Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Ice-cool Deonarine takes Silicon Valley Strikers to maiden Minor League Cricket title. After a strong show by the bowlers led by Kulvinder Singh's 3 for 32, Strikers overhauled the target of 142 with 11 balls to spare (Pic courtesy Minor League Cricket)
After a strong show by the bowlers led by Kulvinder Singh's 3 for 32, Strikers overhauled the target of 142 with 11 balls to spare (Pic courtesy Minor League Cricket)
Former West Indies batsman Narsingh Deonarine's ice-cool half century helped the Silicon Valley Strikers write themselves into the record books by clinching the first ever Minor League Cricket (MiLC) title. Having defeated a much more fancied Golden State Grizzlies in the semifinals by 33 runs, the Strikers ended the New Jersey Stallions' six-match winning streak in a similarly comprehensive fashion in the final. After a strong show by the bowlers led by Kulvinder Singh's 3 for 32, Strikers overhauled the target of 142 with 11 balls to spare.
Flying start for Stallions
The Stallions scored a mere 32 runs in the powerplay in their semifinal clash against the Titans Redressing but this time Stallions openers Raymond Ramrattan and Dominique Rikhi strode out with intent. Ramrattan launched Saurabh Netravalkar over mid-off for a six in the first over of the game as Rikhi imperiously lofted Kulvinder for a yet another straight six. Roshon Primus bounced out Ramrattan in the 4th over but teenage sensation Sai Teja Mukkamalla came out with an objective to swing freely through the line on what looked like a placid pitch. Quickly getting into the act, Mukkamalla caressed one through extra cover off Abhishek Paradkar and clobbered the next delivery over long-on for a massive six. The Stallions ended the powerplay on a high at 52 for 1 after Rikhi clipped one off his legs over the long leg fence.
Rikhi and Mukkamalla steered the innings forward with equal gusto after the powerplay. The Stallions reached 85 without any further damage at the halfway stage of the game. Fresh from making his USA debut in Oman, Rikhi looked set to play the longer innings while the fluency of Mukkamalla handed the Stallions a firm grip over the proceedings. With the explosive Rovman Powell still waiting in the hut, signs looked ominous for the Strikers.
Strikers apply the choke
Captain Unmukt Chand reintroduced the left arm pacer Kulvinder in the 12th over. Kulvinder produced immediate results as he went past Mukkamalla's defences with a one that snarled a long way into the right hander. Rikhi followed him back to the pavilion in the next over after off spinner Pranay Suri induced an outside edge out of him. Suri struck again within the space of four deliveries after three consecutive dots got the better of the new man Hiren Patel.
The Stallions were precariously placed at 107 for 5 at the end of the 16th over pinning high hopes on late Powell onslaught to carry them through. Netravalkar ensured otherwise as he snared Powell in the 17th over, inciting a mindless heave over cow corner. The Strikers bowlers poked regular holes throughout the latter part of the Stallions innings, curtailing them to a below par 141 in 20 overs.
Eventful batting powerplay for Strikers
Rahul Jariwala, staying true to his role throughout the season, tried to go hell for leather right from the word go. He got the innings kicking for the Strikers with a wild swat over mid-off. He collected another boundary off Justin Dill with a loosely connected aerial drive. He went onto ride his luck with yet another boundary that flew off his top edge off an attempted pull shot. Sachin Mylavarapu ended Jariwala's sojourn as he flashed a shortish ball straight to point. Unmukt Chand, devoid of strike for the majority of Jariwala's stay at the wicket, showcased his class with a string of boundaries against Rovman Powell. Chand got 14 off Powell with a crunching pull for six, a majestic six over deep extra cover and a boundary over mid-on. Chand however went for one too many as Powell redeemed himself on the penultimate delivery off the over after he skied one off a miscue. The Strikers were further thwarted with a witless run out of the experienced Shehan Jayasuriya. The Strikers ended the power play at 55 for 3 with the game in the balance.
The guiding light of Deonarine
Unlike the Stallions, Strikers bat deep with a mix of youth and experience right throughout the order. The triple strikes failed to impede their charge towards the target. Narsingh Deonarine ensured the Stallions did not wrestle back the initial momentum after a momentary slump. He got stuck into young leg spinner Ramrattan, hammering him over long-on for a six and carving one behind point for a boundary. Bringing all his experience into play Deonarine again waited for the right opportunity as he waited for yet another rookie to unleash upon. He muscled one over long leg while Primus, who ably played the second fiddle drilled a thumping drive over the cover boundary off Karan Patel in the 16th over. The over fetched 15 runs for Strikers as the equation boiled down to only 24 off 24 deliveries. With the Stallions shoulders now dropped, it only took 13 more deliveries for Deonarine and Primus to take the Strikers over the line.