Atlanta Women's T20 Cricket Tournament

GWCA 10th Annual Women’s T20: A Reflective Success

John AaronNews July 10, 2023 admin

By John L. Aaron
The Georgia Women Cricket Association’s 10th Annual Atlanta Women’s T20 Cricket Tournament, held over this past Memorial Day Weekend in the Peach State, provided yet another opportunity for women cricketers in the USA to bring greater awareness of the sport and female participation to a sports-crazy nation.

Atlanta Pearls
Atlanta Pearls was crowned winner of the Georgia Women Cricket Association’s 10th Annual Atlanta Women’s T20 Cricket Tournament.

Hosted by the Georgia Women Cricket Association (GWCA) for the past decade, the tournament has attracted current and former Cricket West Indies (CWI) cricketers like Stefanie Taylor, Anisa Mohamed, Hayley Matthews, Shaquana Quintyne, Tremayne Smartt, and Stephanie Power, former captain, and wicketkeeper of CWI women’s team—also, national players from St. Lucia, Zimbabwe, Trinidad & Tobago, and the USA. The 2023 edition attracted players from Belize and Bermuda in the Caribbean despite USA Cricket not sanctioning the tournament.

Three teams competed for fun while allowing some aspiring female cricketers to shine and test their skills against local and international peers. Host team Atlanta Pearls, Belizean Royal Strikers, and Bermuda Triangle Gems locked curls while attracting a mix of local and international players for the championship title and bragging rights for the next year. From all reports, the holiday weekend tournament was a tremendous success in accomplishing its primary objective — providing a platform for aspirants while exposing the ghost genre of the sport.

Tournament founder, organizer, and coordinator Petal Samuels said, “This year, we had a lot of first-time players to leather ball cricket. Belize and Bermuda had a few softball players who made some excellent shots in the transitioning process. The player with the most sixes was Ashley Borges, a softball player from Bermuda.

Petal Samuels
Petal Samuels, tournament founder, organizer, and coordinator.

Overall, it was a great tournament. We made history by having an all-women Playing Control Team. GWCA continues to transcend the game of cricket, whereby all women have a fair chance to play.

Unfortunately, USA Cricket did not respond favorably to a request to sanction the tournament after GWCA appealed the organization’s sanctions policies. USA Cricket’s lack of involvement with this tournament will not daunt the spirit of GWCA’s continued efforts to provide a platform for women to play cricket.” She added, “We are indeed grateful to all the fans and supporters. Let us continue to join our heads, hearts, and hands for the development of women’s cricket.”

Atlanta Pearls vs. Belizean Royal Strikers
Atlanta Pearls won by nine wickets

Host Atlanta Pearls emerged as Tournament Champions defeating the Belizean Royal Strikers in the final— a 15 overs affair that saw the Pearls winning by nine wickets. Umpires Smith and Venkataraman kept a critical eye on things.

The Atlanta Pearls won the toss and offered first strike to the Belizean Royal Strikers, who had difficulty navigating the crafty bowling attack of the Pearls, losing wickets at 3, 7, 7, 13, 13, and 22. Kristy Terry, not out, 19, and her skipper Eileen Major, with an unbeaten 27, including three boundary bracers, weighed anchor at the tail-end to help the Strikers post 75 for 6. Extras scored 15.

Atlanta Pearls used six different bowlers to strike the Royals. However, Sangeeta Singh and Tanuja Delaney, each with figures of 3-0-10-2, and Adanya Baugh, 3-0-13-2, topped the bowling charts and created all the havoc Atlanta Pearls needed to rattle the cage of the Royal Strikers.

Former West Indies all-rounder Brenda Solozano-Rodney posted figures of 3-0-15-0, helping restrict the Belizeans to less than 100 in the final match of the two-day tournament.
Atlanta Pearls used only 8.5 of their allotted 15 overs to top the 75 runs posted by the Belizean Royal Strikers. They won the match comfortably while losing only one wicket—Kedaniah Myers lbw Kendice Broaster, 13 off 29 deliveries including one boundary was the sole Pearls’ wicket to fall at 62 in the seventh over. It was opener Lerra Jennings, not out 35 (5x4s), and Zalak Khatri, 2, not out, who joined the action at the 6.5 overs mark to help bring the bacon home. Not to be left out, Extras chipped in with 26.

Kendice Broaster was the Belizean success bowler with figures of 2.5-0-9-1. Thus, Atlanta Pearls earned the crown and bragging rights for the next twelve months.
Pearls’ Lerra Jennins was the Player of the Match.


Belizean Royal Strikers vs. Bermuda Triangle Gems
Strikers won by 12 runs

The Belizean Royal Strikers opened the tournament against Bermuda Triangle Gems on Saturday, May 27, with Umpires Carrington and Smith from the all-female administrative staff officiating.

The Belizean Royal Strikers opened with Shennel Pook, 22, alongside Arden Stephenson, 0. It was not the most promising start, but the Strikers’ mainstays Kristy Terry, 39, not out, and skipper Eileen Major, 24, not out, added some respectability to the Strikers’ total of 133, including 27 Extras. Marsha Will had earlier contributed 12 before being caught.

