by Dyon Ravello
On Sunday April 8th 2013, Americas Cricket Academy rallied for two wins at 80th Street Canarsie. ACA met Wanderers in the morning’s first round encounter. Batting first the Academy got off to an aggressive start with openers Rafeez Nazeer and Michael Noble taking 27 runs off the first three overs. Nazeer looking to continue in the same vein struck seamer Francis Mendonza to the boundary, before gifting a simple catch to Mark Audain at point, 32/1 Nazeer 14(12) . Noble was joined by ACA skipper Sean Stanislaus as they added 40 odd for the second wicket partnership. Noble fell caught at the wicket off Andre Hooper for 17, 78/2 after 12 overs.
Stanislaus found an able partner in Andre Kirton as they took took aliking for the Wanderers attack. Stanislaus struck a boundary and a six as he brought up his half century off 53 deliveries. As Stanislaus provided the platform, Kirton cashed in for four sixes and three boundaries, as he remained unbeaten on 47 off 21 deliveries at an astounding strike rate of 223.81. Stanislaus was caught on the long on boundary of Rawle Jackman scoring 59 of 60. Jackman got some consolation as Ravello was stumped off the last delivery. The Academy side closed on 164/4 led by Stanislaus and Kirton. Bowling for Wanderers Jackman had 2/20, Mendonza 1/21, Hooper 1/40, Leon Hyde 0/20, and Mark Audain 0/28.
In reply Wanderers suffered an early setback as Stanislaus caught Audain off Greg Robinson at midwicket. Robinson continued to make inroads as he had the dangerous Jacob Emmanuel caught at wide long on by Pranshant Nair. Emmanuel disconsolate with his dismissal, walked to the position where he had being caught, disputing whether Nair had taken the caught within the ropes. Andre Hooper failed to bail his side out, as Robinson trapped him leg before playing back. Mendonza seemed to be the last hope, but he fell to Robinson caught Sameet Khawaja at mid off to leave the Wanderers reeling with four wickets down. Robinson completed his quota of four overs with as many wickets.
Prashant Nair got into the act with his leg breaks as he picked with three wickets to put Wanderers out of their misery. Andre Kirton sneered two scalps as Noble had one wicket. Wanderers 81 all out with 4.5 over unused. ACA completed a convincing 83 run victory to book a quarterfinal place against Brooklyn Knights.
Following the luncheon interval, ACA returned to contest the Knights in the afternoon’s card. Brooklyn Knights won the toss and elected to bat in the chilling wind bellowing in a Northeasterly direction. Stanislaus, struck with the third delivery as Nabeel was caught by Khawaja at mid off for no score. Amir and Kashif stared off three testing over from Stanislaus and Robinson, to cash in on the last two overs of the mandatory Power Play. Amir stroking three boundaries to Wide Long on to loosen the stranglehold. The pair added 56 (45) runs for the second wicket before Kashif held out to Hugh Craig on the Long on boundary for 27, Nair the bowler 56/2 at 7.5 overs.
Amir was joined by Owais, as they set about laying the foundation for a possible late innings assault. The third wicket partnership yielded 22 off 29 deliveries, which included a maiden over from Noble. Noble broke the stand getting Amir, (32) caught at the wicket, as he attempted run one down to third man. Ryan Sukhdeo effected the dissmissal, Knights 79/3 after 13 overs. Owais (24) took advantage of some looseners from Craig, scoring two boundaries and a six to take 16 off the 14th overs. Only three run came off the 15th overs as Noble continued his pinpoint bowling, stiffling the Knights’ progress 103/3.
The last five overs resulted in 32 runs as six wickets fell at the depth. The Academy bowlers holding off any late innings blitz. Noble was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4/1/19/3, Nair had 4/0/21/2, Kirton 4/0/27/2, and Stanislaus 3/0/18/1 were among the wickets.
Set 136 at 6.80 runs per over, ACA kept the opening pair from game one unchanged, with Nazeer and Noble. The pair feared much better than they did against Wanderers. They combine to score 42 during the power play. Nazeer played some deft drive through the covers as Noble found the long on boundary with exquisite timing. Nazeer followed up a square drive for four with a single to bring up the 50 run partnership off 6.5 overs. After the solid start Noble began to play with more freedom, as the Academy looked to take the match away from the Knights. At the other end Nazeer seemed starved due to lack of rotation as he tried to capitalize on a brilliant start. Nazeer 33 (26) lost his way stumped off Nafees, one down for 73 after 10.4 overs.
Nazeer was replaces by Stanislaus who signaled his intent stroking a boundary and a six of Bilal Shahid in the 12th over. The hundred came up after 13.1 overs as Noble pushed on with a boundary and a maximum of his own off Amir to bring up is fifty. Stanislaus 18 (10) suffered the same faith as Nazeer, with similar symptoms, Nafees getting his man stumped, 121/2 in 15 overs. Noble in free flowing fashion punished Shahid with a six over midwicket, and then followed two consecutive boundaries. Shahid had the consolation of Noble’s wicket, caught for 78 (48) at a strike rate of 162.50. Americas Cricket Academy capitalizing on a comprehensive batting display to win by seven wickets, to advance to the semifinals.
Across town, Pak Stallions completed the quarterfinal card as they got the better of K.R. Playing against Punjab; Stallions were on point restricting their opponents to 117 all out. That total proved to be a competitive one as Stallions fell seven runs short. Punjab held their nerve to book a semifinal meeting with the Academy. Challengers scored 114 against Warriors, as 110 seemed to be a dark total on at Marine Park. Warriors like Stallions 110 all out to lose by a mere four runs, to be eliminated. Panthers continued their appetite for runs as the piled up 198/3. Jazba provided a challenge in getting to 171, but still 27 runs in arrears.
Asia Tribune T20 excitement continues on Saturday, April 13th from 10 am with all the action at Marine Park. In game one Panthers play Challengers in a rematch of the 2012 Millat T20 Final. At 2 pm Punjab meet the dark horses Americas Cricket Academy. The Competition ends on Sunday, April 14 with the Grand Finale and presentation ceremony from High Noon, with live commentary on site.