By Peter Della Penna
Thunderbird School of Global Management (T-birds) secured a win over USC on Wednesday in the first match of the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship on the artificial wickets outside the stadium at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Fla. Auburn also notched a victory in a rain-interrupted match over George Washington.
“Right now, I think people are pumped up,” said T-birds captain Sudeep Misra after his team’s victory. “We’re gonna win every single match we’re gonna play.”
USC won the toss and elected to bat first in overcast and wet conditions getting off to a very strong start but the T-birds fought back with wickets in the middle overs to restrict the Trojan batting lineup. USC was still hopeful of posting around 140 but due to the nature of the tournament rules, which do not follow ICC guidelines, they were not able to make a final push as their innings was called after 18 overs and they finished on 115 for 8.
“They had a fantastic start so we were thinking of wrapping them up within 125 or something and we were partly successful,” said Misra. “We got them for 115 runs. But at the same time, when they started they were getting some boundaries because there was some sloppy fielding I would say from outside and the ball was swinging a lot. It was different than our conditions back in Arizona. It’s way too dry. It doesn’t swing at all and right here it was overcast and the ball will swing so it was difficult for the bowlers to control it.”
According to the tournament rules, each innings can not take longer than 80 minutes, regardless of injury stoppages or stalling by the team in the field. As a result, USC’s plan to hit out in the final few overs was negated and they finished on 115 for 8 in 18.
“The last momentum, the last push we usually give towards the end of the innings, we couldn’t give that because our batsmen weren’t aware,” said Tarun Sandhu, USC vice-captain. The target was changed to 116 off 17 overs after a decision was made that T-birds should be penalized with 1 over overall and 1 over deduction of Poweplay.
USC got off to a fantastic start in the field as Sandhu’s pace claimed two wickets in the first over, including one on the first ball of the innings, to put T-birds in a big hole. However, number four batsman Nimish Jalan dug in at the crease and dug his team out of trouble with a very solid 49 to top score for T-birds.
“I just wanted to stay in the crease and ensure that I see through the first six overs and see the new ball and that was the plan,” said Jalan.
T-birds were 99 for 6 in 15 overs, needing 17 to win, when the match was called after 80 minutes of time had elapsed for the second innings. According to the tournament rules, the winner in this situation is decided on net run rate, not Duckworth/Lewis Method, and T-birds were declared the winner based on a better run rate.
In the words of Sandhu: “In the entire history that we’ve been playing, we’ve never faced this kind of situation. We always play our 20 overs and that’s how we plan it out. If you look at it, our main bowlers, they still had on over up their sleeve because we were waiting to use them right at the death. But saying that, I would still give all credit [to T-birds]. I think they batted well. Whatever the conditions I think their batsmen, a couple of those guys got stuck in and they played really well.”
In the second match of the day, Auburn blitzed the George Washington bowlers and capitalized on some poor fielding to run up 141 for 1 in 15 overs before time was called on their innings. In reply, GWU was 35 for 3 in 7.1 overs when the umpires took the players off the field as the showers at the ground became stronger and fielding became dangerous. Under the tournament rules, the match becomes official if at least six overs are completed so Auburn was declared the winner, way ahead on net run rate. Auburn captain Naveen Thiagarajan opened the innings and top-scored with 49 not out.
The other three games on Wednesday, College of Wooster vs. Minnesota, University of West Indies vs. South Florida, and University of Miami vs. Thunderbird, were washed out.
Eleven matches are scheduled for Thursday to be split between Central Broward Regional Park’s artificial wicket fields and the artificial and natural turf wickets at Brian Piccolo Park in nearby Cooper City. York College and University of Pennsylvania are scheduled to play the morning match on the natural turf wicket at Brian Piccolo Park while USC will face University of Miami (Fla.) in the afternoon contest.