Saturday Cricket Club Blog

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?


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