Day three of USA Cricket’s U19 Men’s National Championships lacked the drama of the previous two days, but it did serve to clarify the picture for the finals.
Two more centurions raised their bats, as Slade Van Staden scored 120 from 124 to lead the Colts over West Zone Blues, and Rehman Dar had the biggest innings of the tournament to date, scoring 148 and setting the tone for South West Zone to beat the East Zone by 138 runs.
‘It felt really good, as a player. I needed to get some runs on the board, obviously. I was just trying to bat long in there, and score for my team and score big, and put my team in a position to win the game,’ Dar told Emerging Cricket.
‘Their (East Zone) new ball bowlers were actually pretty good, good line and length and good swing, so my plan was to rotate strike. Just singles, doubles, bad balls punish away, and just bat them out. And then the spinners, just batting through.’
South West Zone vs East Zone
The highlight of the innings was a 174 run partnership with Ali Sheikh (56 runs from 61 balls), which took the South West from 103/2 in the 19th over to 277/3 in the 43rd. Sheikh, Mihir Chrukupalli (35 from 23), Shreyan Satheesh (9 from 12) and Abhiram Valisammagari (10 from 7) would tack on an additional 65 runs, with some significant help from extras.
Rahi Bhatia was a bright spot for the East bowling attack, continuing his solid tournament, once again bowling his full 10 overs, allowing 51 runs with a wicket. Safwan Ahmed took two wickets in his 10 overs for 66 runs, and Vishalpranay Idapalapati (10 overs, 65 runs), James Samuel (8 overs, 62 runs) and Derek Persaud (5 overs, 26 runs) each took a wicket.
Though the East never really threatened in the chase, they were not without notable contributions. Taahaa Warraich, batting at number 4, entered with the East in a 21/2 hole after six overs. Taahaa batted for 40 overs, totaling 84 runs from 108 balls, before falling to Laksh Parikh (10 overs, 1 maiden, 38 runs, 3 wickets) with the East at 194/9. Rahi Bhatia partnered with Warraich for a fifth wicket value of 107 runs before being bowled by left arm quick Soorya Selvakumar (8.5 overs, 49 runs, 2 wickets) in the 35th.
Along with strong bowling from Selvakumar and Parikh, the South West again exhibited a thorough attack, with Abhiram Valisammagari (8 overs, 3 maidens, 16 runs, 1 wicket), Ali Sheikh (10 overs, 29 runs, 3 wickets) Abhimanyu Poswal (7 overs, 34 runs, 1 wicket) and Sahibullah Mohammad Gulab (6 overs, 35 runs) contributing to keep the run rate down in the chase and take ten wickets.
Colts vs West Zone Blues
The Colts got a great start from their top order, and kept their foot on the gas from there. Rishi Shimpi (40 from 85) and Slade Van Staden partnered for 121 runs for the second wicket, before Yashahwi Gautom (3 overs, 24 runs, 1 wicket) dismissed Shimpi in the 28th over. Rishi Ramesh (46 runs from 48 balls) picked things up from there 95 more runs with Van Staden before being bowled by off spinner Sahil Kancherla (9 overs, 67 runs, 3 wickets) in the 42nd over. Two overs later, Van Staden himself fell to the Seattle off-spinner for 120 runs off of 124 balls. Thanks to Van Staden’s century, the Colts were 246/4 with six overs to go.
Colts, now in a position to bat aggressively, stacked up the runs from there, as Aarnav Iyer (21 runs not out from 15), Nihal Desai (15 from 7), Aman Rao (24 from 15) and Gautham Ravindran (10 runs not out from 6) stayed on script and slogged the Colts to 310/6 at the end of 50.
Andrew Daluwatte (9 overs, 55 runs, 1 wicket), and Ayan Desai (7 overs, 1 maiden, 30 runs, 1 wicket) joined Kancherla and Gautom in the wickets for the Blues, while Aakashveer Saini bowled an economical 10 overs for 47 runs.
The Blues never got a start in the chase, and featured no notable partnerships until their 8th wicket stand of 56 runs from the 21st over through the 33rd between Aksha Shah (21 from 38) and Andrew Daluwatte (48 from 63), which took them to 133-8. Two overs they were all out for 135.
Colts bowlers were dangerous and energetic throughout the innings, with Pratham Kataria (3 overs, 1 maiden, 5 runs, 3 wickets) taking out the Blues biggest scorer. Hisham Ali (7 overs, 37 runs, 2 wickets) at times looked overpowering, and Rishi Shimpi (6 overs, 26 runs) took two wickets as well. Leg break bowler Gautham Ravindran (7 overs, 2 maidens, 27 runs, 2 wickets) made his mark early in his tournament debut as well. Rishi Ramesh added a wicket in his lone over, and Nihal Desai conceded 22 from his five overs.
Midwest Zone vs West Zone Reds
The Midwest Zone, batting first, were no match today for the West Zone Reds. Tejas Vishal and Kevin Philip topped the scoring, each with only 17 runs, and the largest partnership of the game was a mere 29 runs by Philip and Arnav Jhamb (11 from 29) for the first wicket of the innings. By the 36th over, the Midwest were all out for 100.
Sanjay Krishnamurthi kept his place as the tournament’s leading bowler, going 6.5 overs, with one maiden, allowing only eleven runs and taking four wickets. Dev Thadani continued his economical trend, going 9 overs, with one maiden, for only 25 runs and a wicket. Samson Bhatti took two wickets in his five overs with a maiden, conceding 17 runs. Vinay Baid (4 overs, 15 runs, 1 wicket) added a wicket, and Ajay Immadi (6 overs, 2 maidens, 9 runs, 1 wicket) was impenetrable with a 1.5 economy.
The Reds chase started out well, with Kanish Bhalla (37 runs from 53 balls) and Rajat Sood (21 runs from 33 balls) partnering for 58. Sanjay Krishnamurthi, considered one of the top batsmen in the country, was bowled for a duck by Munn Patel (6 overs, 1 maiden, 25 runs, 1 wicket), and Sood was runout two overs later to put the Reds at 65-3. The Reds would suffer no further loss, as Rahul Jariwala (11 not out from 24), and Tuesday’s hero Skanda Rohit Sharma (24 not out from 17) cruised across the finish line to win inside of 22 overs by seven wickets.
Thursday will feature only one game, with the West Zone Blues facing the Mid-Atlantic Zone. The game has tournament implications for the Mid-Atlantic Zone, who will advance to the Championship game against the Group B winners with a win. Should Mid-Atlantic lose, the door will be open for either the Colts or the South Zone on Friday when the two 1-1 teams match up in the final day of group play.
The entirety of Group B has off on Thursday, meaning that all four teams play on Friday, with East Zone facing Midwest Zone to determine the bottom two spots in the Group B table, and West Zone Reds battling the South West Zone for the top spot in the group and a right to play the Group A winners in the Championship Final.
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