American Cricket Federation | Scorecard
By Matt Becker
On a picture perfect Sunday afternoon in Orlando, Florida, the Florida All Stars defeated the Midwest Chargers by 218 runs to win the third annual American Cricket Championships – and cap off an all around excellent weekend of American cricket.
The Florida team won the toss and elected to bat. And bat they did. Streaking out of the gate to 18 through three before Dhruv Patel took Chris Chung’s wicket. This brought Krunal Bhange to the crease – and that’s where he would stay for the next 29 overs, seeing 93 deliveries and scoring 106 runs – a Championship final century to savor.
But Bhange was not alone. After opener Oneal Hylton fell in the 13th over, Bhim George walked out onto the pitch and decided he didn’t want to leave – seeing out of the rest of the All Stars’ innings and joining Bhange with a century of his own, only George did Bhange a few better with 112 runs off of only 80 balls.
The Chargers’ attack just never got it going. Eight different bowlers took a turn with the ball, but not a single one of them bowled a single maiden over. Which tells the whole story. Joydeep Chakarborty was the best of the bunch with 7-0-58-2. The attack also was sloppy, giving away 29 runs on wides alone.
The All Stars kept scoring freely and Timroy Allen scored a fine 30 off of only 12 at the death and the Florida team ended on 332 run through their allotted overs – setting a target of 333 to win for the team from Ohio. A huge ask.
After the innings break, Allen continued to give the Chargers nightmares, taking two wickets and leaving their chase in tatters at 14-2 through five. Chirag Ambalya would also fall shortly thereafter and the Chargers’ title hopes look to be over with the squad faltering at 20-3. Prasanjeet Singh and Amit Jain would steady the ship a bit, scoring 18 and 25 respectively, but they too lost their wickets in short order.
The Florida attack kept the pressure on the midwesterners and never gave them time to breathe. Hussain Hader took two wickets, as did Rahu Desai – who ended the day with a five-fer and the game’s Outstanding Bowling Performance award – and the Buckeye State boys fell to 94-7 through 22.
In the end, the massive total from the All Stars proved to just be too much, and the Chargers’ title dreams ended officially as last batsman Fahran Ali fell to end the match. Centurion Krunal Bhange was the man who caught the final out. A poetic end to a fine day’s cricket.
George and Ghange’s centuries were the standout performances on the day – and George fittingly received the game’s Outstanding Batting Performance award – but every All Star acquitted themselves more than competently, and the team was the deserving champions. They will represent their country well at the North American Championship in Phoenix.
Fair play to the Midwest Chargers, as well. They played gutsy cricket but their attack just didn’t have it today against the marauding team from Florida. They’ll be back next year, surely.
In the end, as the shadows grew long against the pitch and the Florida captain accepted the Championship trophy, it was quite clear that it had been a great day for cricket in America.