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2017 WRIL and WCIL champions

09/05/2017POSTED BY Anuj Patel

2017 WRIL and WCIL champions

NCCA Team won the championships of 2017 Wester Regional Inter league and 2017 West Coast Inter league

President’s Tournament Report:

Dear Community,

Thanks to our Selection Committee in appointing a new look young squad for NCCA Representative Squad of 20 players.
NCCA Team started the representative tournament journey with West Coast Inter League (WCIL) which involved NCCA, BACA and SCA where all 3 leagues jointly hosted 3 different days of T20 tournament involving playing round robin format. NCCA team superbly led by Saqib Saleem won the 2017 WCIL championship by winning 5 out of total 6 games.

Now the focus was on our plan for Western Regional Inter League (WRIL) tournament over the Labor Day weekend at Woodley fields where NCCA, SCCA, NWCL, Colorado cricket league, Arizona Cricket Association and Utah cricket association were going to participate.
Leading up to the tournament, we were struck with issues of some of the best members of original 20 members of squad not being available. Selectors jumped in quickly to include Natwar Agrawal as the 14th member to join our squad. In the absence of Saqib Saleem, responsibility of leading the team was in very capable hands of Pranay Suri.

Best part of this young team was that they believed in each other, always supported each other, understood their own roles and chipped in at right time when the team was in trouble by creating opportunities to put opposition under pressure. Pranay Suri led the team with strategical but calm thinking by keeping the team focused on the only goal which was to return home with championship. Lots of team building and team meetings happened where everyone listened and expressed their views on how to get only better by learning from mistakes.

Game-1: Against Arizona
NCCA chose to bat after winning the toss. Very early on there was a bad call by Karan for a non-existent second run resulted in him being run-out and followed by Shiva and Kiran's quick wickets who couldn't capitalize after getting some start while Navanpreet was going berserk at the other end. After mini-collapse of 59/4, Skipper Pranay and Arshdeep played very sensible knocks and later on started accelerating to get NCCA to 133 runs score which was quite defendable with our bowling attack. Arizona team gave some glimpses of quality while chasing but NCCA bowlers were always on top with regular wickets. Pranay was his usual best in not only choking runs but grabbing 3 wickets for 7 runs. Tariq leaked some runs towards end but he also grabbed 3 wkts at the same time. Arshdeep and Bhavesh left arm spin duo claimed other 3 wkts with disciplined bowling to get Arizona team bowled out for 99 runs.

Game-2: Against Utah
Some changes were made to squad to give rest to few players and NCCA played this game with authority by thumping 178 runs against Utah bowling. Navanpreet and Natwar provided excellent start and later on Kiran continued with anchor role while Karan just blasted ball out of park in different corners of the ground. Some of the sixes easily cleared 110 yards. Naveen played a very handy cameo towards the end with 25 off 14 balls. None of the Utah batsmen could score further than 14 runs. NCCA got one run out by Karan in Dhoni Style of deflecting ball to stumps plus all 3 spinners (Pranay, Arshi, Bhavesh) grabbing 3 wkts a piece, Utah team was bowled out for 76 runs. Utah is the youngest league (3-4 years in existence) in the tournament but they definitely seemed to have some good talent. They were still learning to adjust to turf wickets. Very next day they almost chased down SCCA but in the end were one run short in a heart-breaking loss.

NCCA finished at the top of the table on day one.

Game-3: Against Colorado
With overcast condition with humidity, Colorado won the toss and chose to bat. NCCA had a very high confidence which suddenly started disappearing with some careless shot selection by top 6 resulted in 40/6 in 8+ overs. Captain cool Pranay steadied the ship but Sukhwant Sekhon a.k.a. Gabbar stole the show with a brisk but sensible 57 runs of 46 balls to get NCCA to a defendable total of 128 runs. Gabbar and Pranay provided a dream start in derailing Colorado's strong batting line up. Gabbar's stats were 4-0-12-2 while Pranay's stats were 4-1-14-4 and Colorado had 6 down for around 30 runs. Lower order decided to go for counter attack and scored at healthy run rate against Arshdeep, Arshpreet and Bhavesh but NCCA bowled/fielded smartly to keep increasing the asking rate to get Colorado all out for 114 runs.

