Cricket in USA


 -  Lloyd Jodah
Photos by Daniela Zaharia, courtesy ACC

When the York College of New York faced York University of Toronto in the final of the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship on March 21, cricketing history was made. The event was webcast around the world by the American College Cricket (ACC)—spreading cricket in America like never before. 

Both teams had won their semi-final engagements earlier in the day, York University having defeated University of South Florida (USF) whilst York College ousted University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Favourites such as USC (Trojans), Montgomery College, Auburn and George Mason (GMU) had narrowly missed making the last four, such was the close nature of the contests. 

In the four days of cricket on show, the part-time cricketers gave their best. On the final day, York University. captain Mahjuj Sourav and York College skipper Mohammed Suleman spun the toss in the presence of American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah and Vice President Nino DiLoreto.

York U won the toss and elected to bat, sending in their inform batsmen Jai Patel and Kushroo Wadia. Patel’s scores in the championship up until that point read 53, 48, 44 and 37. Wadia had already scored 78 and 38. And captain Sourav was taking the attack to the opposition early on in the innings.

His boys proved they were capable of lifting their game when it mattered. First, 76 runs were put on for the opening wicket, Jai Patel essaying some glorious cover drives. He went on to smash 7 fours and contributed 48 before being brilliantly caught by a diving Akeem Dodson behind the sticks off Hugo D’Oliveira.

Wadia made 54 (6 fours) before he was run out with the score on 162. He had batted nearly the entire innings. Raza Rahman made 35 before being caught by Dodson off Dhilawar Khan. Suleman bowled with patience and his figures in the end were outstanding—3 wickets for 16 in 3 overs.

York University made a formidable total of 163 for 6 in their 20 overs. With the boundaries set at the full 72 yards the picturesque ground measured up to international standards. 

The young York College team that had been cobbled together only in December faced a tough task. But with Akeem Dodson opening they were not quite out of the game. Dodson had already made two 50s, besides scoring 68 and 62 in the championship until then. Mahjuj Sourav, though, had other ideas, and he was out to upset the York College applecart.

Sourav ripped through the York College batting with his medium pace, taking 4 for 19 in 4 overs. It was a tremendous bowling performance, and together with Hasan Chogtai who took 2 wickets for 5 runs, and Ayaz Choudry (2 for 19), the skipper ensured that only one team remained in the contest.

Dodson’s 19 runs was the top score as York College made 90 runs whilst losing 9 wickets when play ended. However the team had perfomed magnificently.

The webcast was watched by thousands on their computers and TV sets. Malls in Toronto, like Square One, put the game on their Jumbotron. Cricket had taken a giant leap forward in the USA and Canada.

April 2010

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