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New Jersey Awesome In Capturing Maiden National Title

By Orin Davidson
A Coup d” etat is imminent in the United States but it has nothing to with the Democrats sweep of the just concluded mid-term elections.

The rising tide of change is gathering momentum in cricket circles where New Jersey (Atlantic Region) is seriously challenging New York’s legacy as the country’s cricket hotbed.

New Jersey flouted their power by nailing their first ever national title without breaking much of a sweat in its fifth staging in Miramar, Florida.

New Jersey played unbeaten, knocking off so called favorites Texas (Central West), Florida (South East) and Southern California to post an impressive unbeaten record.

The feat capped a tremendously successful year for the neighboring state which followed up on their upset win over New York that helped send the three-time champions tumbling out of Eastern Conference series without a chance to defend their title in the Finals.

“We knew our time would come sooner than later and we are going to enjoy this success to the maximum, New Jersey Director Shelton Glasgow told Cricket International.

Fast bowler Imran Awan said it was an easy triumph which was very special for every member of the squad.

None more than Rashard Marshall, the young middle order batsman who emphasized his claim as one of the country’s leading players with another Man-of-the Series batting display, stroking two half centuries and one five short of the 50-mark.

Chintal Patel was also on top of his game, bagging eight wickets in the three games to justify his selection in the United States team as a permanent spin bowler.

Awan also made his presence felt with one three wicket haul in two games, as New Jersey enjoyed the luxury of sitting out for one game.

Although Central West did not live up to their high expectations, their much heralded star batsman Sushil Nadkarni matched his pre-tournament hype, slamming two half centuries as his team had to settle for second place.

Nadkarni, the former India junior player struck a tournament high 84 against New Jersey in the key clash of the series on Saturday, but it was all in vain.

New Jersey turned on the pressure to triumph with ease by five wickets with 10.4 overs remaining. Batting first Texas were limited to 233 all out in 49.5 overs, being suffocated by the New Jersey spin attack. Nadkarni received negligible support as the next best score was 26 by Niraj Shah. Patel and Siddarth Metha were outstanding, ending with identical figures of three wickets for 42 runs.

Marshall showed off his diverse talent, capturing 2-19 with the ball before going on to stroke an unbeaten 50, batting at number four in New Jersey’s 236-5 in reply in 39.2 overs. Roopnarine Gowkarran led the scoring with a blistering 69 and shared a tremendous opening stand of 116 with Glen Hall who compiled 40. Arjun Rajagopnan was Texas’ best bowler with 2-28.

In their opening game last Friday, New Jersey beat Southern California in their closest encounter by 19 runs. Marshall paved the way for the victory, hitting an accomplished 54 in guiding his team to 216 all out in 49.1 overs. Roopnarine also had a fruitful series, scoring 48 while Glenmore Hall chipped in with 35 and Clain Williams 30.

Former West Indies fastbowler Franklyn Rose captured three wickets for an expensive 56 runs while Sandeep Patel supported with 3-43. There was also a late burst by Mehul Dave who snared 2-9 off 2.1 overs. In reply the California side fell short, going down for 195 in 47.2 overs. Aditya Thyagarajan stood out among the ruins, scoring 53 along with Abishkek Pawar who notched 37. Tarun Bhoomireddy supported with 25.

Awan cleaned up the top order to end 3-43 while the irresistible Patel came good with 2-29 and Siddharth Mehta, who had identical figures.

New Jersey rounded off their campaign by rolling over Florida by four wickets with 9.2 overs to spare on Sunday.

Taking first strike the Southern state were bowled out for 183 in 42 overs as Metha, Sushant Konda along with Patel condemned them to a losing score. Metha grabbed 3-13, Konda 3-31 and Patel 2-34. Ex Jamaica wicketkeeper Shane Ford topscored with 33 and Shawn Riley supported with 32, but apart from Massod Mohamed and Hamad Choudhary with 32, 26 and 23 not out respectively, none of the other batsmen pulled their weight.

Konda capped a fine all-round performance by hitting a topscore of 51 run out. Marshall came good with 45 while Roopnarine hit 34. Ken Singh took 2-48 for the losing team.

In the other key game, Texas got by Florida in a thrilling finish by six runs through a solid all-round performance on Friday. Nadkarni hit a game high 57 in leading Texas to 216-9 in their allotted 50 overs. Rahul Kukreti came good with 44 and Niraj Shah 31. Rajesh Thadani was mainly responsible for restricting them, capturing 4-26 from five overs while Massod Mohamed took 2-43.

Florida came close in reply, falling for 210 in 41.1 overs despite a brilliant 75 by Mandeep Dhillan. Only Mozzan Intiaz with 28 offered any other resistance with 28.

Jermaine Levane led the Texas bowlers, grabbing 2-17 from five overs while Usman Shula had 2-38.

Texas’ other match against Southern California was reduced to a 20/20 affair on the final day which they won comfortably.

In the other match, Florida whipped Southern California by 118 runs. Scores: Florida 282-8 (50 overs). Moazzam Imtiaz 81, Shane Ford 70, Dunae Nathaniel 44, Mandeep Dhillon 43. Arshad Junaid 3-35, David Martil 2-63. Southern California 164 ( 37.2 overs)Aditya Thyagarajan 78. Ken Singh 3-50, Hamad Choudhary 2-39, Massod Mohamed 2-27, Rajesh Thadani 2-4.

The series was staged at the newest cricket facility in the country at the Miramar Regional Park which according to reports is of the highest standard, complete with lights and electronic scoreboard.

Constructed by Miramar city, the facility was done this year and is in the process of having turf pitches built.
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