Advika Ganapathy Subramanian was the Gem of the bowlers for the Bermuda Triangle Gems with figures of 4-0-26-3. Subramanian, supported by Yasala Amaradosa, 2 for 25, and Indumathi Krishnamurthy, 1 for 27, was responsible for the six wickets.

Belizean Royal Strikers
Members of the Belizean Royal Strikers.

The Bermuda Triangle Gems needed almost seven runs per over to record their first win of the tournament and must have felt very confident. However, the Strikers had other plans.

The Gems found themselves in a spiraling triangle of wicket losses, losing their first five wickets without posting 50% of the required runs for victory.

Skipper Chantal Oosthizen, 19, and Delisa Hary, 12, batting in the middle, offered the most resistance, along with Indumathi Krishnamurthy, 11, and Anti Rabain, 10, batting at the tail-end provided a semblance of resistance, but it was not enough.

The Gems’ wickets fell at 5, 8, 17, 43, 53, 72, 73, 74, 120, and 121. Kristy Terry 3 for 24, Kendice Broaster 2 for 11, and Sasha Reynolds 2 for 24, along with three run-outs, accounted for the Gems’ wickets.
Krisly Terry was the Player of the Match.

Bermuda Triangle Gems vs. Atlanta Pearls
Pearls won by nine wickets

Atlanta Pearls won the toss and elected to bowl, with the Gems posting one shy of 100 runs, losing nine wickets in their 20 overs. Extras top-scored with 57. Delisea Hary was the only batter with double figures at 13. The other nine Gems did not shine much brighter, producing only 29 runs off their combined bats. A massive 57, including 48 wides, was part of the contribution made by Ms. Extras.

Brenda Solozano was the pick of the crop with 4-0-16-3. Tanuja Delaney had 2 for 14, Zalak Khatri had 2 for 19, and Adanya Baugh had one for 15 off three overs.
Atlanta Pearls, in reply, made light work polishing off the Gems, although it took them 16 overs to record the “W”. They reached the 100-run mark and the victory, losing only one wicket along the way —Anagha Madhavan run-out for eight. Brenda Solozano top-scored with 32 not out, and Tanuja Delaney, 15, not out. Extras chipped in 44, including 36 wides for the Pearls’ win. Umpires Williams and Abbott were the game wardens.
Brenda Solozano was the Player of the Match.

Belizean Royal Strikers vs. Atlanta Pearls
Pearls won by nine wickets in a Duckworth-Lewis decision

The Atlanta Pearls won the better side of the coin and offered the Belizean Royal Strikers the bat at the Earl O’Neal Sports Complex. Their inning would last just under one and a half hours, as they posted 93 all out in the 20 overs, with Umpires Venkataramanan and Abbott calling the shots..

Except for Kendice Broaster, 17, and Arden Stephenson, 15, it was an all single-digit affair as the remaining batters produced only 35 runs combined. Extras added 19 to top out the team’s score at 93 total.

The Strikers’ wickets fell at 11, 24, 40, 51, 63, 63, 76, 76, 83 and 86. Bowling for the Pearls, Sangeeta Singh was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-0-13-4. Adana Baugh had 2 for 12, and Durga Datla, Lin Smith, Palak Khatri, and Tanuja Delaney each enjoyed one scalp.

Presented with a winning target of 94, the Pearls went about it in a manner that suggested it was business as usual, losing only the wicket of Lerra Jennings b. Sasha Reynolds. 23. It would be the top score of the Pearls’ 34 minutes inning. Lin Smith, 11, not out, Chelsea Douglas, 7, not out, and Extras, 14, rounded out the Pearls’ 55 in 10 overs and the nine-wicket D/L victory.

Bermuda Triangle Gems
Members of Bermuda Triangle Gems.

MAY 28
Bermuda Triangle Gems vs. Atlanta Pearls
Atlanta Pearls won by nine wickets

The Atlanta Pearls called the coin right and elected to bowl, with Umpires Venkataramanan and Williams officiating.

Beulah Pidakala and Chantal Oosthizen opened the batting for the Gems, with Pidakala, 14, besting her opening partner Oosthizen by eight runs. Pidakala and Delisa Hary would be the only double-digit contributors, as the rest of the Gems totaled 11 runs and aided by Extras, 20, to round out the team’s tally at 63 for 6 in the allotted 15 overs. Adana Baugh was the best of the bowlers with figures of 3-0-19-2, while Sangeeta Singh snared one for three off her three overs.

The Pearls took to the middle with confidence coming off an unbeaten streak in the tournament, and opening with Brenda Solozano, 14, and Anagha Madhavan, 2. However, Adana Baugh made the most impact on the desired total for the nine-wicket win by scoring 30 not out, including 6x4s. It was all that was needed, along with 18 Extras, for the Pearls to maintain their unbeaten streak in the weekend tournament.

The sole wicket-taker for the Gems was Masala Amaradosa with 1-0-14-1.
Adana Baugh was the Player of the Match.

