Wides and Middle-order Collapse Send ACM to 2nd Successive Defeat in N.C.

The ad hoc Atlanta-Chicago-Michigan U-17 team, which includes 3 MCA players, went down to a second successive defeat to Triangle Cricket Academy in Morrisville, N.C., today, losing to the hosts by 42 runs at the minuscule Crabtree Creek Nature Park ground. ACM’s Sunny Kumar (Atlanta) starred for the visitors, taking 6/30, including a hat trick, and anchoring the visitors’ reply with a careful 31, but it wasn’t enough, as a massive 40 wides helped the hosts to 179, before ACM faded badly after a solid start, to lose in 30 overs.

After both teams had met West Indian great Alvin Kallicharan, currently coaching for and playing in the Triangle Cricket League, in a pre-match presentation, ACM won the toss and put TCA in on a slowly drying field. The hosts made a good start, with twins Vidusha (33) and Nahusha (47) putting on 84 for the first wicket, before ACM’s spinners went to work. Again, dropped catches and a missed run-out made life harder than necessary for the visitors, but TCA found the bounce and flight of Ani (1/33), Sunny, and Saqlain (1/22) difficult, and ACM were reasonably satisfied to bowl the hosts out for 179 on a field where the square boundaries looked about 40 yards from the middle. After the openers, only Samip (29, clean-bowled by Rohit) got into double figures. Sunny’s hat trick (Anup, lbw; Harshmeet clean bowled; and Prit lbw, with the score on 121) looked to have turned the game, but the last three wickets added a valuable 58 runs. Rohit, 2/30 in 5.2 overs was the other wicket-taker for ACM.

With an undemanding required run rate, ACM could afford to bat carefully, as openers Mith and Sunny duly did, putting on 42 for the first wicket before Mith was clean-bowled for 15. At that stage, with some eight overs gone, ACM’s supporters had little reason for concern, but disaster followed. Kush looked very comfortable, playing nicely in the V, until Anup’s bounce and turn caught him in two minds and he edged to slip for 9; Arjun then lifted Anup back over the bowler’s head for an apparently effortless six, only to fall clean-bowled to Nahusha on the next legitimate delivery he faced. Rohit was caught behind in the same over, and Gordon came in, took a single off the last ball of the over, then played the first five balls of the following over, from Anup, carefully, only to loop a top edge to point when he tried to cut the last ball of the over. At 68/5 ACM were in big trouble, but there was still hope.  Ani began by blocking what was on the stumps, and hit three wide ones for powerful fours, but then played around a straight ball and was bowled. Even at 86/6, victory was not out of question: as the pitch dried, Sunny and Saqlain looked quite comfortable. However, captain Saqlain drove loosely to short extra cover, and Sunny was left with the tail. He fell to a very similar shot with the score on 113, and only a robust 17 from ninth man Jaskaran delayed the inevitable.

ACM retired to their hotel to lick their wounds, hoping for some consolation in Sunday’s shortened match, also to be played at the CCN ground. For the Midwestern contingent it was a tough day with the bat, and not an easy day in the field, but it is to be hoped that the experience has been instructive. Pictures below.

TCA Coach Prasad with Alvin Kallicharan.

The presentation

ACM Coach Vijay Ganji and players listen to Kallicharan’s address

MCA’s Ani in action with the ball

MCA’s Gordon behind the stumps, Ani in the gully.

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