24th May: Mumbai Indians v R. Royals, 14:30 GMT
24th-28th May: 2nd Test, Headingley
The fourth & fifth matches of the TV cricket season in the USA & Canada were the Semi Finals of the American College Cricket Mid Atlantic Championship: Virginia Tech vs University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC); and Montgomery College vs Long Island University-Brooklyn.
The teams squared off at the British Officers Cricket Club in Evansburg, PA in picturesque autumn shades of gold, rust-brown & red – a truly unique setting for cricket which is so much a summer sport. The temperature, in brilliant sunshine, was in the 60?s as the college players took the field.
Batting first Virginia Tech had a good opening partnership of 30, then one of 78 in 11 overs between Gaangrade,35 & Karthik Radhakrishnan, 50*. Despite the sluggish outfield VT put up a good score of 124 for 4 in their 20 overs.
But then UMBC opener Eraj Abidi launched an assault on the VT bowlers and smashed 77 out of 88 runs, off 30 balls (6 fours & 6 sixes) , making a UMBC victory a foregone conclusion.
In the second semis Montgomery College batted first and lost an early wicket before Sadiq Naseer,14 and Syed, 32 steadied the ship taking the score to 43 for 2. The USA’s first modern cricket star, Adil Bhatti, then strode to the wicket and with his usual confident approach took control.
Bhatti who rose through the American College Cricket ranks to become a USA player,and longtime cricket mate Suchit Laheri put on an unbroken 89 run partnership as Bhatti delighted with strokes that matched the resplendent surroundings. All the slow outfield could do was prevent Bhatti from getting a century as he unveiled his panoploy of shots, hitting 4 fours and 6 mammoth sixes in 80* in 42 balls. Laheri lofted 2 sixes at the end to finish on 29*.
The Montgomery Raptors innings ended at 175 for 3 and the newly put together team of the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds faced a real challenge.
An astonishing spell by Suchit Laheri of 3 wickets for 5 runs in 3 overs, and a wicket at the other end by Adil Bahtti made the Blackbirds 19 for 4 when Mayo got LIU Brooklyn’s Captain Devarshetty and it was 20 for 5. A bit of tail-wagging took the total to 90 for in LIU’s 20 overs and Montgomery won by 83 runs to get through to the Finals as the American College Cricket season continues on TV in the USA & Canada.
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