Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Friday, May 13, 2005

Saturday CC romps to victory against Hattrickers

Match Report Saturday CC vs. Hattrickers

The 3rd round match of 2005 Knockout tournament started under cloudy conditions with a weather forecast of intermittent showers. Luckily, the raingods stayed away the entire match. SCC captain Naresh wasn't as lucky though with the toss. Hattrickers chose to bat first however, setting in action what SCC think-tank wanted, to chase a target, rather than set one.
SCC bowling attack was looking comparitively weak, with the absence of Abhay, Ahmed and Kedar Bapat.

Wasim started as usual, bowling a very tight line and length and giving nothing away. He was almost awarded with a wicket in the first over but Shankar dropped a sharp chance at square leg. Morning blues, probably. But the pressure created by Wasim helped in the very next over as the other opener skied a catch to Nadeem at covers of the bowling of Madan. There was a runout in the next over as well. As always, Ashish was involved in the runout along with Shiv. Any scoring opportunities were dried up by accurate SCC bowling and tight fielding.The pressure fetched a wicket each in the 4th and 5th over as batsmen tried to force the pace.

Wasim bowled a very effective spell of 3 overs for 6 runs and 1wicket.Madan and Wasim were replaced in the attack by Kedar M and Shankar. Both took a while to settle down and the run rate improved a bit. A partnership started blossoming and then there was another letoff. The opening batsmen Ani, who was dropped by Shankar, got 2 lives in one ball. First Naresh could not hold on to a very fierce drive to his left hand. But Nadeem, who was alert, threw the ball to the bowlers end where Kedar M smartly collected the ball and whipped the bails off. However, as is to be expected of most umpires in theTCA, this one was also in no position to judge correctly, and ruled in favour of the batsmen. There was another reprieve when a clear outside edge of the bowling of Shankar was not upheld by the umpire. The partnership finally ended in the 11th over when Kedar M took a very high catch of his own bowling with the score at 31.

Hattrickers managed 23 runs in the last 5 overs losing 3 wickets. Naresh castled a batsmen while Shankar and Shiv got into the act to run out the opener Ani for 16. Shankar also gave up only 6 runs in his 3 overs. SCC were set a target of 54.

The mood in the SCC camp was jovial and chirpy. The cold weather brought out some Hema Malini mimickry asking "Dharam" to make her "Garam". I dont know about Dharam, but both Parag and Nadeem sure warmed up to the task of chipping at the target in extremely confident fashion. Parag hit the shot of the match in the 3rd over when he flicked an overpitched delivery to the right of the deep midwicket fielder for a one bounce boundary.

SCC was helped by some inconsistent bowling as there were wides and No balls aplenty. But it was the opening pair that did all the damage. Parag and Nadeem displayed tremendous understanding in running singles and twos and put constant pressure on the fielding side. They literally took the match away as opposition shoulders started dropping. The two put on 39 in 8 overs, thus ensuring that there would be no dramatics to follow. Parag was out, immediately after the break for a well made 13. SCC needed just 15 runs in 7 overs at that point, with 9 wickets in hand. This stat should provide you with a clear picture of the dominance of the SCC openers.

Madan, greedy to bat, begged his captain to send him next, and was granted his wish. But he did not look confident and was finding it hard to rotate the strike. Nadeem was his composed self at the other end, collecting singles where-ever available.In the end, the target of 54 was never a daunting one, and SCC sauntered home with 3 overs and 4 balls to spare.Nadeem was unconquered with 15, while Madan chipped in with 9 runs. All in all, a very easy victory.
The wonderful form of both the openers should bode well for SCC in the upcoming matches.

But this victory, however convincing, still does not hide some of the weaknesses and/or shortcomings on display. Dropped catches, the inability to stem singles and twos in the later overs, not getting lower order wickets quickly enough are some of the problems that need to be addressed while bowling. The other problem is new batsmen not displaying the ability to get singles, not rotate the strike and thus put pressure on the other batsmen.We need to iron out these things as the quality of opposition will only improve henceforth, and there lie tougher tests ahead. So lets prepare ourselves to improve our Knock-out tournament record, one match at a time.


Saturday, May 07, 2005

SCC Vs Hatrickers ...

Excitement builds up. We are playing III knock-out match tomorrow at the Vista Park. I don't remember of having played here.

Hatrickers is a good team. They have won both their matches with the support of their bowling and some slog-over-extravaganza by couple of batsmen. We have got to do well.

All the very best ...

Sunday, May 01, 2005

SCC Registers Impressive Win Over Dunford Devils

(Please read on till the very end).

Alright, SCC were in the second round of the knock-out tournament owing to an allround performance in the first match. And all know why the II round was important. It is some kind of lakshman-rekha that SCC had never crossed in the knock-out tournament.

It was a fine Sunday Morning and Northern Californian weather was at its best notwithstanding the weatherman forecast of overcast morning. The match was scheduled to start at 8.30 A. M. and SCC players were eager to be back at a ground that has been home to so many teams. All had a nice session in the nets :) and were ready to fire on all engines.

Dunford Devils had been beaten by SCC in a match that is more popularly known as the run-out-saga of 2005. But the things were reported (and hyped) to be different with the return of a few bowlers that could turn the match

Naresh lost the toss and Dunford Devils elected to bat first. Dunford Way II is always a pitch with unpredictable bounce, but there are plenty of opportunities to score the runs on either side of the wickets. One of the highest totals (156) in TCA history was scored here by Gladiators. SCC had fond memories of this place with a victory (chasing 68 runs) in the last match that they played against ACC in 2003.

