davinder Pandher (Goldy) and Suhail Hasham opened the batting. Goldy, as usual played some crisp shots but was caught behind soon. Mayank Mehta came in one-down, looked good but got a brilliant delivery to be caught behind. And soon Vignesh Palanivel, the man-of-match from the semis, was given out LBW. Warriors reduced to 40/3 in 12 overs. To make matters worse, Sujay Ithychanda, got runout, leaving Warriors in dire straits.

Suhail was joined by Rahul Sarnobat, and they knew they had their tasks cut out. Both played sensible cricket, rotating the strike and dispatching the odd-bad balls. Excellent footwork against spinners meant UK was running out of ideas to break the partnership. The scoreboard rolled and Warriors marched ahead to about 125.  

Just when it looked like Warriors would start the final onslaught, Suhail lost his wicket trying to clear the rope. Suhail played a solid innings of 51. Rahul then combined with Sunny Hira to get some quick runs before Rahul was caught out for an excellent 42. From there on Sunny, Deepak, Basu, Sundeep and Bala took Warriors to a respectable 169 leaving UK a target of 170 to score in 35 overs.

UK began the chase in an aggressive mode with their openers Vinod and Abhijeet taking them to about 55/0 in 12 overs. A great start by any means, especially in a final. Warriors were desperately searching for a break. That break came via a brilliant stumping by Bala off the bowling of Vignesh. That let Warriors into the door, and the spin trio (Vignesh, Sujay and Sunny) assisted by brilliant fielding, put the brakes on the scoring. The equation became run-a-ball (UK needed 60 to get in about 10 overs with about 5 wickets in hand). Warriors used all their experience and skill to tighten the grip and eventually UK fell short by 35 runs. Goldy, Basu and Rahul took great catches. Sujay ended up with fantastic figures of 5-17. All bowlers provided crucial support. Vignesh and Sunny got 2 wickets each. When the last wicket fell, Cleveland team erupted in joy for what has been a tremendous season.

Cleveland Cricket Club has for long been a promoter of cricket in this region. CCC won the Michigan League for the last two years. And this win at the MCT makes it a third championship for CCC in as many years.

sep 26-2011

The victorious Cleveland Warriors with the cup:
(From L->R): Mayank Mehta, Sujay Ithychanda, Sanket Shah, Sundeep Bhatia, Suhail Hasham, Riddhish Acharya, Deepak Maddha, Shubhayu Basu, Bala Cherukuri, Sunny Hira, Vignesh Palanivel, Rahul Sarnobat and Goldy (Davinder Pandher) with open arms! :)

(Not in pic but Warriors no less): Anand Nadar, Patrick Arjune, Rajan Gautam, Shiva Birdi, Sunil Raja, and Vishal Bhatia. Pic Courtesy: Shivaram Alluri

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