Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Winning Start to 2nd Round of Open 2006

Saturday CC made a good start today to the Second Round of TCA Open 2006 tournament. There are going to be 3 matches in this round and we will probably need to win all 3 to advance to the next round. Today was a fine way to begin that quest.

SatCC was facing Dunford Devils today at Gill Park, a ground where we have suffered two embarassing defeats during League games in the last 2 years. So there was added pressure to perform well. The pitch looked dusty with heavy grass in the outfield. It looked as if scoring would be difficult on this ground. With that in mind, Dunford Devils won the toss and put SatCC into bat.

In the absence of Nadeem, Shiv opened the innings with Viral. However, he was soon back in the hut Run Out for 1 with the team score on 5. It definitely was not an ideal start to the innings, but we have to be ready to play through such hiccups, and that is exactly what Viral and Naresh did. Both took their time to get their eye in, not taking any undue risks, but still moving the scorecard at a decent clip. After 5 overs, SatCC had made 18. Soon Viral found his groove and started playing some powerful pulls, hooks and flicks. He regularly cleared the baseball fence on his Leg side to collect 2s with minumum risk. The opposing bowlers kept bowling to his strength and it was easy pickings for Viral. Naresh did the smart thing by picking up singles at every opportunity and rotating the strike. At the break the score had reached 44. The two batsmen managed 27 runs in 5 overs before the break.

After the break, Viral continued in the same vein and the score had moved to 57 when Viral was done in by a very fast and well directed Yorker. But before he got out, he had added 36 chanceless runs. His 36 contained 12 doubles. An amazing innings. Naresh and Viral put on 52 runs for the second wicket. Naresh soon was run out for a well made 16 with the score on 64 in the 15th over. Mayank and Madan played out a couple of overs not taking risks and the score reached 70 after 16 overs.

The last 4 overs saw plenty of fireworks from the two batsmen. The running between the wickets was frantic, and 1s were converted regularly into 2s. Mayank hit two wonderful boundaries in the Midwicket region. Madan survived a dropped catch and hit a Six after a long time. The innings finally closed on 109 as 39 runs were plundered in the last 4 overs. The two had a partnership of 45 runs in 32 deliveries. Mayank made a brilliant 27 in just 23 deliveries, while Madan contributed 19 to the cause.

With such a big total to chase, the task was never going to be easy for Dunford Devils. And Abhay made the task doubly difficult for them in the First over. Of the very First delivery, Abhay got Sriram cleaned up behind his legs as the ball hit the root of the leg Stump. Of the third delivery, a surprisingly fast but low full toss, the next batsmen hit all around it and was clean bowled to leave Dunford Devils tottering at 2 wickets for 0 runs.

With such a start, the task kept becoming increasingly difficult. Shantanu bowled a tight spell and frustrated the next batsman into a rash shot to give Madan an easy catch. Gyanesh joined in the fun and picked up 2 wickets. Naresh plucked a thunderous drive at short mid-off of his bowling, while Hardik held onto a nice catch at covers. Dunford Devils batsmen then swung their bats to collect a couple of fours and a Six but the final result was never in doubt.

Naresh made a diving stop and effected a run out. Shiv affected a smart stumping of Mayank's bowling. Abhay and Shiv had 2 more runouts and then Mayank finished off things as Shantanu held on to an easy catch at square leg. Dunford Devils innings closed on 72 giving SatCC an easy 37 run victory.

While the bowling was not upto the mark today, the victory was all but sealed by our top order batsmen. Viral, Naresh and Mayank played impressive innings to help build a big total, while Madan chipped in with a cameo, albeit a lucky one.

Viral was named Man of the Match. He is really setting the tone for us every match and is putting us in a position to win almost every time. Now with Naresh and Mayank also finding form, the top order looks good. We will have to tighten up our bowling a bit and make sure that the rest of us are also able to make useful contributions with the bat.

In the end, a very convincing win. And we need to keep up the efforts and performances.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Another Convincing Victory

After the gut wrenching loss to StarsCC a couple of weeks ago, a lot of soul searching was done that week. The entire team was disappointed with that performance. The result was a record attendance of 14 people for the next practice session, on a Long Weekend no less. The practice session was quite intensive as there seemed an added edge to every body's efforts that day. This boded well for our Final Match of the First Round.

SatCC was facing Bay Tigers, the team that handed them an embarassing defeat in the Finals of the TCA Open tournament last week. Although the defeat still rankles, that was then... this is now.

Our team has changed quite a bit from then. A lot of our stalwarts from past seasons have moved on and we have had to add quite a few new faces this year. This team is still getting to know each other better, but the new guys have quickly started to gel in and also impress all with their performances. So this game was really not about revenge, it was about us trying to beat a good team and gain some momentum for the next rounds.

SatCC won the toss and elected to field. Abhay and Shantanu started the proceedings and were bang on from the second ball on (the first was a No Ball). Both of them bowled a tight line and tied up the batsmen. The infield was alert and runs were dried up. The result was a wild heave from the opening batsman and an easy catch for Viral of Abhay's bowling. By the time Shantanu finished his spell, Bay Tigers had managed only 18 in 8 overs. Even their best batsmen, Avinash was not able to move the score card fast enough. The good work done by these 2 was more than ably supported by the rest of the bowlers.At the break the score was 20 for 1.

Hardik and Mayank tightened the noose further after the break and the opposition batsmen tried to hit their way out of trouble, but to no avail. Wickets kept tumbling and soon the Bay Tigers innings had folded for 42. Shantanu effected a couple of run outs to help the team cause.

Hardik was the most impressive bowler and ended up with 3 wickets. Mayank and Madan also bowled useful spells. The two deliveries of the innings were 2 Yorkers that rattled the timber. One was bowled by Hardik, the other by Abhay.

43 was always going to be an easy target and SatCC eased to victory in 13 overs. Viral looked in wonderful touch and ended up scoring 20. Some of his pulls and flicks were real beauties. He has shown good form this tournament and we need him to keep up the good work at the top of the order.

The victory was tempered a bit by an unfortunate incident during the game and there was not much celebrating. Sanjeev Kumar Das, one of the Bay Tigers team member, suffered from chest pains during our innings and had to be rushed to the hospital. Some of our team members rushed Sanjeev to the hospital (Kedar B, Karthik and Vishal) even as the game was progressing. It was learnt later that this was just in the nick of time. Sanjeev did suffer from a heart attack but we have been informed by Bay Tigers that he is out of danger right now and doing well. All of us here wish him a very speedy recovery and return to good health very soon. And Kudos to our own 911 team (Kedar B, Karthik and Vishal). Awesome Guys!!! You make us proud.

Some words about the opposition team. Bay Tigers is comprised of very good cricketers who have proved themselves by winning the Open tournament last year. But their whole demeanour, the way they carry themselves, their friendly attitude with the opposition team is quite exemplary. The fact that their minds must have been on their ailing teammate during the game will most surely have affected their concentration and performance, but there was no mention of that as an excuse, and they were very gracious in defeat.

Avinash (their captain) send a Thanks to our team members who were very supportive of Sanjeev and also congratulations on our win. Quite the champion, I dare say.

And so we move on to the next round. And here's hoping our performance yesterday is a sign of things to come.