Wasim started the proceedings with a cool and composed line and was well respected by the openers George and Ravi who were watchful and looking for odd loose deliveries. They set a nice pace to build a good total, aided mainly by wayward new-ball-treatment of Kedar M. At the end of 4 overs Dunford Devils were going along nicely at 15 for no loss. Apart from a dropped chance (a real hard one) by Parag, there were no risks taken by these batsmen. The singles that they scored in gully-point-cover region were risk-free and effective.

The disaster struck the Devils, when Madan came in to bowl and straight away started with a wicket when George was caught behind by Shiv. Ravi immediately followed George when he went after a shortish delivery from Madan and found Parag merrily holding on to a high catch. Whenever a couple of wickets fall in the same over, the batting side naturally goes into a defensive approach and that's what happened with Prasanna and his team mate. They were still trying to go for big ones and were occasionally successful.

Wasim was certainly the most consistent amongst the bowlers as he finished with 8 runs in his 3 overs. Kedar M and Madan had conceded 11 and 9 respectively. At the first drinks interval, the scoreboard read 27 for 3 in 8 - a reasonable total.

Naresh was the II change and conceded 10 runs in his first over taking the score from 30 for 2 in 9 to 40 for 3 in 10 overs.

Ahmed, from the other end (well, actually the same end :) ) was brilliant to say the least. He was very sharp in his line and length was close to perfect.

sharp ahmed

He was certainly the pick of the bowlers and inspired others to emulate. This was when the collective SCC captaincy came into play (as it has always been). Ahmed, Madan, Kedar M had one over each and Naresh had two. Ahmed bowled the crucial 11th over of the innings and kept the batsmen under control with Yorker-length deliveries.
It was quite a beautiful reflex catch that Ahmed tried to grab and ended up ballooning it back to short-mid-off where the short-mid-off-man, the agile Maradona was ready to swallow it. Catch of the match!

It was 41/4 in 11. Now was the moment of decision for Naresh. Naresh gathered his temperament and went for the kill. He pitched the ball (which he did not do at all in his 1st over) and pitched it well. Soon he found himself on hat-trick! 2 Wickets in 2 balls. This indeed turned the match around. Not only did this ensure that Naresh would bowl his quota of 3 overs but he bowled it well.

The pressure now mounted on the batsmen who could not react to this sudden shift in gears by SCC men. What once looked like 65 (at least), ended in mere 50. There was yet another brilliant catch by Naresh, this time standing at short-mid-on.

It looked easy. 51 to win in 15.
Nadeem and the-newly-wed Parag opened the innings and soon found themselves back in pavilion. Nadeem was in the classic maaru-yaa-chhoduu dilemma and ended up giving an edge to the keeper. He needs to work on this shot and not learn anything from Kedar M in this regard ;).

Parag was rather unlucky and because he did not use his feet well ;) after his bat was beaten by the height (or the lack of it) and was clean bowled. Sudarshan, the bowler was in utter disbelief and why not, because he never expected it.

That brought Madan to the crease and oh boy, he was not feeling great with this shaky start. He was watchful and little he knew that leaving the ball to the keeper actually results in batsman being out. Of course, this is not in the books but this is how it happens in practice. The umpires in this match were so hopelessly mediocre that even a baseball umpire could have replaced them without problem. The way Madan reacted to this decision (by dismantling the wickets by throwing his bat at them) would have certainly abandoned him for the rest of the tournament. But if such umpires could be tolerated, such reaction should easily be.

Madan's unfortunate and unreal dismissal brought Kedar M to the crease. Naresh was standing firmly at the other end working his way through those fabulous drives and half-pools. Both batsmen played sensibly and assisted each other. There was still uneven bounce in the wicket but it hardly made Naresh uncomfortable.

Kedar M had a nice looking half-pull

(look at the folded hands of the point fielder -- Ashish, please forgive him).

Naresh was driving the fuller length deliveries firmly and into the gaps.

The off-and-cover-drives that Naresh hit today are some of his best. These two steadied the ship and with the help of many extra runs, just before the drinks break, they were 28 in 7 overs and then in the eighth over Kedar M went for a big one, mistimed it a bit and found the mid-off fielder holding a simple catch.

Sanjay found his rhythm soon and started helping the guy who was playing the anchor so nicely. There was still awkward bounce in the pitch

but that did not deter Naresh and Sanjay from achieving their goal which was made to look easy when they just conceded so many runs in wides and no-balls.

SCC reached 51 in 12th over. A pretty easy win. The jinx was defeated just like the Red Sox (Ashish: Read, Yankees) undid the bombino's curse. Now it is the tournament and there is SCC.

Great Win.

Naresh was rightfully named the MOM.

Go SCC, the winners!

Go SCC, the winners! There is one man that is behind the success of SCC and he is our dear manager. To quote Devendra, "Vishal is the strength (and volume) of SCC". And surely, it was a nice birthday present and bumps that he'd hardly forget that his team-mates gave him on this special day.

Happy Birthday, Vishal!

Alan: Thanks for the nice pictures. It would not have been possible otherwise.
Disclaimer: The thoughts/facts expressed here are KedarsThoughtsWork's personal thoughts. The photos posted in this blog should not be used/copied without expressed written consent of the SCC.