At the national U-15 tournament in New Jersey today Central East Region beat South West Region by 96 runs, with MCA’s Rohit Mogalayapalli (45) and Gordon Makin (57, Man of the Match) posting a first-wicket partnership of 97 that set the foundation for a final total of 191. That allowed CER coach Sunil Kumar to challenge the opposition by opening with spin when SWR replied, effectively choking the Californians, who struggled to score against Nauman Khan, Vivek Joglekar, Arsalan Babar, and then medium-pacer Arnav Sridher, who all bowled with exemplary discipline to leave South West falling further and further behind the required run rate.
After winning the toss CER captain Paarth Joshi had no hesitation in choosing to bat, and MCA’s Gordon and Rohit headed to the crease. 23 overs later, when the first wicket finally fell, CER had taken control with a mixture of patience and well-directed aggression. Rohit looked particularly strong again, hitting three fours and a six before a moment of carelessness saw him bowled by Shakeel. Although the CER middle-order struggled to take advantage of the good start, Gordon batted on, hitting three fours in a careful, anchoring innings that came to an end with a premeditated swipe just three overs before the end of CER’s, as he began to throw the bat, surprising some of the CER followers with his late-innings slogging. Nauman and Vivek both added quick runs at the end, Vivek thrilling the Midwesterners on the boundary with his first ever six.
192 seemed a good target, although there was some concern that it might be a few runs short on a pitch that had some bounce. However, Coach Sunil Kumar felt that his batsmen had done exactly what he wanted, and proceeded to surprise and disturb SWR by opening with leg spin from Nauman (8-3-10-2) and off spin from Vivek (5-1-14-0). The Californians struggled to get the ball away, themselves unfamiliar with the matting wickets which demand a very different approach from batsmen, especially against spin, and at the end of the tenth over, when the score stood at 22/2, CER was in control. They never let go, with Arnav (8-1-31-2) and Arsalan (8-1-26-2) helping to tighten the noose, aided by good fielding and two runouts well engineered by Vivek and Samvit respectively. SWR’s fight ended in the 33rd over, just after Gordon took off his pads, having batted for 37 overs and kept for 30 in the match.
CER’s last match in the tournament is against the host region, Atlantic, in a cross-over meeting to decide third and fourth place.
Coach Shyam’s Expert Comments:
“CER must be particularly proud today of the consistent performance of its openers, Rohit and Gordon, who for the third time in a row laid a firm foundation for the team to build on. However, it appears that our batsmen in general have a long way to go before they master playing against spin attack. They seem to struggle much, either losing their wickets or considerably slowing their scoring against spin. CER’s own bowling was very good, with the spinners walking away with honors. MCA would have liked to see our spinner, Gordon Makin, shine with the ball as well today, but he did his wicket-keeping duties very well after a sterling batting performance.
That leaves CER in second position in the group A, after NYR. Another excellent game coming up tomorrow, when CER plays the group B runners up – Atlantic. Atlantic have narrowly lost the top spot in their group to NWR and this is expected to be a tough match for CER. We sure hope the CER (and MCA) boys will be at the top of their form.”