Saturday Cricket Club Blog

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Kedar blitzkrieg leads to facile victory over Panthers

Saturday CC went into the game against Panthers after 3 consecutive losses. Inconsistent batting and at times poor bowling and fielding had let the team down in those games. However, the team morale was high. The team was cheerful prior to the start of the game and the dugout chirpy.

Panthers won toss and inexplicably put us in perhaps not wanting to field in the second innings when it was going to get very hot. In the absence of Ananth, Kedar was asked to open with Nadeem. The ground looked high-scoring and 90+ was considered par for the course. However, it was a hot day and everyone urged everyone else to conserve their energies. Ashish and Shiv did a yeoman’s job by purchasing additional water and Gatorade.

As the match started, Kedar lofted one over mid-on on the last ball of the first over for a couple – signaling his intentions early. Nadeem gave him nice company getting the occasional 2’s and 3’s sometimes aided by some poor fielding by the Panthers. Score had progressed to 25 in 6 overs when Nadeem got out – caught backing up too far on a direct hit from short mid-off. He scored 12 off 19 deliveries. This start provided the platform for the rest of the batting.

Naresh joined Kedar and continued building up. Taking the occasional extra base hits until the 9th over when it started raining 4s and 6s. Manohar had bowled a tidy line so far. But he gave Kedar one in the slot and was quickly put away over mid-wicket for a one-bounce 4. Anticipating Kedar’s intentions he dropped one short. But Kedar was more than up to the task – rocking back to pull him over deep backward square leg for a huge six. There was a fielder positioned there. But he was left watching the majestic trajectory of the ball sailing way over him. In the dugout we were – “dancing in the aisles” as some well known TV commentator would put it.

On the stroke of the break though Naresh was surprised with a ball that climbed on him, hit the handle of the bat on the way to short mid-wicket. It was sort of an action replay of the Rahul Dravid dismissal from the Kanpur test (

There were no Morkel’s or Steyn’s in the Panthers line-up however. And that uneven bounce turned out to be an aberration. Praveen joined Kedar after the break and quickly set about making the most of the opportunity. Next 2 overs fetched 16 runs with both Praveen and Kedar running hard between the wickets and in part aided by poor fielding by the Panthers. Praveen played a couple of nice lofted drives in the vacant mid-wicket area. There were a couple of dropped catches in this period. Kedar made Panthers realize those blunders by hitting Manish over widish mid-on for huge six. By now, Kedar was approaching his 50 and everyone in the dugout was counting his every run. A boundary off Raghav bought him closer. On the other end – Praveen got a rough dismissal when he was adjudged stumped off Manish. Mahesh was promoted up the order and he too looked good in the middle until he tried to hit them too hard. Kedar completed his 50 in great style late-cutting Ajay behind point. Shortly after completing his fifty Kedar departed caught by Viresh off Raghav. While getting his 50 he was involved in partnerships of 25, 27, 21 and 20 with Nadeem, Naresh, Praveen and Mahesh respectively. We were privileged to see a gem of an innings. It not only put Sat CC firmly on course to beating Panthers but also exorcised the demons in the heads of Sat CC batting line-up.

Jayanth hit a couple of crisp boundaries on the off (a backfoot cover drive/punch through cover and another lofted extra cover drive) and ran hard with Ashish to put the icing on the cake. Saturday CC finished with 124 for 7 (yours truly was out without facing a ball as he took on the mid-off fielder).

125 on this pitch was not totally out of reach. Praveen and Kedar opened the bowling for Saturday CC. Panthers seemed to be keen to get on with the game batting aggressively from the word go. A couple of lofted shots landed between Abhay and Viral (mid-on and mid-wicket). Praveen persisted with his good line though and got his just reward when Kedar took a sharp catch at long-off. Kedar followed up with a wicket of his own when he made Ajay pop one up for a simple catch for Ashish at point.

Panthers were 18 for 2 in 4 overs.

Gyanesh and Mahesh took the baton from Kedar and Praveen and bowled 6 overs of disciplined bowling. Gyanesh in particular bowled really well not conceding any runs even though the Panthers looked to attack. Sat CC fielding was improving as well and Naresh took a beauty off Mahesh diving full length to his right to pouch a full blooded pull near the square leg umpire. The batsman was stunned with that catch and would have considered himself unlucky. After all, how many times do you see such catches in the TCA. Buoyed by the wickets Sat CC bowlers had their tail up. At the break Panthers were 37 for 5. They needed 88 in 10 overs a task that was quickly getting out of their reach.

Ashish and Jayanth bowled some tidy overs and made sure the required run rate kept on climbing. Jayanth got the dangerous looking Raghav to spoon a catch to Shiv while Ashish got Yella who had started to use the long handle. Abhay conceded 9 off his first over but quickly regained his composure to concede 6 off his next two. After the 17th over, Panthers gave up the idea of trying to win and instead were trying to get themselves a bonus point. Saturday CC had the opportunity to get another bonus point. But the team was not keen to make sure they got it. This may prove costly in our quest of reaching the quarter finals of the TCA league.

Panthers labored to 90 for 9 in the allotted 20 overs. Gyanesh (3-0-7-0), Mahesh (4-0-16-2), Kedar (2-0-8-1), Praveen (2-0-10-1) and Jayanth (3 wickets for 22) all bowled very well. The fielding was also good considering that it was not easy to field on the off side (especially at long off).

We all will remember this game for Kedar’s innings though. I have seen quite a few of them over the last few years and looking at the way Kedar batted this time I am sure we will see a few more this season.

Good work Sat CC. Now lets try to win the next two to keep ourselves in contention by winning the next two games.

P.S. A special note of thanks to Vivek who did a yeoman's job by bringing drinks to all the fielders throughout the Panthers innings. It was a very hot day and Vivek made sure that the team stayed hydrated and focussed on the job at hand. Great job Vivek! You have shown the way and it is for others to make this a Sat CC tradition.