ACF’s Inaugural T20
The American Cricket Federation (ACF) held its inaugural T20 tournament over this past Columbus Day weekend on natural turf wickets at the Woodley Cricket Complex. Eight teams took part in the tournament – Minnesota Cricket Association (MCA), Michigan Cricket Association (MichCA), Cricket League of New Jersey (CLNJ), Washington Metropolitan Cricket Board (WMCB), Southern Connecticut Cricket Association (SCtCA), Midwest Cricket Conference (MWCC) and Massachusetts State Cricket League (MSCL). For many participants, it was the first tournament on turf wickets in the U.S.
“SCCA’s hospitality, event organization, grounds and facilities, they were all so good that we just did not want to leave Woodley,” Pradeep Vedala of Cricket League of New Jersey said. “My team enjoyed every minute of the tournament and we are glad to have taken part in ACF’s inaugural T20,” he added.
Speaking after the final, Leighton Greenidge, Convenor of the ACF Steering Committee said, “We kept our promise and delivered a robust and well organized tournament. From a player development perspective, playing tournaments on proper wickets is important if we want to take cricket to the next level. We are grateful to Kamal Azeez and the entire SCCA for giving everyone this tremendous opportunity to play on their facilities. In doing so, SCCA has opened the window to seven leagues who now know first hand what it is like to maintain and play on world class facilities.”
“ACF continues to work on all of its goals with the same zeal and we are on track to building an organization that will represent its constituents and deliver value to the stakeholders,” Greenidge added.
In the preliminary rounds on October 6th and 7th, each team played three matches. Four matches were held on October 6th following which a meet and greet and banquet was held at the Airtel Hotel. The remaining matches in the preliminary round were played on October 7th.
Among the highlights of the preliminary round matches were a hat-trick by Jasdeep Singh of CLNJ and a super-over win by SCtCA over Minnesota. Another match almost ended in a tie after SCtCA batsman Abhishek Patel was run out going for the tying run on the final ball of the innings. In another close finish, five successive SCCA batsmen were run out, and the team lost to Michigan by just 2 runs.
In Monday’s semifinal, CLNJ restricted Midwest to 135 and easily got the needed runs helped by Rohan Sheth’s 59. In the other semifinal between SCCA and MSCL, Muhammad Asad Khan scored 70 off 43 balls helping SCCA finish on 198, a score that proved to be insurmountable for MSCL.
In the final between SCCA and CLNJ, CLNJ won the toss and elected to bat first. Rohan Sheth made 24 opening the innings and CLNJ captain Kunal Baride scored 25 at number four. Baride and Santosh Dani added 35 for the fifth wicket. After Baride fell with the score on 101 in the 16th, CLNJ lost two more wickets with the score stuck on 101. The team sputtered to 118, a score that proved difficult to defend. Under-19 player, left-arm spinner Shayan Abdulghani took 3 for 18 and finished with 12 wickets for the tournament.
SCCA reached the target in the 14th over. Rohit Yadav and Clayon Graham made 21 and 29 respectively before getting out as SCCA reached the 10-over mark at 81 for 2. Muhammad Asad Khan and Timil Patel knocked off the rest of the runs with Khan finishing 37 not out in 25 balls and Patel 25 not out in 16 balls.
At the post-tournament awards presentation, former USA Under-19 player Shayan Abdulghani of Southern California Cricket Association was presented with a bat from tournament sponsor SG after being chosen as the Best Youth Player of the weekend. Cricket League of New Jersey’s Jasdeep Singh was given the award for Best Bowler after finishing tied for first at the end of the group stage with six wickets including a hat-trick against Minnesota Cricket Association. Abishek Patel of the Southern Connecticut Cricket Association was named Best Batsman after being the top scorer in the group stage with 141 runs. Muhammed Asad Khan of SCCA was named the MVP of the tournament.