Belizean Royal Strikers vs. Bermuda Triangle Gems
Strikers won by five wickets

The Strikers won the toss and elected to bat. They would record one of the highest totals of the tournament at this stage, posting 129 for 3 in their allotted 15 overs. However, it would not be enough, as the Gems surpassed the total with 130, losing five wickets to win the match in 14.1 overs. Umpires Smith and Abbott kept an eye on the game and the players.

Marsha Will enjoyed 63 off 56 balls with nine boundaries, albeit in a losing cause after such a fine knock. Kendice Broaster, in a supporting role, was on 30, not out at the end. Extras posted 32.

In reply, the Gems got to the 130 mark and the victory behind the bats of Ashley Borges, 61 (7x4s, 1×6), and Chantal Oosthizen, 15 (3x4s). Extras was generous with 36 in the five-wicket win for the Bermuda Triangle Gems.

Kendice Broaster, Sasha Reynolds, and Kristy Terry shared the three wickets for the Gems, as the Strikers’ wickets fell at 7, 18, 52, 87, and 114, including two run-outs.
Ashley Borges was the Player of the Match

Adana Baugh
Adana Baugh was named player of the series.

Chantal Oosthuizen, one of the Bermuda Triangle Gems commenting on her tournament experience, said, “Seven players from Bermuda traveled to Atlanta and teamed up with five guest players to play in the tournament. It was a first for Bermuda, which gave us momentum when we returned home to jump into the women’s league with added interest. The number of participants on the island has increased, and we hope it will continue to do so. We hope to have two full teams join the tournament next year. It was a great experience for all to play in an overseas cricket tournament. For many, it was their first time playing a cricket match. It was a well-organized tournament, and special thanks to Petal Samuels and her team, who made us feel welcome from the first meeting on Zoom. We had a blast, and our bags are packed already for next year’s tournament!”

Beulah Pidakala, who has traveled annually from California to participate in the tournament as part of Atlantis Cricket Club – NY representative teams and others, said, “I have been participating in GWCA tournaments since 2011, and it’s always a great experience playing there. The tournament attracts international players and teams and has been important for the game’s growth in the USA. In a way, it bridges the gap between young and experienced players.”

USA Cricket’s national women’s selector Jyotsna Patel, a former India national cricketer, participated in the tournament and declared, “We all had lots of fun being there in Atlanta, Georgia for the Women’s Cricket Tournament,” adding, “The 10th Annual T20 tournament was well organized…and all of the match officials were women. I was fortunate to play with the Bermuda team and made some runs, staying not out in support of our team.”

The Tournament’s Match Referee, Linnell Williams, said, “I had a great experience with some amazing women. I was invited as an Umpire and asked to fulfill the role of Match Referee as well. It was an exciting opportunity to gain experience in a role I want to develop further. The cohesion of the PCT was as if we had known and worked together for years,” adding, “The ladies displayed such camaraderie and spirit. Ms. Samuels and her team did an amazing job organizing the tournament, and I look forward to participating next year.”

Petal Samuels
Tournament Coordinator Petal Samuels is held aloft by Bermuda Triangle Gems.

Kudos to Petal Samuels, whose idea it was to start the Annual Atlanta Women’s T20 Tournament and later the Georgia Women Cricket Association, with little or no funding and a lack of support from the governing body for cricket in the USA. She, however, doggedly pursued her vision of providing a grassroots platform for aspiring women cricketers both domestically and internationally for more than a decade.

The one-woman crusade has paid dividends, with more than a dozen current or former USA national women players participating in the tournament during the past decade.

Atlanta Pearls – 2023 Atlanta Women’s T20 Champions
Belizean Royal Strikers – 2nd place
Bermuda Triangle Gems – 3rd place

Adanya Baugh – Player of the Series.
Zalak Kathri – Most Catches.
Marsha Will – Most Runs.
Sangeeta Singh – Most Wickets.
Ashley Borges – Most Sixes struck.
Marsha Will – Most fours struck.
Jacqueline Casasola – Most Dismissals by a Wicketkeeper.
Sasha Reynolds, 14 years (Belize) – The youngest player to participate.
Anti Rabain, 65 years (Bermuda) – The most mature player to participate.

Shariel Felicien – Participating as a player for ten years and serving as this year’s Atlanta Pearls Manager.
Chelsea Douglas – Participating as a player for nine years.
Beulah Pidakla – Participating as a player for six years.
Grace Carrington – Participating as an Umpire for nine years.
Brenda Solozano, a former Cricket West Indies player from Trinidad, played on the Atlanta Pearls team.

The first time the Playing Control Team (PCT) was an all-women ensemble.
Linnel Williams – Bermuda – Match Referee and Umpire.
Grace Carrington – Hartford, CT. – Umpire.
Maria Abbott – St. Vincent – ICC Emerging Panel of Umpires – Umpire.
Precious Smith – Bermuda – Umpire.
Malathi Venkataramanan – Johns Creek, GA – Umpire.