Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Saturday CC holds nerve to win thriller

Saturday CC was playing San Ramon CC (SRCC) after a two week break in the first of the two second round matches. The match was played in the far-off Pacific field in San Leandro. Saturday CC team was motivated for the match as was evident with all 12 assembling before 8 am.

The field was dusty and even after cleaning it up, it looked like the pitch would suit the bowlers as the ball was stopping after pitching. This prompted Naresh to elect to field after winning the toss.

Abhay and Shankar started the proceedings for Saturday CC. San Ramon CC openers used the slog sweep very productively to score some quick runs. They ran aggressively and the difference between the first round teams and San Ramon CC was apparent.

Shankar made early inroads in the 4th over when he induced Ganesh to play at a shortish ball uppishly. It looked like the upper cut will clear Ashish at point. But Ashish timed his jumped perfectly, padded the ball with soft hands and completed a fantastic catch. SRCC were 12 for 1 after 4. In the 6th over, Shankar’s third, Satya misjudged a delivery on the middle and leg and was bowled around his legs. Mahesh, the new batsman, hit a cracking lofted on-drive which easily cleared mid-on for a four. The score read 20 for 2 after 6. Kedar M, Ahmed and Kedar B were not able to make further inroads and SRCC were 35 for 2 after 10 overs.

Madan started after the break and bowled an express delivery on the length which clean bowled the dangerous looking Mahesh. The opener Sadish was still at the crease and he was accumulating runs with ease. Saturday CC bowlers, with the exception of Ahmed, were not able to put the ball in the right place to stem the run flow. Ahmed got Sadish to pop one out to Shiv who displayed great concentration in holding on to the catch even as the non-striker (Rajesh) tried to run over him. Shiv was shaken up by the collision but was allright and did not suffer any serious injury. Rajesh had no business running the way he did and Saturday CC players were not at all impressed with his act. After 14, SRCC were 55 for 4 and a big total looked on the cards.

Shankar bowled a fantastic maiden over – the 15th of the innings. However, SRCC scored 22 in the last 5 overs to finish with 77 for 8. On that pitch, it was a very competitive score for that pitch and playing conditions. Sadish topscored for SRCC with 21 and extras came in second at 15.

Viral and Parag opened for Sat CC. Parag looked positively aggressive from the outset lofting one over mid-off for a couple in the very first over. Viral looked in great touch as well, lofting one over the fence on the leg-side. He used the gaps on the off-side very intelligently to pick up singles and twos. SRCC bowlers were bowling a tidy line and kept the run-rate in check. Ramana and Mahesh looked their best bowlers. Ramana broke through for SRCC on his very first ball as he bowled a snorter to make Parag top-edge one to the keeper. Parag made a well-paced 10 and more importantly laid a great foundation for the Sat CC run chase. Kedar M went in at no. 3 but was dismissed on the stroke of the break as he chased a wide ball outside off. Sat CC were 31 for 2 after 10.

After the break, Naresh and Viral started to accelerate. 6 came of the 11th over, but Sat CC were not able to score off Ramana and Mahesh and that kept SRCC in the game. 8 runs were scored in the 13th over. The asking run rate was inching towards 5. In the 14th over, Viral tried to go for the big one and was caught. He made 25. His innings created a launching pad for Sat CC middle order. What was even more important was the way in which Viral fought out the initial few overs as he was trying to get a feel of the pace of the pitch.

Madan joined Naresh after the fall of Viral’s wicket. They quickly settled down and started taking singles and twos. 7 came off the 15th over and the score read 56 for 3 after 15. 22 were needed in 5 overs. SRCC had a tough problem of trying to squeeze in two overs from their fifth bowler. They had already used 7 different bowlers and they were having conferences after each over to figure out what was the best time to squeeze in the two overs. They chose to introduce a new bowler in the 16th over and that was a costly mistake. Madan made them pay for it by first cracking a magnificient extra cover drive for 4 and then pulling one for another. 12 runs came off the first 5 deliveries. The last ball was a rank long hop which Madan tried to hit out of the park. But he only succeeded in holing out to deep square leg. His 6 ball innings got Sat CC within shouting distance of an easy victory. He scored 12 runs.

