By Donovan Matthews
Charlotte United Cricket Club (CUCC) fell at the semi-final hurdle in the Carolina Cricket League (CCL T20) competition for the second successive year when they went down by seven wickets to Carolina Panthers Cricket Club (CPCC) on Saturday at the Highway 218 ground.
At a venue that has proven to be a poor hunting ground for the 2017 division two champions they could only muster 158 for seven in their 20 overs after being asked to bat first. CPCC responded with 161 for three in 19.2 overs, winning with four deliveries to spare. CUCC’s cause wasn’t helped by the loss of opening bowler Walton Charles who was restricted to one over after injuring his back.
CUCC’s final score was due mainly to a topscore of 69 from captain Naqash Choudhery and 26 from Ashish Kohli, who posted 95 for the sixth wicket after their team slumped to 54 for five. Against some tight bowling from CPCC Choudhery only managed three fours and two sixes from 75 deliveries, while Kohli faced 27 balls and struck three boundaries. Of the other batsmen only opener Faisal Kashmiri who struck a 16-ball 17, with a six and a four, reached double figures against the three wickets each taken by Jigar Shah and Maulik Patel.
Without the services of Walton, CUCC were always going to struggle to defend their modest score, and although they fought valiantly an unbroken fourth wicket stand of 93 between Hemang Bhavsar and Sai Sai proved too much for them. Bhavsar finished on 63 and Sai on 30 for CPCC who went on to lose the final on Sunday to South Park Cricket Club (SPCC).
Zeeshan Rashid, Awais Khan and Qaisar Mehmood each claimed a wicket for CUCC who will now prepare for their entry into Division 1 which begins on May 5.