At the onset, let me say that Cleveland OH is amzingly consistent in its inconsistent weather conditions. Moreover, this year it seems as if Fall has come before Summer.. see what a recession can do :)
So, July 25, Saturday perhaps had the most awaited clash of the league. Cleveland CC vs Greater Detroit CC. We knew through the week that there was a big chance of rain on that day. But given the true nature of these two teams, every effort was made to ensure that the elements would not take away the fun. To begin with, GDCC was sporting enough to have a game start of 9:30 am which meant that they would need to start from the Detroit area around about 6 am!
When we reached the ground, the conditions were unrelenting, dark clouds and extremely windy with rain imminent and then it started to drizzle steadily. But at a distance we could see some silver lining! and it truly was one, that came our way and with wind playing its part, the clouds began to open a bit, and we ceased the opportunity. Game on.
We huddled quickly and had a chat, if we wanted to bowl or bat. Conditions begged that we bowl first but Duckworth-Lewis meant we didnt want to chase a moving target. Anyways at the spin of the toss that dilemma was of little importance as GDCC won the toss and decided to bat, and methinks they decided to take on the natural elements rather than face the man-made rules/ moving targets.
The match was reduced to a 35 over game.
Chirag opened the bowling and the first ball I collected was above my shoulders! :). The wind was behind the bowlers and that remained the case all through the morning. Their openers did face our fast bowling quite bravely to get some good runs on the board. We got the first breakthrough when Deepak bowled a beauty - a smart incutter which swung in a yard and hit the timber helped by the inner edge. To add to the natural elements our fielding was electrifying. We constantly kept up the pressure.
Anand, Devin and Vignesh combined to bowl well. Vignesh especially was razor sharp in accuracy, bowling an extremely tight line and lenght, giving them no room to play thier shots and we kept breaking partnerships at crucial points. Minal, Faisal and Shahid did play well to form some partnerships that were beginning to threaten but we got them before they got big on us. GDCC folded at 139 in a shade under 35 overs.
This was a remarkable performance on the field restricting the contenders down. Deepak I must say has a golden arm. This guy throws sharp and hit nothing but the danda on two occasions and both times he beat the batsmen from reaching home. Amazing work. Lagtah hai goliyaan bahaut kheylee hai isney..
as for me, I actually enjoyed the day behind the stumps. Honestly, its darn hard work and I admire the guys that do it like a job. Its a learning experience and I know I can do better. But today, I must say the wind was quite challenging and if you have contacts on, the conditions seem even more windy :)! ..
So with 140 to chase in 35 overs and the constant fear of rain on our mind, we set out on the task with Pratik and Goldy to open. I must say Pratik was desperate for a biggy and I hoped this be the day. He and Goldy set the tone briefly but Goldy seemed in a hurry too often and holed out. Anand was one down and he was taken out quite quickly with an excellent catch in the gully. CLCC was in spot of bother with 20/2. Ani joined Pratik. They set out to ensure we reach home safely. Pratik was slowly getting into his grove and they both played sensible cricket. I got a chance to watch our chase from a close range as the leg-umpire designate of our team. Runs came in one and twos with the odd boundary. GDCC had some good bowlers but I think our fielding was much more stronger on that day.
Pratik and Ani did escape some scares - with a couple of close runout chances and a catch or two but remained determined in their approach. There was one particular moment that GDCC must still be in remorse for. It happened when GDCC appealed for a caught behind on Ani. Minal was the bowler and the umpire ruled it as not out. It was a huge appeal, and they seemed to have got their man and were quite adamant about it. They looked at me but I remained ummoved, suggesting that the main umpire has to call it and if he needs he can consult with me. He did not consult. And there ends the matter. In such games some decisions go your way and some dont. Thats part of this game and you have to live with it. In retro, honestly I did hear a sound, but thankfully I was not the one to make the call.
Pratik reached his well-deserved half century and he was a relieved man. On the other side, Ani played some excellent shots, my particular favorite was a pull for a max, perfectly in control. Just when we thought we had it all well wrapped up, Ani mistimed and was caught. The partnership a solid 90 odd. We neeed another 50 to get and plently of batting to come. But we alarmingly lost Deven, Viggy and Manu in matter of just some runs and few overs and we were suddenly in some trouble. We somehow have this knack of making every chase a challenging one. This is quite bothering. But Pratik still in the middle and we batting deep, I was still confident we will overcome and we did just that with Pratik hitting a timely six and Gaurav chipping in with needed support.
And consider this - just a few minutes after the game ended, it began to pour. What timing!! Fighting a contender is certainly in our hands but having the mother nature on your side is quite an amazing event. Thank you god!
Pratik the MOM, remained unbeaten on 60 odd and more importantly he carried his bat all the way. I am sure he enjoyed it as much as we did. And I am sure he must be really happy to be where he likes - right amoungst the runs. Just a gentle reminder, he was the top batsmen of the league last year! :) .
Its 7 in a row and winning is a good habit!! :)
miyaan personally, its quite disppointing I am not getting to bat that much this season. With the lineup we have and with so many options to try and keeping all happy etc, your wishes take a back seat. And understandably so, team comes first. Amidst the fast flying time, and missing practice, thanks partly to work-related travel and partly to our lovely cleveland weather, I really miss batting. Plus, Aug 17/18, marks the beginning of Ramadan - a month of fasting - that would mean another 4 weeks of no cricket. No good, no good. But mere dost, C'est la vie:)..
SCORECARD from the game.