The second day of the USACA national U-15 tournament saw CER, led by MCA’s Rohit Mogalayapalli, who scored a blistering 68 and took one wicket (a simple choice for Man of the Match), defeat the Directors’ XI, comprised of Atlantic Region’s best younger players, by 86 runs. Batting first at the Orange Park ground, CER got runs from almost all their leading batsmen, and, while the young Directors’ players (many of them coached at the DreamCricket Academy by Earl and Malika Daley, whose excellent work showed very clearly in the field and at the crease) resisted valiantly in their reply, CER’s spinners contained very effectively, aided by some improved fielding, so that their young opponents never looked like overhauling CER’s 220. MCA’s openers Rohit and Gordon
Makin gave CER a good start, but Gordon, who had played some fine drives for fours, fell caught behind for 18 when the score was 34, trying to cut a ball he might have left alone at that stage of the innings. After Arnav Sridher briefly steadied the ship, Captain Parth Joshi came to the crease and built a spectacular 100+ partnership with Rohit. Both hit the ball hard and effectively, especially to the leg side, and dominated the bowling with excellent, aggressive strokeplay. They were looking good for even more runs until somewhat rash charges saw them both stumped, Parth for 40, and Rohit for his game changing 68. MCA’s Ani Mayasandra, towering over some of his young opponents, then came to the crease with one thing in mind, and 28 balls later he had added 34, including two sixes and four fours. CER’s last six batsmen added only a few more runs, but 221 was an intimidating target, and the Directors’ XI never looked like chasing it down. However, CER’s senior men were full of praise for ten-year-old Raymond whom they remembered from MCA’s 2009 Labor Day Weekend Tournament and who stayed almost twenty overs for a beautifully played 20, after taking four wickets in the CER innings, while Harish batted even longer for his 22. As against New York, almost all of CER’s bowlers were economical, but this time Arsalan Babar (6-1-8-3) and Nauman Khan (8-1-17-3) were able to inflict real damage with their accurate, flighted leg spin, aided by two stumpings from Gordon. The Directors’ XI were delighted to bat out their 40 overs and end the match on 134/8, while CER supporters worried that the match, although a very satisfactory victory, revealed a certain lack of penetration in the Midwesterners’ bowling. Several CER players remarked after the match that the marginal decisions seemed to go against them, but they also regretted a number of missed chances. CER coach Sunil Kumar later congratulated all his top-order batsmen, but joined other observers in noting that they missed chances (on a day when two centuries were made elsewhere in the tournament) to push on for even bigger scores.
Next up for CER is Southwestern Region, reputed to have some fine bowlers.
Coach Shyam’s Expert Comments:
The day turned out excellent for CER who looked dominant from the first ball. What they didn’t expect was the tenacity of the players from much younger Director’s XI, the credits clearly going to their coaches. Within the CER team, MCA players stole the show, with Rohit, Gordon and Ani scoring more than half the runs. Playing the spinners is a lacuna in CER batting that needs to be corrected immediately when we are facing a tougher opponent (SWR) on Saturday. But the team looks solid right now and should keep their act together to win the next two.