Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Monday, August 29, 2005

SJSU Stars lead SatCC romp

Saturday CC cantered to an easy victory in their last round-robin match of the TCA Open 2005 First round. The easy victory was primarily achieved due to the batting exploits of two SJSU friends. One is a SatCC veteran of 3 years while the other is starting to make his mark in his first year as a SatCC player.

SatCC was facing WisdenCC this weekend, and were put into bat after WisdenCC won the toss. The team went in with a new look batting order with a view to trying a few combinations before the Knockout rounds. Two SJSU pals, Parag and Viral were asked to
open the innings.

Both started sensibly, picking up ones and twos, placing the ball into the gaps and running hard. The runrate was kept healthy and by the end of the 4th over the score was 21. After this, there was a shift in gears, as Parag started taking toll of the WisdenCC bowling. He hit two delightful boundaries, one to deep square leg, and the other to deep mid-wicket. Parag hit the ball cleanly and his drives were a treat to watch. He was also helped by WisdenCC fielders dropping a couple of cathces, and he cashed in.
Viral was a study in contrast, as he was content nudging the ball into gaps for singles. He had a lot of deft glances and cuts which helped rotate the strike, and never allowed any sort of rhythm for the opposition bowlers. Occasionally he had a few aerial hits over midwicket region.

Parag and Viral literally batted WisdenCC out of the game by the time their partnership came to a halt,thanks to a stunning one handed catch at deep-midwicket. Parag, who scored 30, was the victim. By then, the two had put on 60, easily the biggest opening partnership for SatCC (most probably the biggest partnership for any wicket in this club's young history) in just under 10 overs.

With this platform, it was always going to be easy on the following batsmen with no real pressure on them. Kedar M was sent next to join Viral. He however tried to hit a lofted shot without much conviction and was caught for 6. Viral followed soon after trying to up the runrate and was bowled for an astutely compiled 24.

Shankar and Madan then settled down a bit for an over or so, content with ones and twos, before they accelerated a bit. The two of them ran hard and hit a lot of 2s.
Both seemed to tire just as the partnership was beginning to look dangerous. Madan's call for a non-existent single caused the fall of Shankar's wicket, who was getting into form. He scored 10. The two put on 39 runs in 5 overs.

Madan scored 27 runs with his slogs and heaves. The remaining batsmen threw their bats around and SatCC ended up with 124 for 8 after 20 overs. While the Final score was really good, the team should have been able to put up a few more after the fantastic start.

The target was always going to be out of reach for WisdenCC, given SatCC's bowling performance the last few matches. However, on this day, the bowling was not upto the mark, and the WisdenCC openers were off to a decent start. Both Abhay and Shankar were finding it difficult to put the balls in the right areas and runs were easy to come by. But the huge target meant WisdenCC needed to take risks, and one risk too many resulted in a Run out.

This was just the fillip SatCC needed as Abhay got two quick wickets on consecutive balls in the very next over. This seemed to remove any fight that was left in the opposition ranks. Ranjeet and Kedar B replaced the opening bowlers and both got a wicket each. Kedar M, who came on to bowl after the break was spot on (despite a 3+ week break) and looked the only truly impressive bowler. He got a couple of wickets.

The innings soon folded for 53, leaving no doubt about the difference between the two sides in terms of talent and experience. The highlight was a nice diving catch by Viral at square leg. Shiv, another SJSU dude, had a couple of catches and a stumping to round off the incredible performances of his other two college-mates.

Parag was adjudged Man of the Match.

As we approach the next rounds of this very important and prestigious tournament, we need to iron out the flaws and shortcomings in our game. We still give away too many extras while bowling. We still let other team's lower order batsmen to get runs against us.

While Parag, Ashish, Shiv, Kedar M, Madan have been amongst runs, we are yet to hit peak batting form. Sanjay, Naresh, Kedar B, Nadeem have not spent a lot of time in the middle while batting and we need to get these people a lot of batting practice. We do have a more than adequate squad stength, with the luxury to choose from amongst 15 really good cricket players. We need to make sure every one of us is fit and fine, ready to contribute when called upon.

The real excitement begins in 2 weeks time. In the meantime, Hope all of you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Day of the Yankee

On a day when the New York Yankees blanked Chicago White Sox 5-0, the biggest Yankees fan in the SCC team worked his MAGIC to win us our third match in the TCA Open 2005 with some of his YANKEE MOJO.

We were playing Deep Creek CC at Booster Park. They are not amongst the top tier of teams in TCA and their was talk amongst us of using this match as practice for future rounds. However, we were brought to ground in the first over of the game. Deep Creek CC put us into bat, and before the team was settling outside the boundary lines, SCC lost Sanjay (1/2). In walked Ashish to join Parag.

