Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Saturday, April 16, 2005

WKO match to start in another half an hour ...

I know you're at the Thomas Russell ground. Good. All the best!

I know you have the sweet memories from the semi-finals that we won miraculously at this ground beating MegaStars! Well, we're playing there again. I like this ground, especially for the bowlers and room for the batsmen on the off-side.

Do well.

Don't forget to take the scoring sheets with you because the official scorer is not available today :)

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Saturday CC v/s United XI – Match Report

After the disappointment of a washed out match, Saturday CC was looking forward to play a competitive game again. Saturday CC was without the services of Ashish who was recovering from illness. Naresh was nominated the new captain and Sanjay was named his deputy.
Ahmed was making his debut for Saturday CC.

The venue of the game was the picturesque Burton Park in San Carlos and Saturday CC was looking forward to an easy victory.

Naresh lost the toss and United XI asked Saturday CC to bat. New captain immediately made some changes in the batting order. Abhay and Kedar Bapat were sent it to open the innings. The message was loud and clear. Put away the bad balls and make sure we train ourselves for the 15 over format. With the knock-out starting in 3 weeks, this was obviously a good strategic move from the new captain.

United XI opening bowlers bowled a nice line and length and just 3 runs came of an uneventful first over. In the second over, Kedar Bapat got a peach of a delivery. It pitched on length on off and moved away slightly. Kedar probed at the ball tentatively and it took the outside edge to the keeper (Saturday CC 3/1). Naresh sent in Shankar at no. 3. And Shankar got off to a great start. The second ball he faced was slightly over pitched. Shankar hoisted it over long on for a couple. Another over pitched delivery was hoisted over midwicket for another couple.

With the score reading 19/1 after 4 overs, Shankar tried to clear long on again and was out caught. He was eyeing the area between long on and midwicket but could not execute the shot properly. He scored 10 of 14 deliveries.

United XI brought in their tall off-spinner who used his height to extract good bounce from the pitch. And he immediately had the Saturday CC batsmen in a spin. Naresh survived a close appeal for stumping. In the very next over, Abhay tried to hit a real long hop over the leg side fence too hard and in the process holed out to square leg. Saturday CC’s batting woes continued as in the very next over Kedar M edged a ball in the slips.

Naresh tried to cut another short delivery outside off and was caught at point. Saturday CC was in a real spot of bother (28/5). At the break, Madan and Sanjay were in the middle. With Shiv, Ahmed, Wasim and Alan to follow Saturday CC had high hopes of posting a competitive total.

After the break, Sanjay and Madan scored 6 in the 11th over. But the momentum changed in the 12th over as Sanjay tried to flick a delivery going down the leg but only succeeded in tickling it in the hands of the keeper. After a few patient blocks and taps, Ahmed dragged one on his stumps as he tried to break the shackles. Shiv too tried to hit one across the line and was bowled.

Wasim and Madan steadied the ship a little but Wasim was out caught at covers while trying to block a shortish delivery outside off. Saturday CC were 54 for 9 in the 16th over.

All this time, Madan had been steady like a rock, standing tall amongst the ruins, playing out the difficult bowlers to protect his partners. And at the same time scoring most of the runs. His trademark lofted drives were a treat to watch and even in the heavy morning weather, most of them traveled a long distance.

Madan and Alan played the next 4 overs sensibly. Alan defended cautiously while Madan scored runs in couples and tried to keep the strike. Together, they scored 13 invaluable runs for SCC. Saturday CC finished at 67. Madan made a fighting 21 not out while Alan played out the crucial deliveries to ensure that Saturday CC batted their full quota of overs and at the same time made 2 not out.

During the break, everyone thought that 67 was a defendable target. Given the history of defending scores of 64 and 65 in the 2004 Open, Saturday CC bowling attack was quite confident.

Wasim started the proceedings and bowled a beauty on the very first ball. It pitched on the length and moved slightly away from the batsman. The batsman did not go back or forward and just stuck his bat out for the ball to take the edge and land in the safe hands of Shiv. It was just the spark Saturday CC needed to defend this total. Wasim, as always, provided the crucial early breakthrough.

