Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Yet Another Victory for SCC over Maharajas

I may come to know about as a "Saturday CC Win Reporter", but I don't care. Folks, it was one of the best matches played by SCC that showed real gut and temperament till the very end, by the 2004 TCA Open Runners-up. It was almost a deja-vu all over of the 2004 Open Semi-Final match between SCC and MegaStars. Here is a story in pictures.

Well, the day promised to be one of those hot days in Californian Summer where the mercury was to hit 80. That scorching heat compounded with dryness and the first encounter of 2005 with 25 overs a side were going to test the tenacity of SCC players.

It was bright, sunny day with match starting around 9.00 AM and it was really hot out there. The guys were relaxed in the dressing room

relaxed players


in spite of the missing stars like Wasim/Madan/Shankar/Pras.

The new young captain :), Naresh naresh intrigued

won the toss and elected to bat first. The pitch looked good for batting with an occasional keep-low characteristics. Naresh decided to change the batting order a bit and the Bapats (Kedar and Parag) were to open. They started off well but rather too much on the defensive, not being successful in converting defensive strokes into singles. Before they could realize it was 7 for 1 in 5 overs. Kedar got out being clean bowled by a straight delivery that kept a little low. So, as far as batting was concerned, it was a 20-over match for SCC.

Shiv was sent up in the order to get a few runs quickly with a few odd shots that he hits so well on the on, and the tactic seemed to have some potential. The young generation of SCC needs to take a lead role and that idea alone though needed to be implemented. Parag and Shiv were playing well trying to speed the run-rate up with a few risky shots. Shiv seemed to overdo the flick and was a little awkwardly blocking the fuller length deliveries. He hit a juicy full-toss for a long-leg boundary. Notwithstanding this, Amit Chouhan and Raj Sekhar were bowling a tidy line and Maharajas did not concede any extra runs. It was this discipline that fetched them the well-earned second wicket of Parag who could not leverage the rhythm that he was getting into and was caught behind. That brought Sanjay to the creeks, yet another change in the batting line-up. Sanjay quickly settled in and started hitting his hard shots, whereas Shiv was doing his defense well. Sanjay hit well in the V and was looking for a long inning when the disaster struck and got himself yorked (again).

With not many runs on the board and 8 overs gone, Naresh had a daunting task and he was ready for it. But he seems to be a frequent victim of mediocre umpiring decisions and today was yet another instance of the same. I wonder why this happens with him every time. On this occasion, he managed to leave a ball around arm high a little awkwardly, down the leg-side and was adjudged caught behind owing to a half-hearted appeal! Kedar M followed and after a few good looking shots, met with the same fate and was adjudged caught behind on a ball that clearly bounced off-the-ground. There was an unfortunate mixup between Shiv and Kedar in the meantime and Shiv found himself well outside the creeks and was run-out.

By this time, there were interesting developments off-the-field in that there were a lot of hard-working band-enthusiasts that were probably preparing for a band competition/performance and that amuzed a lot of players.

The veterans Abhay, Nadeem, Ashish, Alan with Ahmed had tough task of taking score at least to a defendable target and to a good extent they were successful in doing that. Abhay showed some composure, good balance and intent to stay at the wickets.


Ahmed was rather sluggish and was yorked soon.
ahmed out

Though Ashish and Nadeem were watchful,

they were out rather cheaply and then it was Abhay and Alan who were struggling to get us past 70. Abhay put on a good show. But he was rather too reluctant to try Alan's batting and that was a mistake in my view. Finally SCC got all-out in a little more than 2 overs to spare. This shows problems with handling 25 over matches. SCC has got to tie these loose ends. Albeit, the target was 75 and 3 r.o. was not at all a difficult task on this ground where pitch was reasonable and out-field was fast.

Abhay and Kedar M started on a cautious note and both of them got their rhythm going well, with occasional extra runs. But they bowled a tidy line. There was a simple catch dropped at mid-off by Kedar B, but it was not to cause damage and he took the dropped catch rather too seriously and in the fifth over, he had one direct hit that claimed the wicket of dropped-batsman back and then a simple throw to Shiv after Naresh made a good attempt for a catch and was not successful. It was 2 for 11 after 5. Not bad. Prashant and another batsman then tried to steer clear of any troubles and that combined with the lack of regular bowling attack meant a tough road ahead for the SCC.

Kedar B was rather inconsistent with pitching the ball where he wanted and Naresh was not getting the length right. Both of them though were economical, did not pose problems for batsmen and aided by a few extra-base-hits :) got 39 runs for 3 wickets in 13 overs for the Maharajas. This meant a healthy run-rate and quite a few wickets in hand for them.

But Ahmed had something else in mind and was as lethal as ever albeit with a few problems with the line. Yet, he made Prashant have an edge to Shiv. Then came a brilliant piece of fielding by Nadeem. Niloy had placed the ball in the covers towards Nadeem's right and he picked it up in a flash and had a direct hit at the striker's end and Ajit was out by miles. 5 down and 30 runs to get now started to look a bit promising for the SCC.

Niloy was playing well without taking any risks and apart from a very hard chance (from Parag B) he was playing the anchor well. He was also effective in getting runs. For the intelligent bowling changes on the other hand (owing to collective captaincy that SCC displays so well on the field), wickets were falling pretty regularly. Kedar M got Abhishek to balloon one to Alan and then it was Abhay's crampy-over that started.

He was getting cramps above his left ankle and this was probably the effect of the scorching heat. Yet, he made Manish edge one just outside the off and then bowled a beauty to the next batsman that unknowingly destroyed the latter's wickets. That was the turning point of the match.

It was 9 for 60 in 20. Niloy was still at the wickets trying hard to make his dream of beating the SCC come true. For SCC's generosity he was having help of Janardhan who is not a regular Maharaja. He was wearing hawai and till we knew his name we called him the chappal-waalaa. Naresh allowed him to play as the 11th player as Maharajas were short of a monarch. He was almost out many times but hanging in there and it was soon 65 for 9 in 22.

Kedar M/Naresh each had one over and there was a question of one more over and it was a gamble. Naresh decided to bowl the 23rd over and finally Janardhan gave up and edged a chest-high ball to Shiv. Shiv held a brilliant catch single-handedly.

Man! It was tough. This was one of the best bowling performances we ever had (though we conceded 17 extras) because it
  • Made me nostalgic and reminded me of the Semi-finals of 2004 TCA Open.
  • Reinstated belief in our bowling prowess, and
  • Proved the importance of temperament in a tight-match situation.
Shiv was adjudged the man of the match for his useful knock with the bat and brilliant catches (4).

The exhausted winners were all-smiles because win is so sweet!

the winners

Hats off to a great win.