The ball was keeping low initially, and there was some awkward bounce every once in a while. Both batsmen were finding it extremely hard to get runs. Parag, not in touch at all, lost his patience in the 6th over and handed a catch at point (14/2).
Abhay was sent in to up the run rate, but he was back in the pavilion soon, trying to heave one out of orbit(18/3 in 8th over).

The run rate was not moving up at all and there was considerable concern in the SCC camp. These concerns were allayed though as Ashish started finding his bearings and Shiv, who went in next, got going in his normal busy fashion. The two started running hard and put pressure on the opposition bowling. Shiv's unorthodox methods, and Ashish's textbook drives put Deep Creek CC on the backfoot and the scoring rate improved. The two carried on very well to carve a 25 run partnership before Shiv got out trying to cut a real wide ball for an important 12(43/4 in 12 overs).

Madan joined Ashish and was subjected to a rigourous fitness test. Ashish by now was very well set and decided to be the agressive of the two. He found gaps regularly and ran real hard. Ones were converted to twos and twos to threes. Overs between 13 and 16 fetched 30 runs. Ashish was the wrecker in chief. Madan was out of his breath and lost his wicket trying to hit his way out of tiredness. He scored 11.

Ashish lost his wicket the very next ball (75/5 in 17 overs), but by then he had made 34 runs of the highest quality. On a day when most SCC batsmen could not buy runs, he got his in 42 balls, on the way pulling SCC out of trouble from 18/3. He was involved in two partnerships of 25 and 32, and spent time at the wicket from the 1st over to the 17th. It was a very well compiled innings as his last 31 runs came of 30 balls, after taking his time to get started.

Viral then hit a quickfire 13 not out of 11 balls, combining with Nadeem to score 11 runs of the last over. SatCC ended up scoring 95 for 7 in the allocated 20 overs. The last 13 overs fetched 77 runs (at 6 per over) after the first 7 fetched 18.

It was going to take some real good batting by the opposition to deny SatCC from this point, but Deep Creek CC were not up for a fight. By the end of 4th over, they were 7/2. By the end of the 5th over, they were 9/5. This was the most interesting over of the Deep Creek CC innings as they had no answers to Ranjeet. Ranjeet, making a comeback after a real long time, bowled as though he had not missed a beat. He was bang on target from the first ball, and got 2 wickets of consecutive balls in his first over itself.

The Deep Creek CC innings folded soon after as SatCC wrapped up the tail quickly. Deep Creek CC ended up on 23/9, as they were one batsmen short. Ranjeet was the pick of the bowlers and ended up with figures of 3-0-5-3.

Ashish was the undisputed choice for Man of the Match. He bailed out SatCC today with his intelligent batting. While his efforts were brilliant, and there was good positive batting by Shiv and Viral, the rest of us still need to do a lot of work. Real good teams will not let us off the mat so easily. The trick is going to be to make sure we dont find ourselves backed into a corner. The quest to find ways and means to achieve this continues, even as we get ready for the last game of the 1st round next weekend.

So long for now. Someone from the team will be back here with the next match report next week. Before I end, Salutations once again to the Yankee fan for covering our backs today.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Redemption at it's BEST!!! Saturday CC Vs Islanders

Posting on behalf of Ashish who wrote this very nice report:

Chill weather was unexpected at this time of the year in SV, especially inlands. Harvey Park, Fremont was the match venue for second game of the first round. We anticipated this match to be a tough contest. Islanders are an upcoming team in TCA and have some good allrounders. We had played them in 2004 League in a very picturesque setting in Alameda. The team think tank (all 11 payers :-) ) was wondering whether to Set a target or Chase one and indeed it was a tough choice to make. Guess, loosing the toss put to rest that argument. Islanders put Sat CC into bat.