Game-4: Against NWCL
Game was against one of the strongest T20 team of NWCL who had already beaten SCCA, Arizona and Colorado with good margins. In my eyes NWCL was the team to beat in this tournament which had deep batting line-up. Gabbar once again bowler really well and took out 3 of the best batsman to get momentum in NCCA favor. Bowling and fielding was superb which helped in getting NWCL restricted to only 113 runs. At half time it looked like game was in NCCA's hand but NWCL bowled with really good accuracy and intent to restrict NCCA down to only 99 runs to win the game. There were several mistakes from NCCA top order like playing too many dot balls early on and leaving too much asking rate for lower order in the 90+ yards boundary of Wong Field. Dilpreet(26 runs) and Kiran (25 runs) were the only ones looking good but rest crumbled against pressure.

NCCA finished second in the points table at the end of Day 2 which made NCCA vs SCCA game as virtual semi-final.

Game-5: Against SCCA
It was a desperate situation for both the teams and nothing less than a victory would get them into the final of the tournament. There was some overnight rain left outfield wet and slow (pitches were covered). SCCA won the toss and to NCCA's surprise SCCA chose to bat. NCCA would have for sure bowled upon winning the toss even though our forte was defending the total. SCCA had a strong team but their start was poor due to excellent bowling from none other than Gabbar and Pranay. Arshdeep took a prize wicket of Timil Patel (who tried to reverse sweep ) to restrict SCCA to 57/5 by half time. Due to poor fielding and giving a life to Mohammad Sadiq around total of 82 in 15th over, he took the matter in his hands and started slogging towards last 4 overs resulting in getting SCCA to a respectable total of 122. Timil came to open the bowling and wasted no time by grabbing Navanpreet's wicket in very first over of match. Dilpreet and Natwar gave a very positive start with Natwar playing sensible innings and Dilpreet was attacking. SCCA bowlers had different ideas plus our batsman also played some poor strokes caused NCCA in troubled state at 63/6 in 12 overs. Once again our MVP Gabbar came to rescue and scored 40 not out off 24 balls to take us home. Karan did the damage towards end by hitting quick 16 runs. NCCA chased down the total in 18.4 overs.

Final Match: Against NWCL
Once again NCCA team was up against NWCL who entered the final unbeaten. NWCL won the toss and chose to bat. Once again Gabbar and Pranay delivered by taking first 3 wickets for mere 8 runs. Deepak, Abir and Manu kept hitting their way to take NWCL to a very good total of 128 runs which once looked like they may barely cross 100 runs. Pranay was his usual economical best while Abhi bowler really well to restrict the runflow. Chasing 128 in the final against NWCL was not going to be easy but NCCA team decided to bat positive to avoid the mistakes made in prior game against same opponent. Both Dilpreet and Natwar provided a dream start by getting 40+ runs of 4 overs. Then Natwar continued the partnership with Arshi to take NCCA to 72 runs at half time. Needing 57 runs off last 60 balls with 8 wickets in hand one would say NCCA bagged this game but NWCL came out all guns firing in second part and choked NCCA batsman to increase required run-rate to almost 10. NCCA team had a plan of accelerating in last 4 overs only. NWCL was one regular bowler short due to Srini Santhnam being injured in prior game. NWCL bowled out their all 4 frontline bowlers in first 16 overs resulting in remaining 4 overs to be bowled by bowler no.5 and no.6. NCCA needing 38 runs of last 24 balls. Gabbar once again hit a six to increase the temp but was foxed by Adeel to give a major blow to NCCA. Pranay and Karan took over. Karan hit one six and Pranay hit one more to bring equation down to 5 runs of 7 ball. Pranay threw his wicket in trying to finish off in penultimate over. Abhi walked in and scored a necessary single to bring Karan on strike. Karan hit a massive six to make NCCA the champions of 2017 Sheikh Kamal Wester Regional Inter league tournament. All the NCCA players, support staff and fans erupted with joy.

