USAC Men’s U19 National Championships: Day 4

Mid-Atlantic batsman Saiteja Mukkamalla (69 from 58 balls) took the tournament runs lead as they cruised to the National Championship Finals.

USA U19 Nationals Captains

Day four of USA Cricket’s Men’s U-19 National Championships featured just one game, the final group stage game for Mid-Atlantic Zone, who would clinch Group A with a victory, and West Zone Blues, battling for their first win of the tournament.

Rain would delay play before the start and shorten the game to forty overs per side. 

The Blues started patiently, with eight gifted runs from extras in the first five overs, and an additional six off the bat. A maiden over from Shuja Khan (5 overs, 2 maidens, 8 runs, 1 wicket) turned the innings on its head, and the Mid-Atlantic would take a wicket in each of the next three overs, with Shapnil Roy (5 overs, 16 runs, 2 wickets) striking in the 7th and 9th, sandwiching another Khan maiden, this one ending with the wicket of Surya Narayanan.

Captain Sahil Kancherla and number four Andrew Daluwatte would partner for 56, before the skipper would fall to his opposite, Nitish Mahesh, in the 28th for 19 from 55. Daluwatte (31 from 59) would depart the next over to Yasir Mohammad (7 overs, 29 runs, 1 wicket) without a change in the score, and the Blues were in a 5-77 hole that they couldn’t recover from.

Siddarth Menon tacked on another 24 from 21 balls, and number ten Aakashveer Saini added 14 from 17 to take the total to 134/10 in 40 overs. Menon Joined Ayan Desai and Akhilesh Swamy as victims of Ritwik Behera, who took 3 wickets in only 4 overs, conceding 23 runs. 

Mid-Atlantic batsman Saiteja Mukkamalla (69 from 58) took the tournament runs lead in the chase, partnering with Yasir Mohammad (42 from 44) for 95 runs from the 5th over through the 18th, before falling to Akhilesh Swamy via stumping by Siddarth Menon.

Ayan Desai was strong for the Blues in the bowling department, finishing with two wickets in his six overs for 22 runs, but it wasn’t nearly enough to stop the Mid-Atlantic from their destiny in the National Championship Finals.

Speaking of the finals, perhaps the most even matchup of the tournament since the Mid-Atlantic faced the Colts is in the cards for Friday. The two undefeated Group B teams will finally face off when the West Zone Reds take on the South West Zone for the right to play Mid-Atlantic in the National Championship Final on Saturday.

Additionally, the South Zone will take on the Colts in a matchup that will determine second place for Group B. The South have relied on their bowling depth, while the Colts have built themselves around accumulator extraordinaire Slade Van Staden. Not to be overshadowed by the South African star, Rishi Ramesh and Rishi Shimpi have carried more than their weight, and the middle to bottom order have scored quickly when they’ve gotten the chance. 

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