by Dyon Ravello
In 2012 Americas Cricket Academy was born to the New York Cricketing fraternity. The Academy contested three tournaments in addition to hosting a Labor Day Invitational Twenty 20. AC Academy opened the season with the Millat T20 in Brooklyn. Grouped with Brooklyn Panthers and Pak America, the students were put to the test right at the start.
ACA faced Pak America on debut, and routed the opposition for 77. Hugo D’Oliviera’s 4/23, Hugh Craig 3/11 and Francis Mendonca 2/15 initiated a dream start. Openers Avinash Basdeo 30, and American National batsman Akeem Dodson 30, capped off a flawless start with an unbeaten 78 run stand in a mere 8 overs to post a 10 wicket win. On day two the Panthers were opening 2012 and the rookies needed something special on the day to topple the sleeping giant. Batting first this time around the Academy were limp as they could only muster 126/4. Pick of the bowlers a day earlier D’Oliviera notched 47 not out. The bowling against the Panthers was impotent as the Brooklynites ran out with a comfortable six wicket win. Nonetheless ACA advanced to the quaterfinals.
In the Millat knockout phase the Academy met Shaheen. Shaheen batted first and took advantage of indiscipline bowling to rack up 168/8. There were no big score from the Shaheen batsmen with only Jahanzib Alam 27 and Adnan 21. For the Academy Hugh Craig had 2/12 and D’Oliviera 2/32 were the pick of the bowlers. ACA feel six short allout for 162 with Kevin Fraser 47, Sean Stanislaus 23, Jawad Alam snared three wickets. A decent start for the fledgling club.
Off to the BBT20 ACA met Brooklyn Stars who batted first with Abrar Zafar stroking 54 and Asim 24, Stars 124 all out in 19 overs. D’Oliviera was again on the money with 4/22, Prashant Nair had 2/20, and Dellon Moffat 2/14. In response the Academy strode home on the back of 35 from Lawrence Shoy, and Michael Noble 34. Tahir had 2/17, Nafeez 2/23 and Abrar 1/26 bowling for the Stars. ACA five wicket winners on the day.
In game two ACA met Travel Treat knowing a win would eliminate the opponents and earn pole position in the group. Travel Treat batted first scoring a competitive 135. Only Zafar with 23 showed any resistance as Noble and Shoy pegged dismissals at regular intervals with four and two wickets respectively. Needing 30 run off 18 deliveries the student completed the victory with three balls to spare Rafique Nazeer with a matching 43 not out, and Malo Marshall 29. Umar and Asim had three and two wickets respectively for the Travelers.
Off to the second quarterfinal in as many tournaments ACA met the imposing Bedessee Destroyers. The Destroyers had chased down 181 to qualify after losing game one. Batting first the Academy were set back by damp conditions, scoring a paltry 111 their lowest total to date. Akeem Dodson 23, Jermaine Lawson 22, and D’Oliviera 21 all played cameos. For the Destroyers, Adam Sanford 2/14, Keon Lake 2/18 and Azurdeen Mohammed 2/24 limited the run flow.
What seemed like a pedestrian total did taking some getting, as Stanislaus struck 3/14 with Nair 2/19 to stem Destroyers at 73/8. A mix up at “Cow Corner of all places,” led to a crucial drop which literally cost ACA the match that was followed by another miss at long on to seal another quarterfinal exit for the Academy.
On to the Sixes, ACA opened the first sixes tournament against NY Centurion scoring a record 93/1 off just five overs. Troy Mars scored a tournament high 52 not out with American batsman Akeem Dodson stroking 34. Centurion did give the total a try getting to 63. A stellar start to the fanfare of instant Sixes cricket was short lived as Alex Amsterdam raced to the 31 require to retire as Liberty chased 67 set by the Academy. Only Akeem Dodson with 27 showed any impetus. Amsterdam who struck crucial blows with the ball returned with the bat thumping 33 which included sixes around the park. Michael Noble 22, remained unbeaten as Liberty ended the tournament as runners up. This time the Students were left on the sidelines at the semifinal stage.
A Fitting End to 2012
The season seemed done and dusted for the Academy, until Labor Day weekend. ACA met Punjab in the velloCricket Invitational T20. Punjab won the toss and batted first with Shahbaz scoring 60, and Junaid Alam 48 leading the charge to 163/8. Bowling for the Academy, Dino Cho Wee Nam 2/24 and Ata Khan 2/36 were the pick of the bowlers. As if the previous exits at quarterfinals and semifinal stages was not dishearten enough, their response began with five batsmen failing to trouble the scorers.
At 15/5 Jahanzib Alam and Sameet Khawaja combine and consolidated.The pair rotated the strike taking advantage of any loose opportunies to earn a boundary. Jahanzib was the aggressor as Khawaja played a superb sheet anchor role as the pair added 118 for the sixth wicket. Jahanzib fell six runs shy of a Twenty20 hundred as he lead the Academy to within sight of victory. Ravello joined Khawaja with a run a ball 30 needed. It seemed to be a change in the guard as Khawaja’s contribution of 33 was ended leaving Ravello to complete a deserving win, the skipper remained unbeaten on 26 to complete a hard fought two wicket victory. As the 2013 peeks over the horizon, Americas Cricket Academy will be keen to continue in the same vain as that famous min over Punjab.