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Penn State Win Birthday Classic


Nov. 13th, 2009 | Gallery
For Part 2 of the inaugural Birthday Classic on November 7th a CUNY (City University of New York) Team came together for the first time ever, to play Penn State at the Home of College Cricket in the North East USA, Baisley Pond Park. The previous week College Champions Montgomery and a College Allstars Team had played an exciting game in Part 1.
Krishnamurthy of Penn State bowls against CUNY.

Montgomery College's Adil Bhatti explained "Some of the cricketers thought having a match would be an appropriate way to celebrate Lloyd 's birthday...it was really supposed to be the Allstar game but Lloyd was reluctant to be highlighted." American College Cricket VP Nino DiLoreto added, "The Birthday Classic does fit with our plans to create college cricket events. College cricketers will feel honored to play in it." DiLoreto flew in for the celebration after seeing George Washington University play cricket on the National Mall - their practice venue! 
 
The Penn State opening batsmen, Captain Sridhar Raganthan and Rohan Sevailak started slowly against the CUNY pacers, Adrian Gordon and Romeno Dean. After 5 overs only 11 runs had been scored, and it seemed as though the batsmen needed a GPS to find the boundary.  
 
Gradually however Raganathan and Sevailak (named after the great Rohan Kanhai) went from steers past gully to crisp drives for a partnership of 59 before Andy  Mohammed, bowling fast instead of his usual left arm spin, bowled Sevailak. Dodson meanwhile declared he had won awards as "Best Wicketkeeper" and "Best Fielder" in the Radiant Info Tournament, to the amusement of his team mates.
 
Rahul Sarnobat played for the Indian State of Karnatka at the Under 19 level and was Man of the Match on Penn State's previous NY trip. Sarnobat came to the crease and executed a mighty hook and a cut, whilst Raganathan cover drove delightfully before losing his wicket to Andre "Gucci" Kirton for 28 (4 fours). This brought in the Mahesh Krishnamurthy and he and Sarnobat put on 63 runs. Sarnobat came down the wicket a number of times for on and off drives for boundaries whilst Krishnamurthy delighted with a cover drive and a hook for 4 and 6.

Azrudeen Mohamed tries his hand at some medium pace bowling.

Then Krishnamurthy 37 (3 fours,1 six) hit one high and hard for what looked like 6 over midoff, until Imdad Khan did a Statue of Liberty imitation and took a surprising one handed overhead catch. Two more quick Penn State wickets fell whilst the tall Sarnobat went on to make 51* (6 fours). Kirton gave himself the name "Gucci" by being expensive, 36 runs off 6 overs, but bowled well to take 2 wickets. Gordon had kept it tight and only gave up 12 runs in his 5 overs. 
 
At the Break both Teams sang "Happy Birthday" followed by the playing of Rod Stewart's "Forever Young" from the stadium sound system (a nearby car) for the Birthday honoree. The great Shiv Chanderpaul sent Birthday wishes. DiLoreto tried to make a speech but was interrupted by Kanye West.
 
Sarnobat and Krishnamurthy opened the attack for Penn State, and their pace and swing was too much for the CUNY batsmen. Andy Mohammed said, "Krishnamurthy moved the ball more than Shakira moves her waist!". Soon CUNY was 17 for 3 losing USA players Andy, Akeem "I'm a poet and a fielder" Dodson and Dihan Siddiqqi, a former Bangladeshi Under 19 player. Siddiqui played an exquisite cover drive along the ground for 4, and looked about to set the ground on fire when Krishnamurthy swung a very fast one back and uprooted the stumps. Nevertheless Siddiqui seems to be an undiscovered gem (in the US). 
 
Romeno Deane leaned back and played 2 glorious square drives for 4s, whilst Dwayne Smith cover drove and clipped to midwicket beautifully to give the NYers hope before Sarnobat sent back Deane (14) and Smith (19). Kirton blasted 3 fours and 2 sixes in his 26* and seemed intent on winning the game by himself but ran out of partners, whilst proving that if the CUNY batsmen had seen Penn State's opening bowlers off they would have found the scoring easier. Despite having an amazing batting lineup CUNY were all out for 129, well-short of Penn State's 169 ( 25 overs).
 
Sarnobat was declared the Birthday Classic Man of the Match for scoring 51* and taking 3 wickets for 27 runs. The slightly built Krishnamurthy took 2 for 18 and impressed with his speed and swing. No surprise, as in India he was the Runner-up in the ESPN Fastest Bowler Challenge in Chennai. Some of the best cricketers in the USA are in Colleges. 
 
Darkness was enveloping the picturesque Baisley Pond Park as Penn State got ready for their 5 hour drive home and the Birthday Honoree began picking up the boundary markers.
 
Next College Games (subject to weather) a Double-Header, Nov 21 in Maryland:
 
College Champions Montgomery vs George Washington University
Montgomery vs  AUBURN

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