10 runs were needed off 4 overs. Shiv went in and after patiently blocking a couple of deliveries, tonked Ramana over mid-wicket for a cracking four. However, he got out the very next ball, as he tried to clear the boundary again – this time off a full-toss.

Abhay walked in and inexplicably tried to drive one full and fast delivery from Mahesh and was clean bowled. This clearly was a very poor shot to play at this juncture. Ashish could not negotiate a Yorker and suddenly Sat CC had lost 4 quick wickets.

Mahesh bowled an express 18th over and took 2 wickets and in doing so brought SRCC into the game. The equation now read 6 needed in 2 overs. Shankar and Naresh scored 4 runs in the 19th over which was riddled with controversy as SRCC argued over a no-ball call. The issue was settled after the umpire called Ajay to confirm that the back leg no-ball rule was in effect. Tempers frayed on both sides during this break as both sides were pumped up. Couple of SRCC players were especially provoking the Sat CC bench by showing up after each wicket. Sat CC reciprocated after each run and that added to the furore.

The long delay seemed to distract Shankar and he was bowled in the 19th over. Kedar B joined Naresh as 2 runs were needed in the last over with 2 wickets in hand. Naresh scored a single off the second ball. Kedar B blocked 3 deliveries before scoring the winning run off the last ball of the match. Naresh captained the rocking ship out of the rocky and choppy waters with a well-made 18 not out.

Viral was adjudged man of the match for his 25 runs. Naresh's captains knock of 18 ensured that Sat CC did not lose the game while Madan's rocking 12 runs propelled Sat CC over the required run-rate.

It was a real thriller and the Sat CC lower order almost made a mess of it. An analysis of our shortcomings:

  1. Too many extras conceded. We allowed 15 extras which is criminal.
  2. We conceded 54 runs in 10 overs. We need to minimize the big overs.
  3. 3 batsmen (Madan, Shiv and Abhay) were out trying to hit a forcing shot when all that was needed was a single. We need to develop this professional attitude.
  4. The lower order needs to do a better job of negotiating a good bowler. Shankar and Kedar B showed how this can be done.
  5. And lastly, the think tank needs to keep an even keel and not get dragged into controversies or needless trash talk. We would have won the match if we had merely tied it. But nobody thought about it and instead the message from the sidelines was for Naresh and Kedar B to run for a single no matter what. If they had run for a non-existent single and gotten out, we would have lost the match (the tie-breaker now relies on wickets lost and we would have lost one more SRCC).

It was a great cricket match though and was enjoyed thoroughly by both teams. Sat CC finished on the winning side one more time in a tough match. Lets use this game to feel confident about ourselves!

3 Comments:

  • Can't stop saying -- good report. It appears though to me that it was more of a post-mortem than analysis. To be frank, we all are playing to the fullest capacity of ourselves, with whatever shortcomings we have. Notwithstanding the amount of analysis we do, we are going to have a few problems for we are too old (at least I am) to change :). I am just wondering the merit of the statement: "We could have done better" beyond the generic truth in it.

    As far as SRCC is concerned, Sathya's over was their blunder and that's where they lost it. They were just ignorant of the fact that Madan was batting at that time.

    By Blogger KedarsThoughtsWork, at 9:25 AM  

  • This match did bring out the problems/issues that we need to work. The biggest one that I see is extras !!! Every match we are conceeding more than 12-14 extras. This seriously needs to be worked on.

    By Blogger Ashish, at 9:43 AM  

  • Kedar, there is no doubt everyone is putting all they have got into the game. But we still have to learn to keep our heads. The temparament aspect(as individuals) still has not improved after so many years. That definitely needs to change. "We have to do better" when it comes to temparament. An example was me throwing away my wicket. How many times have seen that happen? Its my obligation to the team to try my level best to iron out this flaw, and obviously I am still not there yet. Similar is the case for others as well.

    Extras is another example. Most close matches that we have lost, the diference has always been Extras, in that we give away more of those than the opposition (a whole lot more). Any time a team gives us less than 10 extras, we find it difficult to score runs. Which also highlights our inability to rotate the strike. So we should make efforts to improve.

    And btw, you are never too old or its never too late to change :-)

    By Blogger Madan Joshi, at 11:11 AM  

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