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New York U-19s Lose National Title

By Orin Davidson
A first day slipup cost New York Under-19 team its national junior title as they were dethroned in Florida last weekend amidst charges of a poorly run playoff series.

Considered one of the strongest New York junior teams ever assembled, the Big Apple squad had the misfortune of enduring one bad batting day, that was enough to lose their crown in the unforgiving sudden death type four-team knockout playoffs.

Coming up against Northern California (North West Region) in their first match on Saturday, in the semi-finals, New York’s batsmen flattered to deceive, being bundled out for just over 100 runs, chasing a meager target to lose by 72 runs.

With the defeat went New York’s title hopes as Northern California went on to crown themselves new champions after defeating New Jersey (Atlantic Region) in the final, the very next day.

New York coach Linden Fraser said the team paid the price for a single bad batting performance which he attributed to poor shot selection.

Batting first Northern California recovered to score 71 runs in the last 10 overs to post 172-7 in their allotted 50 overs. And in reply New York were routed for 102 in 28.4 overs.

All of the big name batsmen failed including star player Hakeem Dodson, who rebounded to score the series’ lone century one day later in the third place game.

Captain Karran Ganesh, Andre Kirton, Saud Hossein David Umadan and Francis Mendonca all did not trouble the penetrative North California bowling lineup.

It was left to newcomers Jarein Thomas to topscore with 23 and Dwayne Smith 21, Saami Siddiqui, Sr. with three wickets for 23 runs, Muhammad Sher Ali 2 for 7, Saad Khan 2 for 13 and Ranvir Kumar 2 for 26 were North California’s best bowlers.

Earlier Shoaib Saleem 45, Saad Khan 42 and Saaqib Saleem 25 spearheaded them to their winning score.

Kirton came good with the ball taking 3 for 28 while Devndra Pooran with 2 for 35 and Dwayne Smith 1 for 28 gave good support.

Coming up against Southern Califonia who were also beaten on Day One, for third place, New York triumphed handily by 70 runs, but it was a performance a day too late.

Dodson regained his sparking form by stroking an exciting series high score of 121 as New York rattled up 236 all out in 45.4 overs. Surindra Sukhdeo supported with 34.

National Under-19 players Nisarg Patel and Ravi Timbawala were among the wickets, bagging 3-30 and 2-15 respectively for the losers. Nadia Malik also came good capturing 3-43.

In reply Southern California were dismissed for 166 in 44 overs.

Smith, Devndra Pooran and Ganesh led the victory charge by snaring 2 wickets for 28, 31 and 38 respectively.

Timbawala and Matthew Hivenek showed some fight with 43 each while Patel contributed 25 for Northern California.

Aftewards Fraser bemoaned the organizing of the two-day series, claiming that the Opa Loka ground near Miami was unfit for proper competition and criticized the meal arrangements.

“The field we played on was thick with uncut grass which did not make things easy for the players. We were also disappointed to play on a matting pitch because we know there is a better ground with turf pitches nearby at Brian Piccolo Park,” lamented Fraser.

He said the team was also disappointed proper meals were not arranged. “ We were upset we had to find our own meals which was unexpected, because some of us are vegetarians and use halaal stuff, which we could not obtain easily there.”

However, United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) treasurer Selwyn Caesar acknowledged a problem with breakfast, which was to be provided free from the hotel. But he pointed out it is a long held requirement by teams to provide dinner and internal transportation for themselves in competitions. He added that the trophies for the competition will be presented at a date to be announced.

In the final on Sunday Northern California’s bowling once again were the match winners as they skittled out New Jersey for 127 to claim a thrilling victory by eight runs. Northern California won the toss and put up 135 all out in 49 overs. Harkamalbir Singh 20, Saad Khan 17 were the main scorers. Nadeem Virani led New Jersey’s bowling with 3 for 32 while Dhruv Mehra 2 for 23, Suchit Laheri 2 for 24 and Junaid Rasheed 2 for 26 were the ideal foils.

Despite a brilliant 50 from Junaid Rasheed Romeno New Jersey fell short in 26.2 overs as Kumar ripped through the batting order, claiming 5-48. Saaqib Saleem 2 for 18, Shiva Vashisht 1 for 10 and Saad Khan 1 for 18 iced the cake. Top batsman Romero Deane of the national team only managed 11.

In the second semi-final on Saturday at the Lake Steven Elementary School Ground New Jersey squeezed home by 11 runs.

Scores: New Jersey 147 all out off 34 overs. Junaid Rasheed 56, Romeno Deane 45 and Nihant Bongoldula 19.

Bowling for South California. Nadir Malik 5 for 20, Dhrual Panchal 2 for 18 and Mrunal Patel 2 for 23.

South California 136 all out off 41 overs. Ravi Timbawala 35, Faizan Siddique 27 and Matthew Hivenek 25.

Bowling for New Jersey Junaid Rasheed 3 for 22, Arpan Patel 3 for 31, Dhruv Mehra 2 for 9 and Suchit Laheri 1 for 22.
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