The first day was a tough one for the MCA Combined XI, who arrived in Northern California the night before. At the Santa Clara Ground on Thursday CCA 1st XI made 274/5 off 40 overs; in reply MCA Combined XI were all out for 58 in 18 overs. MCA’s top scorers were opener Kwiese Edmondson and co-captain Paarth Joshi, who both scored 13; Paarth Joshi also took two of the five Californian wickets to fall.
Reports from California indicate that the MCA Combined XI contained the hosts quite well for most of their innings, after Kwiese Edmondson dismissed opener Arsh Buch cheaply, but a steadily-built second wicket stand of 180 between opener Vikram Valluri (88) and no 3 Kartheek Kankanala (85) gave CCA a platform from which to hit out in the last ten overs, when Roshan Vardarajan (19 n.o.) and Vivek Jayram (29 n.o.) added quick runs, while some loose fielding also helped the hosts towards the end of the innings, as jet-lag and fatigue took its toll.
When MCA replied things looked good at the very beginning, as Kwiese Edmondson got the visitors off to a quick start, but after his suicidal run-out, wickets fell quickly: fellow opener Gordon Makin was caught in two minds by an inswinger from Arsh Buch and his nick was well taken in the slips, and Sagar Patel, Arjun Ahuja, Ishan Bhardwaj, Rahul Kosgi, and Rudrik Suthar followed quickly, with only Paarth Joshi offering serious resistance, helped at the death by Ani Mayasandra and Karanjit Singh.
As was anticipated, CCA’s cricketers played very efficiently — few mistakes, patience and experience shown at the crease, and a good line and length bowled to give MCA little room for expansive shots. The hosts looked very well drilled, and very comfortable playing together. But MCA Joint Head Coach Shyam Mayasandra urged supporters not to be disheartened — the team, whose members only met one another on the night before the match, has plenty of talent and must now show resilience. Back in Michigan fellow Joint Head Coach Vasanth Krishnaswami noted that the defeat illustrated the challenges of American youth cricket — a team of players had been gathered in California from Michigan, Chicago, Atlanta, Florida, and Tennessee, to play a one-off series of matches, expected to be at their best within hours of arrival, and likely to develop effective team dynamics only as the series came to an end. At the same time, he noted, opportunities for anything like age-level cricket (this nominally U-17 team includes two fourteen-year-olds) are so rare that every chance must be seized.