Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Thrilling Win Against Kasturi Pade ...

Excitement, Passion, Spirit that's what SatCC's cricket is all about. Accepting a defeat and relishing a nice victory are a part and parcel of this great game that we all enjoy. What happened on 15 Mar was a resounding testament of the same.

California weather is back and I can not admire it enough. Picturesque background of mountains, lush green outfield of the Gill Park, cloudless azure skies and the Sun, a nice brigade of good men who enjoy playing cricket and playing it hard, Saturday mornings, Oh, it can't get better than this. And what makes it more interesting is the way SatCC pours the unforgettable excitement to the mix. Isn't life lived king size with all of this?

It was a crucial game since SatCC had lost the season opener rather poorly and Kasturi Pade is a respected team in the TCA league. A match against Kasturi Pade (KP) is always a close encounter and some of you might remember how closely SatCC won the last encounter against them, last year. This year, it was almost a Deja Vu as you'll soon find out ...

Nadeem lost the toss and was put in to field by KP. The Gill Park pitch is more predictable than some other venues and has got support for both batsmen and bowlers. I now think that this park has transformed itself into the Dunford-I ground where scoring a high score is always a challenge and 65 in 20 can be defended easily, with a decent bowling attack. Here, KP batsmen started on a cautious note. Bowling with the "furry" ball is a challenge and Kedar and Satish felt that while bowling to a tidy line. Satish was especially very effective and he got two wickets in his first over, one being caught nicely by Abhay at mid-on and other dragging one onto his stumps. Ashish could get into rhythm, but since Nadeem had several choices today, Imran was brought into attack in the sixth over and Oh Boy! he bowled a heck of a line/length and pace. There is something unique about this bowler. Accuracy of line, tidy run-up, nice and clean action, ability to bowl quick balls in succession makes him as lethal as he is. He grabbed two in his first two overs and soon KP were 16 for 4. Jayanth too bowled a good line although he bowled at a lower pace and bounce than usually is the case. Nadeem and Ashish were as agile as ever, Ashish holding on to a difficult chance with a slide and Nadeem grabbing Nitin on a foolish run-off-a-misfield attempt. At the break, it was 24 for 4 and the first session was eventful for SatCC. Abhay made a candid remark saying we should concede another 24 runs in next 10 overs and everyone said it was up to him as he remains SatCC's number 11 (i.e. the bowler who bowls 11th over of the innings). Mahesh and Abhay bowled well and although they were effective, KP batsmen were able to pick up a few singles. Especially, Srikara played a good knock of 22(30). Imran came back and finished the tail off with some fantastic bowling (should I say reverse swing?) and quick pick-up and throw during the follow-through. The bowling analysis for Imran read
4-0-8-4. This is quite remarkable.

In spite all of this, I thought KP managed to get a good total of 60 in 19.3 overs.

To tell you the truth, it is tricky to chase this kind of score on Gill Park.

Nadeem and Ananth started rather cautiously. Ananth is known for playing his shots, the one that he hits straight over the bowler's head being one of them. He did hit one of those, but was caught rather nicely at mid-off while trying a similar one. That brought Viral to the crease and he looked confident right from the start. The majestic pull shots and elegant drives started flowing off his bat. The footwork looked perfect. On the other side, Nadeem had slowed down a bit and was really choked in the over he got out. Somehow, he was not picking the length of the deliveries today and after having played four dot balls, fell to the one just-out-side-the-off.

Kedar joined hands with Viral and the two had a good partnership of 19 runs for the third wicket. At the break SatCC were 24 for 2 which means, KP were successful in the third quarter of the match. 37 in 10 with 8 wickets in hand. Looks simple. But it rarely is.

Viral was the next one to go as both Kedar and Viral misjudged the second run which was there. "Running between the wickets is a delicate skill that top-order batsmen ought to master" -- someone has said. I think SatCC has to include this generally ignored but vital part of batsmanship in their practice sessions. That was a sad end to an otherwise impeccable innings. Viral played brilliantly for his 16 off 27. Some may think the Vintage Viral is back, but I think he was always there, falling cheaply when he did not score.

Ashish was a little uncomfortable and ended ballooning one to square-leg.

Kedar had to now consolidate the innings and score some runs as he was well set. But while running a run he fell and that unintentional thing made him lose his concentration. The next ball on middle and off was rather full and he played all over it. The result - a familiar falling-short on Kedar's part. I think everyone understands how hard it is -- what Gavaskar once said, "Don't leave it for the next batsman". After having scored 14 off 23, Kedar once again failed to score!

Imran was the next batsman and SatCC were rather confident about his batting. But the disaster struck and to his surprise, he was bowled around the legs! It was quite unbelievable. Imran was so upset with him and was finding it too hard to get over the fact that he was out in a quite mediocre way.

Jayanth on the other hand (and end :)), was playing a steady innings under pressure. His innings reminded me of Sir Richard Hadlee. Hard hit straight drives, man I loved watching those. Satish played a cameo but a nasty attempt (to run a run that was not there) ran him out. I term this as a "Harakiri Run".

This landed SatCC in an ironically familiar situation. It has been happening rather too many times. 46 for 6 in 16 overs. 49 for 7 in 17 overs. 3 overs and 12 runs. 3 wickets in hand. Anyone familiar with cricket-with-cricket ball would argue that this is easily "gettable" equation. But therein lies the uncertainty of tennis ball cricket. Both Jayanth and Abhay played sensibly and that was the most remarkable part of SatCC run-chase. Nudging the ball, playing the straight drives and running well and hard got us to the culmination - 4 runs in the last over. 2 singles of the first two balls. Abhay waiting patiently for the bad ball. He got one. Short and on the middle. The next moment we saw that outside the mid-wicket boundary, which fetches only a couple on Gill Park :). That's it. A fantastic win. Mr. Cool's - Abhay and Jayanth winning it for SatCC.

Several things to remember and cherish and learn from this game of cricket.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

League 2008 Schedule ...

Here is the schedule in plain HTML:
  • We are in group A with few others: Catalysters, Spanglers, Kasturi Pade, Thunderbolts, Panthers, SJSU Knights, Murdock CC, SE 11
The schedule/result is/was as follows (Date, Opponent, Result, Points, Cumulative Points):
  1. Sat 01 Mar, Thunderbolts, Loss, 0, 0
  2. Sat 08 Mar, Kasturi Pade, Win, 16,16
  3. 15 Mar -- SCC Umpiring Weekend
  4. Sat 22 Mar, SE 11, Loss, 0,16
  5. Sat 29 Mar, Spanglers, 0, 16
  6. Sat 05 Apr, SJSU Knights, 0, 16
  7. Sat 12 Apr, Panthers, 16, 32
  8. Sat 19 Apr, Murdock CC, --, --
  9. Sat 26 Apr, Catalysters, --, --
  10. 03 May -- SCC Umpiring Weekend