The Intraregional leg of the USA Cricket Women and Girls’ Domestic Pathway continues this weekend, with Atlanta, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh facing off at Best Academy in Atlanta, and Philadelphia/New Jersey facing off against Washington DC in Evansburg, Pennsylvania.
Four T20 games took place last weekend between teams from Boston and New York areas. The New York team beat Boston in three of the four matchups, with New York’s Melanie Henry nearly lapping the field in runs (123), and Boston’s Sainavi Kamalapalli leading in wickets, with six at an economy of 6.50 across 16 overs.
Players taking the field in Atlanta and Evansburg hope to leave a mark like Henry and Kamalapalli. Sasha Vallabhaneni of Orlando, Florida headed into the even intent on makeing such an impact. Entering cricket only a year ago with a background in tennis, Sasha has already impressed with the bat, scoring a half century recently in St Louis in a 30 overs aside game.
Sasha was inspired to take up the game by her father, Suresh, who was an opening batsman for his college back in India. “He introduced me to the sport, and since he couldn’t continue playing the sport, in a sense I am finishing what he started,” Sasha told Emerging Cricket.
“My goals for the season would be getting selected to the U19 national games, representing the East Coast in Houston, and to be in contention for the USA Women’s U19 squad.”
Sasha has played mostly with the Triangle Cricket League from North Carolina, a setup which features USA Women’s senior fast bowler Geetika Kodali, who recently participated in the Fairbreak Invitational for the second time. Geetika also recently celebrated her high school graduation with several members of the tight-knit local women’s cricket community, including Sasha and her family.
Since Sasha lives closer to Atlanta than North Carolina, she’s been placed on the Atlanta squad for this round of the pathway. On Saturday, Sasha impressed again, opening the batting and scoring big against her friends and usual teammates from North Carolina in a performance that should help earn her a spot in the regional round.
Later in July, the West zone will begin with their intraregional leg. USA Women’s batter Gargi Bhogle, only 19 years old, understands the significance of the pathway as much as anybody does. “As a cricketer, this pathway means everything to me, as it was the start to my cricket career,” Bhogle told Emerging Cricket. “It was my first real experience of playing competitive women’s cricket too, and it helped me find a place with all the other female players. Since I live in Southern California, where women’s cricket is not too popular, the pathway gave me a great opportunity to participate.”
The success and importance of the Fairbreak Invitational is not lost on Ghargi. “I was so proud of Geetika and Sindhu’s participation in the Fairbreak. Personally, it excites me to see my teammates doing so well, as it shows me that women’s cricket is expanding globally, and the United States is a part of that expansion. Fairbreak is an amazing platform for my peers and me. There is no doubt that we all want to be a part of that outstanding tournament.”
The Intraregionals will wrap up after July 16, and the standout players will be organized into the Regionals, which should run from July 25 through July 28. The best players from Atlanta, Chapel Hill and Raleigh will take on the best from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and DC, while the best from LA, the Bay Area, and Seattle will take on the best from Houston and Dallas.
The very best players from these events will be organized into an East and West team, and face off in the National Championships from August 1 through August 3.
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