By Greg Uzelac and Tim Shirrifs
The 2011 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship was kicked off by a dazzling Opening Ceremony which was web streamed around the world. 30 American and Canadian Universities were gathering in cricket’s version of March Madness to compete for the Chanderpaul Trophy and the national Championship. American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah introduced the teams, and after the singing of the National Anthem gave a brief overview of how the organization was developing cricket in US and Canadian Universities. Almost all of the teams present had been started over the past 2 years by Jodah, who took time to “thank Facebook and Shiv Chanderpaul”.

American College Cricket president Lloyd Jodah address the gathering at the opening ceremony.

American College Cricket CEO Nino DiLoreto, BIG League USA CEO Salman Ahmed, Trinidad and Tobago Consul General Dr Anil Ramnanan, Dan West, the Director of Broward County Parks and David Sentance, author of “Cricket in America 1710-2001” were among the dignitaries gathered at the Stadium in Central Broward Regional Park, Florida.

Montgomery College vs New Jersey Institute of Technology
When Montgomery College won the toss and chose to bat, things didn’t look so good optimistic when Ritin bowled Danish Asghav in the first over with a beautiful ball that pegged back his leg stump.   However the tempo rose and runs started flowing more freely with Montgomery bringing up their 50 in the 8th over.  NJIT took regular wickets until Montgomery’s All-Star; Adil Bhatti hammered the opposition reaching the first 50 of the tournament in the 19th over with a cracking six.

NJIT attempted to start off with a bang to beat their opponents’ score, but their run chase just never took off.  Due particularly to Montgomery’s exceptional fielding, wickets fell at a hastening rate and eventually NJIT were bowled out for 101.

Rutgers University vs. Cleveland State
In a shortened match, Rutgers set Cleveland State a total of 50 to win for the loss of only one wicket.  Cleveland State sadly couldn’t reply with enough as they were reduced to 43/8.  Udit Patel was the best of the fearsome bowling attack, taking 2 for 4.

Texas A&M vs. Rutgers University
With the first match of Day 2 there was sure excitement to be had.  Texas A&M lost the wicket of Ravishankar early on but rebuilt after that.  Hamza Mohammed top scored with 44 with Rutgers’ Mital Patel being the pick of their bowlers with bowling figures of 2 for 16.  In their chase of Texas A&M’s total of 134, Rutgers was unfortunate enough to face the heavy artillery in their opponent’s bowling line-up.  The entire middle order was dismissed for naught as there were a total of five ducks in the innings.  Nisarg Chokshi stuck in from the start and made 45 until he was bowled by Ockert Greyvenstein.  Rutgers innings closed at 71 all out.

College of Wooster vs. George Mason University
George Mason started their 2011 campaign with a victory that showed their intentions in this tournament.  With College of Wooster batting first, the GM boys got right to taking them apart with vicious bowling and sharp fielding.  Wooster was bowled out for 42 with Shahrukh Mazhar taking 5 for 3: the competition’s first 5-for.  George Mason replied promptly reaching the needed runs in under three overs for the loss of only one wicket.

University of Southern California vs. University of Iowa

Thanks to a tidy spell from Dushant Sharma (4/20), USC set themselves a score of 101 to win against U of I who was also playing their first match of the competition.  Though some of their batsmen looked in good form, USC faced tough opposition particularly towards the end of the match.  A near collapse of their batting in the 13th and 14th overs gave the Trojans a scare, but they reached victory with the final score being 103 for the loss of 7 wickets.

University of Pennsylvania vs. University of Minnesota

The historic UPenn cricket team put in a superb effort to win vs the University of Minnesota team, with Rahul Borouthu smashing 70 runs in 44 balls, including 5 fours and 3 sixes.  Dhruv Touhniwal scored 51 off 44 balls with 5 fours and UMN made 158 for 8 off 20 overs.  UMN’s Shatanu Chavan then took it upon himself to lead the chase for 159 by scoring a superb 90, which included 11 fours and 4 sixes, narrowly missing the first century of the Championship. Still, Chavan’s effort was not enough as UMN got 150 for 6 wickets in 20 overs.

Boston University vs. University of Iowa

With the help of Bhupinder Singh’s whopping 79, the boys from U of I set a massive total of 166 to chase for the Bulldogs.  Though the lower middle order showed a glimmer of hope, BU’s batting just didn’t take off.  Sathwik Seshadri top scored with a fighting 43 not out.  BU ended their innings at 114 for 9.

Texas A&M vs. Florida Atlantic University
With FAU winning the toss and sending Texas A&M in to field first, their intentions seemed to set a grand score to chase.  However, once again the Texans showed their skills with the ball limiting them to 104 all out in 18.4 overs with Ankush Kothalkar doing the damage with 4 wickets.  They then proceeded to show their batting as they chased it down in 19 overs for the loss of only 5 wickets.  Ockert Greyvenstein top scored for Texas A&M with 44 not out.

Montgomery College vs. New York University – Polytechnic
After NYU-Poly made 107 for 6 with Vinay Tawale top scoring on 26 not out, it was Adrian Gordon vs. Adil Bhatti showdown. Such was a sight to see as Gordon steamed in bowling as fast as ever. Bhatti resisted however and scored 21 not out.  Together with Deepak Pathak 39 not out the Montgomery boys scored 108 to win.

Boston University vs. University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota suffered their second defeat of the day when they could only muster an easily gettable 81 runs.  BU replied with calm disposition, using their twenty overs to chase it down.  In the end the slowness of BU was found unfit for the 20-over game and the pressure was on to reach victory in the last balls of the last over.  They did so, nonetheless, reaching 82 for 6.