Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Win is a Win

Today, July 22nd 2006 is the hottest day in Bay Area. Several records for high temperature have been broken. A win couldn't have come at a better time.

Yes, SCC continues to remain Panthers' nemesis. This time, it was so even without the man who's behind those unbelievable comeback wins -- Abhay. We were playing with a balanced team though and little did we know what it means to play at 103 degrees F.

Match started with a cool first wicket partnership of 23 runs with Parag and Viral who both played sensibly. Parag was the first to fall on 23 and then Viral soon fell on 27. Both of them played well. Nadeem, one of the captains :) steadied the ship along with Taroon and we were 39/2 in 12 overs. It was beginning to heat and SCC batsmen too decided to pound on the loose deliveries. The charge was led mostly by Nadeem at this time. But soon both of them fell and it was Kedar M and Shantanu at the crease and they led the team into 70's when Shantanu was beaten by a slow off-spin to get clean bowled and Kedar M was beaten by a slower one to balloon one into the gulley. What then ensued was a great combination of stroke-play by Shiv and Gyanesh who hit well and ran well between the wickets. Shiv made a composed 21 and Gyanesh made sensible 12. It was 106/7 in 25 overs. We played the full quota of 25 overs. 67 runs were scored in last 13 overs.

There were a number of good things to be said about this kind of batting. The best was 5 batsmen scoring in double figures! This is what we need.

107 was not an easy task for Panthers. Not only did they need to keep the wickets, but also had to maintain a run-rate of around 4. Wasim drew the first blood when an opener skied one to deep mid-on. Shantanu struck back with a beautiful around the leg fooling of the other opener. Great ball indeed. Raghav Rao and Yalla played sensibly and there was no success for tiring SCC bowlers till over number 14. Both these batsmen got lives. But wickets kept on falling at regular intervals and soon it was 14 off 12 with 3 wickets in hand. Shantanu was agile at short mid-on and quickly grabbed one and had non-striker out of the crease by a yard or so for a run-out. Immediately following that Hardik made a sensational deep mid-off catch looking directly into the Sun. That was Raghav's catch and that looked like would turn the match to SCC side. That's when Kedar M was unable to contain himself and started bowling rather too many wides/no balls. This is yet another thing that he's still to learn. He ended up giving 10 runs although 2 wickets were claimed. It was Shantanu's turn to bowl with only 3 runs to spare.

Final over. 4 runs to win. 1 wicket in hand. Man, it does not become more interesting than that.

Shantanu had been holding to a great line and length. Viresh Amin got one on the off and middle and he just ballooned it in air. The off-side had a slippery slope -- it was Shantanu''s catch. He called for it. Again, looking into the Sun, keeping the eye on the ball, he held that catch and won the match for SCC. What a play! I have no idea how he held that catch. Awesome.

In the end, it was battle of nerves. People were so tired that hardly anyone moved. Dehydration was felt by many. It could have gone either way. And I am sure the loss was very disheartening for the Panthers.

This is a great win with all SCC men being the "Men of the Match"!
Let's carry this momentum into the Open Tournament.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Federer, the king of grass!

Well, this is not a post about Cricket. I am sure though you'll pardon my little digression for I wanted to write about Roger Federer's win at the Wimbledon this year.

Few things have motivated me more than a Men's Singles Tennis match at any of the Grand Slam destinations. Also, the history of this great game is studded with timeless rivalries that are the hallmark of the game itself. We grew up with the backdrop of rivalry of Borg and McEnroe and then it was McEnroe-Connors, Becker-Edberg, Becker-Lendl, Sampras-Agassi and just when we were looking for a game-enriching rivalry, Federer and Nadal rekindled it.

Sunday's Men's Singles Final match @ Wimbledon 2006 was a terrific display of high class tennis as Federer aptly put it. And it was a treat to watch. Although Federer won it in 4 sets (6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3) it was far from a lop-sided game. Both of them played their best tennis and in the end, the better (just a shade) player won it.

Tennis is an amazing sport.