Parag and Sanjay started the innings on a slow but steady note. Parag looked in great touch hitting some nice drives but unlucky to find gaps. Sanjay on the other hand had to yet to open his account and he was keen to do so. Sanjay played a nice lofted drive straight down the throat off long on and was back into the pavilion for an unlucky duck. Naresh the most dependable of Sat CC batsmen took his stroll to the wicket with a task on hand. Islanders bowled a nice line and length and their orthodox spinners were quickly able to run through their overs. Naresh and Parag could not increase the scoring rate and even the craftiness of Naresh proved futile. Parag departed trying to up the scoring rate and Viral was sent in. It was Viral's second match and boy what a situation to walk in. Viral has a stock of nice shots in his batting arsenal and the Sat CC camp hoped he could get those out today. Viral too failed and got out cheaply. The score read 14/3 at the end 9 overs. Ashish who was sent in next could not build an innings scored 3 runs and got out cheaply giving an easy catch to long on. The 10th over fetched 5 runs (most runs since over 1) and at the break the score was 19/4 !!! (lowest score at the break for Sat CC in its rich TCA history). Nadeem joined Naresh who seemed to get back to his usual form but lost his way and was out. Madan walked in and he had a uphill battle of not only scoring runs but to keep his wicket as well. Both Madan and Nadeem displayed great technique and kept the score board moving. Madan was lucky not be given run out and boy he rode his luck in the game to the full. This partnership of 23 runs sailed Sat CC out of troubled waters and just before they could capitalize Nadeem departed with a well made 14 runs. Abhay, Shiv and Ahmed gave support to Madan who by now had created tremors in the Island of Islanders with his cracking drives and lofted shots. It was a great contest to watch between Islanders and Madan. Mind game was the name of the game being played there and Madan always had the upper hand. Sat CC score read just 63/9 with one ball to go.

The last ball of the over had Madan's name written all over it. Madan coaxed the bowler into giving him a short pitch ball and it was gone out of Harvey Park for a huge six!!! Sat CC needed those runs badly and everyone in the pavilion rushed into the field as if the match was won already.The adrenaline was so high that Ashish lost Madan's engagement ring in the field. The ring was found much to the relief of Madan :-)

69 to defend against Islanders was going to be an uphill battle for Sat CC especially without the likes of Wasim, Shankar and Kedar M. Abhay and Madan opened the bowling and Madan stuck the first blow in his very first over. The bowlers were backed well by everyone in the field and the Islanders could not sail off the Island.

Kedar B and Viral took the bowling attack from Abhay and Madan. Viral was very excited and his emotions were high costing a few wides but he claimed 2 good wickets. Kedar B took a very well judged catch on the run. Kedar B was at this best from the other end. I believe this was one of the best bowling performances I have seen of Kedar B. Spin bowling and looping deliveries at its best. Islanders had no answer to him and even one of their all-star Samay could only see the ball spin past his off stump. Kedar's bowling was very refreshing and Sat CC needed him to deliver today and boy he did so in great fashion. Things had tightened up for I'ders by this time and Ahmed hammered the nail further down by bowling Samay out on his very first delivery. Fall of his wicket just tightened Sat CC's grip on this match and victory now looked probable. At the end of 10 overs Islanders were 16 for 5 loosing one of their finest batsmen.

Overs 11-16 have always proved ineffective for Sat CC and we seem to loose our way during these overs. Wonder if there is any curse on Sat CC for these overs? Islanders batted with determination and with a purpose. Slowly but surely they clawed their way back into the game and by the end of 17th over the equation read 13 runs of 18 deliveries with 2 wkts. Islanders definitely had an upper hand (though slightly). 4 runs came of the next over with 1 wkt. Islanders now needed 9 runs in two overs. Abhay produced a gem of an over under pressure and gave just 2 runs and it all came down to the final over. 7 runs needed of 6 delivers with 1 wkt in hand. Madan was handed the bowling baton. The first ball was magnificently lofted straight down the wicket for 4 runs and it all seemed so blurry suddenly. The next delivery that Madan bowled was fast bowling at its best. It was an express deliver right in the block hole and even before the batsmen could react his off stump was sent flying. What a way to come back !! This day belonged to Madan and this win will go down as one of the finest individual performance in the history of Sat CC.

Madan was undisputably awarded the MoM for an unbeaten 24 and 2 wickets. Time and again bowlers have won matches for Sat CC, can the batting deliver in crucial games is the million dollar question ?


- Ashish

Monday, August 08, 2005

Saturday CC-Challengers Match Report

Kedar B, Shiv rescue Saturday CC

It was quite a sight. A veteran of several matches alongside an up and coming star. One playing shots from the coaching manual while the other using the bat more like a broom. You cant have two more different batsmen playing at the same time. However, they had one common goal – to take Saturday CC out of the deep hole its lower middle order had dug in. On the fence (the umpire did not allow Saturday CC to sit in the dug-out), the bowlers were already discussing how this meager total can be defended. The score read 63 for 9 (it read 61 for 4, 12 deliveries back), Shiv and Kedar B displayed great guts and application to take Saturday CC to 81 for 9. While Kedar B drove stylishly, Shiv walked across the wickets a la Javed Miandad to whip the deliveries towards deep square leg region. Shiv scored 11 while Kedar B made 3 not out. In addition, they also accumulated 3 more runs in the form of extras to put together a partnership of 18 for the last wicket. At the end of 20 overs, Saturday CC had posted 81 for 9.