The no. 3 batsman from United XI was a lefty called Prashant. The way he played Wasim in the first over, it was clear that he was a very good batsman. His partner was a study in contrast. He was trying to hit everything behind square on the leg. Abhay was listless from the other end bowling slightly short and on the legs. It was easy pickings for the United XI batsmen. After 4 overs, the score read 10 for 1.

Kedar M came in as the first change and bowled a good line. In his second over, he got rid of the slogger opener who had troubled Saturday CC bowlers with his unorthodox style of batting. The next batsman challenged Saturday CC bowlers by saying a few things that clearly showed he was under pressure. He tried to hit a shortish delivery from Kedar out of the park and was brilliantly caught by Madan at square leg. Shankar from the other end was bang on target. In fact, he was so fast and accurate that United XI batsmen resorted to blocking their wickets with their bodies. This did not help for too long though as Shankar managed to squeeze one between the bat and pad to get a much deserved wicket.

At the break, the score read 30 for 4. Halfway through the second innings, the match was evenly poised with United XI depending on Prashant to see them through.

After the break, Madan started with a maiden over. Ahmed took time to find his rhythm but bowled a great second over – a maiden wicket. In the 13th, Madan tied up the batsmen. One of them tried to hit out of trouble only to hole out to Abhay at mid-on.

With 27 needed off 6 overs, Shankar conceded only 3 in the 15th. But Abhay conceded 5 in the 16th. 19 were required in 4 overs. Kedar M bowled a great over and conceded only 2 runs. But 6 runs were scored in the 18th over. United XI needed 11 runs in 12 deliveries. Prashant from United XI was proving to be a thorn in the flesh for SCC. He took advantage of the leg side fence and kept the scoreboard ticking and was threatening to win the game for United XI.

Shankar and Kedar had different ideas though.

On the very first ball of the 19th over, Prashant tapped a good length delivery towards Shankar at square leg. Shankar, ever alert, pounced on the ball and threw it to the Kedar who broke the wickets just in time to run-out Prashat. With the main threat gone, United XI batsmen could only score 3 runs off the 19th over. They needed 8 in the last over. Madan kept it simple by bowling full and on the off in the 20th over. United XI batsmen managed could not do anything other than edge in the vacant slip cordon. It was a great over under pressure. Madan and Kedar M shut the door just in time for Saturday CC to win by 2 runs.

Madan was the obvious choice for the man of the match for his 21 runs and 2 wickets.

It was sheer experience of having played so many matches that helped Saturday CC win this one. Credit is also due to Kedar, Madan, Wasim, Ahmed and Shankar for tightening the screws at the right time.

Saturday CC batting continues to flounder. It is amazing to see so many soft dismissals in this match. This is something that definitely needs to be fixed.
With the addition of Ahmed, the bowling attack looks in great shape. But there are plenty of areas to improve. Lets keep the ball rolling by raising our intensity levels at the practice sessions.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

TCA - Knockout Tournament next weekend ...

Alright folks. It is here. Awesome weather is expected to be back in Bay Area and that brings more cricket along with it.

The knock-out tournament is around the corner. We've got to play hard. We haven't done particularly well in this kind of 15-0ver a side games with ever increasing competition every year.

A quick look at the statistics for 2005 would help:

  • Runs scored for: 151 runs in 40 overs with 19 wickets
  • Runs scored against: 114 runs in 20 overs with 18 wickets.
  • Wins 2, 1 match washed out, no losses.
  • Our league performance has been okay. Need to do better.
Again, it is a 15-over-a-side game. We need to be aggressive right from the start. Temperament is so important. We may do well on the Ortega Park for a practice session, but any competition is a different ball game.

Make sure that you are healthy and sleep well :) before the game. Keeping beer in check on Friday/Saturday night would help :)

Also, please make sure that you are a registered member of SatCC. Currently, Naresh, the wall & Nadeem, the great ball-finder :) is not listed there. Parag Bapat is also not listed out there. But till he lands from his marital heavens :) it is okay, I guess.

Go SatCC.