By Rahul Sharma
Perfect clear skies, 80 degrees and 10 MPH N-E winds was the weather at the Bolingbrook Premier League (BPL) stadium in Bolingbrook, IL.
The turf wicket and outfield was meticulously prepared as Northern Gymkhana (NG) took on Chicago United (CU) in the Pepsi Cup 30/30 Finals. It was Chicago United’s third consecutive appearance in the finals.
Chicago United won the toss and elected to field. Northern Gym openers, Saad Bangush and Salman Ahmed faced CU pace duo of Murtaza Vohra and Ahmed Askari. Murtaza with his first class experience in India troubled the batsmen and picked up a wicket in the very first over.
At the other end, Askari demonstrated his experience with smart and quick bowling. In his first over he sent back Shaheer Hassan via LBW route. At 18/3 in 5 overs, NG was looked stabilized with Shayan Ali and Najam Bakshi.
However, Koti Vanga’s pace and Niraj Patel’s spin limited the runs. Najam’s 27 runs contributed well to NG’s total of 79 all out in 27 overs. Koti wrapped up his spell with an impressive 6-0-10-4.
CU opened their batting with in-form Yaseen Bahmaid and Abhijit Joshi. Strategically NG in their first five overs engaged four bowlers with Yaseen batting aggressively. In the 6th over, Najam picked up two quick wickets to dismiss Abhijit and Donieke at 36 runs. Former U19, IPL and India ‘A’ player, Niraj Patel joined Yaseen. Left arm spinner Abir Chippa and Najam spun the ball well to trouble the batsmen. Abir bowled the dangerous batsmen Yaseen out, putting Chicago United to reset the batting lineup with Hasan Bemat in.
With the quick fall of Hasan in the 10th over CU was 49/4 pulling CU skipper Sami Khan (former Hyderabad and Vizzy captain) into bat. Najam and Abir were impressive with their line, length and pace variation. This was a delight to watch as they were equally challenged with the experienced batsmen at the wicket and a few more to come. Chicago United chased it down the total in 15 overs with six wickets in hand!
Koti Vanga earned the ‘Man of the Match’. Sohaib Khan of Incredibles and Abir Chippa of Northern Gymkhana topped the charts for batting and bowling respectively for the Pepsi Cup 30/30 series. Thank you to all our players, families and fans for your support thru the 30/30 series.