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Firebirds win game one of the 3rd Pacific Coast Invitational Women's Cricket Tourney
 
11 September 2010
 
It was a beautiful day in Bellevue, WA which was the day one of the tournament. Firebirds (BACA) and Chargers (NWCL) participated in this tourney just like they have done in the 1st and 2nd edition. Firebirds were led by Ritu Bhargava. She was captaining the Firebirds for the first time at inter-league level. Prior to this, she had displayed her leadership skills in a tournament which was arranged by Bay Area Telugu Association. Chargers were led by Yogita Manghnani.
 
The day began with a wonderful sporting gesture. Due to change of mind by a few about a week or two before the tourney, Firebirds fell short of coming with a full team. Chargers could have denied letting any of their team players play for Firebirds. But they did not do so by lending two of their players to Firebirds to keep the contest even. "Win or losses are part of the game but such thought process by Chargers is commendable. That's what I call sporting spirit", said Raj Padhi, member of USA Cricket board.
 
From then on, it was time to get back on to the field and compete against each other. Firebirds won the toss and decided to bat first. Akshatha and Sanuja went to open the inning. Both gave Firebirds a good opening stand of 20 plus runs. Akshatha got out LBW playing back and across to a somewhat fuller delivery. Erica went first down but did not survive too long. In went Captain Ritu to join Sanuja. Both batted in a calm and collective manner and put on a good partnership of around 30 plus runs. Sanuja was the next one to get out trying to up the run rate there by getting caught. Ritu fell shortly after that. Nusrat went in next. She is a powerful hitter and the expectation was for her to play some big shots. But the heavy outfield did not help her any. This made her to take the aerial route. Once Nusrat was out, in came the last wicket partnership of Sashi and Chanel. Both the players played extremely well with an 18 run partnership giving Firebirds a final score of 90 plus. On this day, Sanuja was the best batter in display for Firebirds and was very well supported by rest of the team.
 
Chargers started their inning nicely with Rohini and Rekha opening the batting. They played cautiously against the accurate bowling of Akshatha and Sanuja. The chase was moving along smoothly for Chargers till the 10th over mark when the break was taken. The batters did offer couple of catches that were put down. But Firebirds entered back to thee field re-energized and turned the game around with some fantastic bowling and fielding. Erica Rendler, the current USA player, stepped it up with some accurate bowling and got the first wicket for Firebirds by getting her fellow USA team mate Rohini Prabhune bowled. Erica was very well supported by Nusrat Khan, the new Firebirds addition. Nusrat was bowling relatively slower than her normal pace focusing in length and line. But the best part was yet to come. The Chargers had plenty of wicket in hand and wanted up up their run rate to go for the win. But Sanuja had different plans. She turned the game around with some superb fielding affecting four run outs with two of the being direct hits. Akshatha and wicket keeper Sashi took one catch each. The Chargers fell short by 18 runs in their chase.
 
At the end, it was a wonderfully competitive game of cricket. Special kudos to Ritu for leading the Firebirds to victory. The "player of the match" was Sanuja who simply stole the show with her all-round abilities with bat and ball while fielding exceedingly well in the outfield.
 
Later in the evening, the Chargers hosted the Firebirds with a wonderful dinner. Speaking during the occasion, Raj Padhi, member of USA Cricket Board said, "it is great for Firebirds and Charger to continue with the tradition of playing this tournament. The more games the merrier. The sporting spirit shown by both the teams was commendable. Congrats to both the teams for such."
 
Game two of this series will be played on Sun, Sep 12, 2010 in Renton, WA
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