Special Kudos to our former president Ganesh Sanap in being with the team, cheering them, giving very sensible advice and most importantly being phenomenal in keeping cricketing community engaged with live streaming and commentary of first five games while NCCA was batting, posting updates and pictures while NCCA was chasing. I also want to give very special shout out for a very young 10 year old SCCA cricketer Christopher David (Son of the SCCA umpire Praveen David) who had unlimited energy to volunteer and do a commentary throughout the game plus taking interviews of folks. Can't believe how much talent and knowledge of the game he has at such a young age.

Special thanks to Atul Rai, Nazim Shirazi and whole of SCCA execs, board of directors and volunteers in making this tournament a huge success with great organization. Rodney and his team made sure to have unlimited supply of cold water and ice throughout the tournament in extreme heat. Ground maintenance staff was amazing in keeping everything game ready. Great show by umpires in handling games in professional manner.
Shout out for all the teams who participated and played with great spirit. I didn't even hear about a remote occurrence of any banter or disrespectful act by anyone which was a feather on the cap for such a greatly organized tournament.

NWCL team was the team to beat in tournament. A new look side with lots of new batting talent and bowling wise they were always competitive but came up with two new very good spinners. Hats off to you guys in the way you performed through the tournament. Adeel Syed is an amazing talent to have and rightly so he was the best batsman of the tournament.

SCCA team must have felt heartbroken with very narrow loss to NCCA but great bunch of talent who performed really well. Mohammad Zaid was the only batsman who scored a century in tournament.

Colorado guys were amazing bunch of talent with batting and also decent bowling attack. If the games were on matting wickets then I am sure they would have done major upsets.

Utah team had some good talent who played with heart and really great spirit. Great job Shehzad (former NCCA member) for bringing cricket together over there. A young team who will for sure get better and better.

Arizona team had some quality all-rounders but were unfortunate in not being able to close off couple of games properly.
Great job by CricClubs team in setting up a WRIL portal in no time and in providing timely stats. Hats off to Vikas Korde as usual who kept other cricketing communities in USA informed about what was going on in this tournament.

What a talent our NCCA team had. Oh Boy.. Whoever I met at the tournament, gave thumbs up to our boys. They all said that our team looked really fit and was an outstanding fielding unit with best bowling side of the tournament. The highest total conceded by our bowling unit was 128 runs (in the final) while all other teams ended up conceding 150+ runs at least once.

Sukhwant Sekhon became the MVP of the tournament and has always been a go-to-man whenever team was in any trouble. Pranay was the best bowler of the tournament and as usual also the most economical bowler who never gave any room to batsmen to score and also picked up prize wickets when it mattered. Karan became the best wicket keeper (10 scalps) and filled in for a role of power hitter for the side to finish off tight chases. Bowling department was strong with spin trio of Pranay, Bhavesh and Arshdeep with two more good spin bowlers (Dilpreet and Abhi) in reserve to overcome any tough situations. Gabbar our main opening bowler couple with Tariq and Arshpreet were great in picking up wickets at right time. Navanpreet, Naveen and Dilpreet were our attacking opening batting option with some good top-2-middle over batsman in Kiran, Arshdeep, Natwar (who eventually ended up opening when needed), ShivaPranayGabbarAbhi and ArshpreetNaveen is our one of the best wicketkeeper in Elite division and another attacking opening batsman. It was a great headache to have for the team management on which three to sit out every game.

How can we forget to thank all of our NCCA community members who followed our Final match and cheered our winning moments live on Facebook streaming. Not sure how many chewed up their nails and how many missed heart beats and how many were giving remote coaching coupled with some angry moments as they couldn't bear our team loosing after playing such superbly.

This victory will stay in memory for a long time and I am pretty sure that this team will bring home many more championships.

Go NCCA!!!

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