Auburn is ranked # 2 in football and # 13 in cricket. The Gators are 22 in football post-Tim Tebow and only now beginning their college cricket battles. The 2 schools had a long rivalry before changes in the SEC meant they play far less, in fact in 1985 the Gators held Auburn great Bo Jackson to only 48 yards and won 14-10. This propelled the Gators to their first # 1 ranking in football. Gator greats like Emit Smith and Tim Tebow have played, and lost against Auburn.
Now that rivalry is being revived as the Auburn Tigers and the Florida Gators meet in cricket for the first time at the CBRP Cricket Stadium (called the “American College Cricket” Stadium by college cricketers), facilitated by BIG League USA. The Gator Cricket Club team had already beaten University of Miami cricket club team on their way to the Finals.
The University of Florida team won the toss, and sent Auburn in to bat. The Gators’ bowling was tight and Auburn’s All-American Prasana Ravishankar went caught by Baber, bowled by Samin for 11.Auburn Captain Naveen Thiagajaran stroked 2 fours in his 24 runs before Gators star Ricky Nayyar got him caught by Sandeep Pillarsetty, Captain of Auburn.
At 68 for 5 wickets Auburn was set for a low score, and it was only 30 runs by Ahmed Faraz, with 2 fours, that got them to 99 runs for 9 wickets off their 20 overs.Vinay took 3 wickets for 18, and Vijay Pappu 2 wickets for 10.
Dark ominous clouds had gathered on the horizon, and it seemed to speak of Auburn’s position.
ALL AMERICAN PRASANNA
As the Gators went out to bat Prasanna Ravishankar swung the ball both ways to elude the bat of the tall Imran Shaik. After 3 overs UF had only scored 4 runs, Auburn was pumped, and made some tremendous saves in the field.
Then Ricky Nayyar drove one over mid-off for 4, a single gave # the strike, # swung one away, to get an edge and the wicketkeeper did the rest. A couple of run out scares followed then a cut and a fantastic falling catch by slip fielder Thiagajaran. The bowling was tight and even Ricky Nayyar had to be content with singles until he stepped into one and cover drove for 2, after 7 overs the Gators had mustered only 18 runs, for the loss of 2 wickets.
The sun had left the Broward Stadium, and a cool wind blew across the field when Sukhlani cover drove through the gap, only to see a diving stop on the boundary by the Auburn fielder, then a direct hit of the stumps restrict the batsman to one. UF 22 for after 8 overs, Nayyar on 14.
Nayar played a McCullum-like scoop shot for 4 to fine leg, then pulled one for a massive 6 over midwicket but then a direct hit of the stumps Vibudh Mishka in the first of his 3 run outs. But Nayyar was taking control and his 50 came up with the game swinging the Florida Gators way. Nayyar had played the perfect innings so far, going on the attack at the right time.
COMEBACK BY RICKY NATIEL IN 1986 & RICKY NAYYAR IN 2010
In 1986 another Ricky, Ricky Natiel had helped lead the Gators in an amazing comeback to beat Auburn -was Ricky Nayyar going to do the same? But as happens, with only 12 runs needed to win he had a lapse of concentration, swung wildly and was bowled by Prasanna Ravishankar, having scored a magnificent 63 out of 88 team runs.
UF folded after Nayyar left and was all out for 90 runs. A remarkable accomplishment, coming so close to defeating Auburn, a seasoned and experienced team. Ravishankar was the Game MVP, taking 3 wickets for 8 runs, including Nayyar.
The cricket team from Auburn University had looked good at the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship, with experience gained from playing in their own Tiger Cup and other tape ball tournaments. Their commitment to the game manifested by their 14 hour drive to play in the American College Cricket Southeast Championship, and the national Championship last March. They played with very little sleep, and left with so much to be proud of.
RECOGNITION AT FOOTBALL GAMEDAY FOR CHAMPIONS?
The team said they hope be recognized on the jumbotron at Auburn’s football game in front of 100,000 screaming football fans this coming Saturday for their accomplishment , and we hope they are, as Champions!