The 11th US Open turned out to be an entertaining tournament with the unpredictable weather hitting Florida with inconsistent rain throughout its duration; having 28 teams participating this year in a span of 4 days seemed to be a great challenge for CCUSA with 70% of rain predicted the same week. However, CCUSA pulled off this tournament by braving the storm and organizing the matches as planned.
Following were the 28 teams that took part in the tournament:
The matches were held in 7 different cricket grounds including the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium and two of its surrounding cricket fields, MAQ Cricket Stadium, Brian Piccolo Park – Turf, Brian Piccolo Park –North, Brian Piccolo Park- South, respectively.
The opening ceremony of the tournament was held on December 19th, 2019 at the Central Broward County Park Stadium, Florida with Bianca Sperduti gracing the occasion with the US national anthem in her highly impressive vocals. The ceremony further progressed with key notes by the vice chairman Mr. Mohammad Amin Markatia and CFO, Ms. Samantha Qureshi. Ali Khan Tareen, the co-owner of Multan Sultans, a PSL franchise, was also invited for a few words and spoke about the partnership with CCUSA for talent development where CCUSA’s US All Stars team is set to visit Pakistan in February 2020 to play a couple of exhibition matches. This partnership is set to boost cricket development in USA and Pakistan and subsequently the relations between the two countries through the sport.
Despite the continuous rain in Florida on the first day of the tournament: December 19th, a total of 10 games were played. The tournament had highly renowned players from all over the world participating in different teams, to name a few: Umar Gul, Sohaib Maqsood, Hamad Azam, Sohail Khan from Pakistan and Ian Cockbain from England among others.
The first quarterfinal was played between Somerset Cavaliersand California Kings which was won by Somerset by 6 wickets. The match was pushed back to 15 overs due to the weather conditions. Somerset had won the toss and chose to field first restricting California Kings to 112 and successfully chasing the target in 9.3 overs. Ravi Singh, from California Kings, played a commanding knock as an opener by making 51 runs off just 23 balls with four 4s and four 6s. William Perkins also added 28 off just 24 balls. However, Somerset turned out to be more dominating in batting as they completed the target with the help of Kennar Lewis who scored 29 runs off 13 balls with 3 4s and 2 6s. This was supported by fine innings played by Xavier Marshall who bagged 36 off just 20 balls including 4 4s and 2 6s and Sohaib Maqsood who scored 24 off 8 balls with a strike rate of 300.
The second semifinal was played between Multan Sultans-US All Stars team and Smashers. MS-USAS team won the toss and chose to bat first setting up a whopping target of 174 in 15 overs that turned out to be too much for smashers and they were 9 wickets down by scoring only 73 runs in 15 overs. The star of the day was Zeeshan Ashraf, who is a valuable player for Multan Sultans and features in the Pakistan Super League; he scored a massive 86 off 42 balls with 8 huge 6s and 5 fine 4s. The team’s batting was also supported by Jashkaran Malothra, a fine hitter of the ball, who clinched 30 runs off just 17 balls with 1 four and 3 sixes.
Further, the fourth quarterfinal saw the clash of Atlanta Fire vs Punjab CC. Punjab CC won the toss and chose to bat first. They managed to set up a modest target of 88 runs which was smoothly chased by Atanta Fire in just 7.5 overs with the loss of 2 wickets mainly. The match featured big inning by Damian Ebanks who scored 67 runs off 26 balls with 5 fours and 6 sixes for Atlanta Fire.
The fourth quarterfinal had Faislabad Falcons face off Houston Stars, both teams had a great bunch of Pakistani talent with the likes of Ruman Raees, Umar Gul, Sohail Khan and Hammad Azam. Winning the toss first, Houston Stats chose to field first and restricted Faislabad Falcons to just 110 in 15 overs. The target did not seem to be troublesome as Houston Stars chased it in 13.2 overs with the loss of 5 wickets. Adnan Haroon from Houston Stars played a fine knock of 32 runs off 20 balls as an opener. He was well supported by Hammad Azam who managed to score an impressive 25 off 12 balls with 3 massive sixes.
The weather still did not seem to settle in as rain continued to interrupt play forcing the semifinal matches to be reduced to 10 overs. The first semifinal featured Somerset Cavaliers and Houston Stars. Unexpectedly, the star studded Houston Stars only managed to score 49 in 10 overs which was easily chased by Somerset in just 4 overs with the loss of 1 wicket. Kennar Lewis and Hemraj Chandrapaul, both added 19 runs of 8 balls to help their team qualify for the final of 11th US Open T-20 cricket tournament.
Whereas, the second semifinal featured another star studded team Multan Sultans- US All Stars who played against Atlanta Fire. MS-UAS restricted Atlanta Fire to 106 in 10 overs which seemed pretty doable for them but to everyone’s surprise, Atlanta Fire crushed MS- UAS who managed only 98 runs with the loss of 6 wickets in 10 overs. Damian Ebanks proved his mettle again by scoring 34 runs off 24 balls. Moreover, Ricardo Powell played an instrumental role by scoring 43 runs off 17 balls with a strike rate of 252.94. On the other hand, Zeeshan Ashraf, Rizwan Cheema and Javelle Glenn managed scores of 29, 20 and 24 but still could not clinch the victory for their team.
The final match of 11th US Open T-20 cricket tournament featured Somerset Cavaliers and Atlanta Fire where Atlanta Fire won the toss and chose to bat first. They set up a target of 104 runs with the loss of 8 wickets in 15 overs which was dominantly chased by Somerset in 10.1 overs with the loss of no wicket. The good performers for Atlanta Fire were Raunaq Sharma, Ricardo Powell and Saiba Batoosing who managed the scored of 22, 24 and 23. Whereas, for Somerset, the opening pair of Kennar Lewis and Hemraj Chandrapaul cruised their team to victory by scoring a dominat 53 each with the strike rate of 165.63 and 182.76.
Despite the unpredictable weather, CCUSA managed to organize an exciting cricket tournament that is set to grow only stronger by each passing year.