The Cricket Newfoundland and Labrador outdoor season got underway on Saturday with two matches. Four teams will contest the league this year, two returning from last season including the defending champion Avengers. The matches saw the first use of a brand new artificial pitch, purchased from the UK with the assistance of a grant from the provincial government. This high tech portable pitch system will allow the organization to host interprovincial tournaments.
First use of the new pitch fell to the Avengers, batting first against the Rising Stars, a brand new squad with many players taking part in the league for the first time. The Avengers struggled against good bowling, and only 56 runs from last year’s leading run scorer Rahul Vashishta saw them to a respectable total of 115 all out. Waqas Ahmed and Taqrim Ghous each took three wickets.
The Rising Stars could not cope with the opening bowling of Sentil Selvamani ( 3 wickets for three runs) and Deep Patel (3/13) making a welcome return from injury and they collapsed to 46 all out. Rahul Vashishta took two wickets, and combined with his innings of 56 earned the man of the match award.

The second match was between the NL Eagles, returning from last year, and the Stallions, and this was a close match leading to an exciting finish. The Stallions batted first, losing early wickets, but a captain’s innings from Rakesh Negi (27 runs), and some good lower order batting from Amit Sundly (16 runs) and Abrar Khan (13 runs) allowed them to post a total of 105.Ali Mailik took 3/30, Osama Anwat 3/15 and there was some outstanding fielding including a spectacular one handed catch in the outfield by Asim Razman.

The Eagles started poorly, but some big hitting from Asim Malik (23) and Usmair Khan (35) took them to the brink of victory. Two critical wickets from Amit Sundly reduced the Eagles to their last pair, then Amit ran out their final batsman to give the Stallions a narrow 5 run win. Rakesh Negi was named man of the match, taking 3 wickets to go and contributing a direct hit run out with his 27 runs.


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