The USA Cricket Men’s U-19 National Championships kicked off today in Houston, Texas with three group stage matches: Mid-Atlantic vs Colts, Southwest vs Midwest, and the Days YouTube recommended South versus West Zone Blues.
Mid-Atlantic zone vs Colts
There has been a lot of anticipation and discussion surrounding the Colts since the announcement of team rosters, especially with regard to their captain, Slade Van Staden of Hilton College in South Africa. With the reaction on social media from some South African supporters, it looked like the Colts could have a star to anchor the team. Could Slade overcome the challenge of a new wicket and the pressure of leading a squad of unknown players from all over the American landscape (and beyond)?
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The Colts started their first game of the USA Cricket national championships with great promise, thanks in part to the fiery captains 55 runs from 63 balls before being bowled by Ritwik Behera. But Slade wasn’t the only half-centurion for Colts. Rishi Shimpi led off the at bat with 50 of 67, and Rishi Ramesh teamed up with the captain and later Arjun Vajjala (27 of 33) to score 59 of 61 and set a strong goal of 278/6.
It would have been worse for the Mid-Atlantic Zone had it not been for Varun Mantha’s economic bowling, who took two wickets over 8 overs for 39 runs, and Yasir Mohammad, who overplayed 32 over his 8 overs. The Mid-Atlantic dug deep in their attack, using eight different bowlers, but none had the steady success of Mantha and Mohammad.
Apparently that was good enough for the Mid-Atlantic Zone. Despite a difficult start with 101/4, the Mid-Atlantic put together an innings that will be difficult to outperform in the future. Ishan Sharma and Ritwik Behara needed 178 points to win in 26 overs. Teammates Ishan Sharma and Ritwik Behara worked together for 124 runs, before Behera got LBW to Shimpi for 61 of 51. Sharma lingered and eventually skipped the winning runs with five balls, scoring 92 runs from 89 balls in the process.
Nihal Desai scared the Mid-Atlantic Zone early on by taking on wickets from Akhil Thuremella, Pranav Rao and Yasir Mohammad, putting the Colts behind the wheel. But it wasn’t enough to kill the chase, and Sharma’s massive innings made him the clear top star.
The high drama of the day was monopolized by the Colts and the Mid-Atlantic Zone, while the South Zone made short work of the West Zone Blues, winning six wickets in a match of just 51 overs, and the Southwest Zone topped the list. the Midwest Zone with no less than 228 runs.
Southwestern zone vs Midwestern zone
Southwest, essentially the home side of the tournament, got a solid start from Ahan Bhakare (44 runs from 64) and Rehman Dar (33 runs from 40). Ali Sheikh (59 of 44) and Mihir Cherukupalli (53 of 59) each held their bats up for half a century. Hrrit Hinge added a run per ball 45, and Abhimanyu Poswal (33 of 21) and Josh Saripella (23 of 17) added 57 without a loss to end the innings on 348/7.
The Midwest Zone couldn’t find the right formula, but leg spinner Tejas Vishal performed admirably, going for 58 in his 10 overs while claiming key wickets from Aharn Bhakare and Ali Sheikh.
The Midwest may have lacked the experience on Houston’s turf wickets to hang out with the home side, being knocked over for 120 runs in 37.4 overs, giving the South West Zone a whopping 228 runs.
Andwar Ali, who hit eighth, fought for the losing side, scoring 34 of 68 balls, but the Midwest Zone couldn’t compete with the bowling of Soorya Selvakumar (7.4 overs, 20 runs, 4 wickets), Abhiram Valisammagari (8 overs, 2 maidens, 16 runs, 1 wicket), Abhimanyu Poswal (6 overs, 1 maiden, 17 runs, 2 wickets) and Ali Sheikh (6 overs, 1 maiden, 10 runs).
South Zone vs West Zone Blues
The shortest match on Day 1 of the US National Cricket Championship, between the South Zone and the West Zone Blues, was also the only match to be streamed live on YouTube.
The South won the coin toss and chose to bowl, which paid off from the start. Abhiram Bolisetty (4 overs, 1 maiden, 16 runs, 1 wicket) and Atteendra Subramanian (4.5 overs, 10 runs, 2 wickets) teamed up to put the Blues in a hole, 17/2 by the sixth over, with Yashahwi Gautom and Sahil Kancherla (somewhat controversially) caught by wicket-keeper Aryan Shah.
Rajveer Khosa and Ryaan Baghani teased a comeback from Blues, teaming up 42 runs, until left-arm Elton Tucker Jr’s double-sided off-break combo and right-arm Danush Kaveripakam mercilessly took over. The South Zone captain kept himself and Tucker Jr. twenty consecutive, relentless overs in the attack.
From the 11th through the 31st, West Zone Blues only saw Kaveripakam and Tucker Jr. After Blues top scorer Rajveer Khosa (27 of 50) was handed out to Kaveripakam in the 18th LBW, the dominoes fell. Danush Kaveripakam (10 overs, 1 girl, 18 runs, 3 wickets) and Elton Tucker Jr. (10 overs, 25 runs, 4 wickets) the West Zone Blues left just one wicket when the dust settled and Subramanian won the final scalp five balls later to narrow the goal down to 95.
With a potentially short chase ahead, opener Rohan Phadke hurriedly put every loose ball away, scoring 31 of the 20 balls before getting LBW to spinner Aakashveer Saini. Despite some solid bowling figures from Saini (5 overs, 1 maiden, 19 runs, 1 wicket), Akhilesh Swamy (3 overs, 14 runs, 1 wicket), Sahil Kancherla (2 overs, 6 runs, 1 wicket), and Aksha Shah ( 2 overs, 8 runs, 1 wicket), Abhiram Bolisetty stabilized the ship for the South Zone, scoring 26 failing to sail home safely, winning by six wickets.
In addition to being one of the game’s standout players for the South, Kaveripakam also takes credit from his coach for being a sensible captain and sticking to the plan.
He already had in mind the changes he was making. We were in sync, which is good for the team, South Zones coach Rohaan Gosala said Emerging cricket.
He takes it easy, he doesn’t overwhelm himself. The senior players in the team also help. Abhiram (Bolisetty) and Viraj (Vaghela), they have fun and work as one unit.
On Tuesday, the Southern Zone will take over the Mid-Atlantic Zone at 9.30am local time and the East Zone will take over the West Zone Reds at 10am. Stay tuned for more!
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