2015 North American Cricket Championship
By Shiek Mohamed
The annual three-day American Cricket Federation’s North American Cricket Championship (NACC) between the top American and Canadian cricket leagues got underway yesterday, with a comfortable 64 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix, Arizona. The first of three 40-over matches in three days saw the NACC defending champions Toronto XI defeat the 2014 American Cricket Champions League title-holder Florida All Stars, by 51 runs.
Florida All Stars won the toss and decided to field, it was probably not the best decision, as the defending champions Toronto piled up 224 for 7 wickets in the allotted 40 overs. In response the Floridian team could only muster 173 all out off 33.1 overs.
Toronto XI openers Kesavan Juvarajan and Riyaz Khan Pathan batted well as they put on a partnership of 39, before Pathan fell caught behind to Meetul Patel for 18 off 37 balls. Sudesh Dilshan would join Juvarajan and the pair added 54 for the second-wicket partnership. Dilshan was the more aggressive of the two batsmen striking 27 off 20 balls as he fell to Meetul Patel with the score on 93. Ragunath Soogoor was the new batsman in, but he didn’t stick around long, and was bowled by Bhim George for 10. Opener Juvarajan would eventually fall bowled by Naseer Khan after a stubborn 44 of 78 balls.
The Toronto XI scored 53 runs in their last five overs, as they reached a respectable total of 224 thanks to another good partnership between Shaheed Keshvani and Zubin Surkari. The pair added 45 runs for the fifth-wicket. Keshvani scored 24 while Surkari contributed an impressive 60 not out (6x4s) from 47 deliveries.
Bowling for the Florida All Stars, Meetul Patel and Amir Kiani picked up two wickets each while O. Wynter, Bhim George and Naseer Khan each took one wicket.
The Florida All Stars had a great start to their inning as O’Neal Hylton and Meetul Patel put on 45 in an opening stand, with Hylton attacking the new ball. His subdued partner Patel fell to Kesavan Juvarajan when on 7.
Hylton would bat on to reach his half-century and eventually falling to Shaheed Keshvani for 63 off 56 deliveries, including 8 fours and 2 massive sixes.
The Toronto bowlers would eventually clean up the other Florida All Stars batsmen, with only three of them reaching double figures; Naseer Khan, Amir Kiani and Maksud Indawal scored 14, 18 and 31 respectively.
Shaheed Keshvani was the most successful bowler picking up 4 wickets for a mere 16 runs off 8 overs. He was well supported by Ragunath Soogoor and Naeem Hasham who each captured two wickets.
The tournament continues today at the picturesque Nichols Park Basin Ground in Phoenix, AZ with the best of the three-match series wrapping up tomorrow at the same venue.