It looked like Saturday CC would get much more than that when after Naresh elected to bat first, Parag was in cracking form. Initially, he cut the ball hard in to the ground on the off-side to get singles, however, as his confidence increased, he played some Sehwagish upper cuts to clear the high baseball fence. Sanjay could not put away a widish short delivery outside off but Naresh replaced him and quickly restored order. Naresh and Parag took the score to 29 when a mix-up resulted in Parag running out. He scored a flawless 13.

Ashish joined Naresh but the run-out express was now picking up steam. Ashish and Naresh were involved in another run-out. With the score still reading 41 for 3, Ashish skied one to point and it now read 41 for 4. The fall of two quick wickets saw Kedar M and Madan join forces in the middle after a long time. Kedar was returning to cricket after making a beautiful contribution to the Satcricket team of 2025, and he looked in great touch. A couple of ferocious pulls proved that and the opposition was already feeling the heat. Madan also looked in great touch a cracking cover drive testament to that. The pair took the score to 61 when Madan action-replayed Sanjay and got out trying to cut a short and widish ball. Abhay played a nothing shot and inside-edged an innocuous ball onto the stumps (63 for 6). Shankar and Kedar M sleep walked through another mix-up and Shankar then tried to run a non-existent single to short fine-leg. Nadeem was unlucky to see his drive plucked off the ground by a brilliant covers fieldsman. And that is what brought Shiv and Kedar B together to perform the Houdini act.

81 seemed like a pretty gettable total for a decent batting team. The pitch was hard and the ball was coming at a very nice pace off the pitch. Saturday CC bowlers were confident of making a match (win) out of it. In the absence of Wasim and Ahmed, however, there was no margin for error.

Abhay and Shankar started the proceedings for Saturday CC. In the second over, with the score reading 2 for no loss, Shankar induced a thick edge which looked like it will travel well wide of Sanjay at first slip. Sanjay had different ideas. He kept low and nicely dived towards his right caught the ball and held on as he hit the ground. It was the catch of the match.

The first change batsman was waving his bat like Bhimsen would wave his club. That prompted Saturday CC think tank to push the mid-on (Madan) a little deep. Kedar M and Shiv made sure that the deep mid-on was not needed. He induced an outside edge off Kannan which was turned down by the umpire (one of the many umpiring mistakes). The next ball was wide outside off and while the main umpire was signaling a wide, Shiv noticed that the batsman had stepped outside the crease. He threw down the stumps to effect a stunning stumping. Even Kannan was surprised to see himself standing outside the crease. Sethu and Prakash put together a pretty good partnership. Scoring singles and the occasional double, they took the score to 41 off 13 overs. Saturday CC fielders aided the scoring by not catching well and misfielding several times. Even better fielders like Parag had an off day.

Kedar M came back in the 13th over and made Prakash sky one to Madan. Madan ran back and made a very difficult catch look simple. It was a much needed break-through. Naresh made it a double break-through by scalping Sethu caught by Kedar B. Kedar B ran all the way from mid-off to deep extra cover to take a spectacular catch on the run. The required run-rate had ballooned to 6 an over. But the Challengers were somehow able to keep it there. 9 runs were scored off the 16th over and 27 were needed off the last 4. A situation similar to last year’s final. The quality of batting and the ground conditions were not quite the same.

Abhay started the 17th over. Ankur slogged at the first ball over mid-wicket where Parag ran behind Kedar M and made up for the earlier dropped catch. The next ball was a Yorker on the off stump which Sumeet was not able to negotiate. Off the last ball of the 17th over, Vinayak set-off for a non-existent single to Nadeem. Nadeem throw was way wide. But Abhay was able to collect it and knock down the stumps in time. Three wickets in one over and the momentum turned Saturday CC’s way.

In spite of Abhay conceding 8 off the 19th over, Challengers needed 12 off Madan’s last over. What they got were 6 whiff’s. Madan was firing on all cylinders despite nursing a sore ankle. Challengers’s tail swung through Madan’s express over, connected for a couple of runs and Saturday CC was victorious by 9 runs.

Kedar M was declared man of the match, but he was quick to acknowledge that the Men of the Match were Kedar B and Shiv. But for their last wicket partnership, Saturday CC was staring at a certain defeat. Saturday CC bowlers did a pretty good job at defending 81. Shankar was the most economical conceding 5 off 3 overs while claiming one wicket. Kedar M took 3 wickets for 15 off 4 overs.

There were 4 run-outs in Saturday CC innings. And none of them was due to an outstanding fielding effort. Batting collapses have become the norm for us and we find different ways of doing it. What can be done to cure this seemingly incurable deficiency? Maybe, chasing a small total can help boost our confidence?