- Cleveland: 352 for 4 in 40 overs. [Vignesh - 152 n.o, Anand - 113]\
- Michigan: 72 all out [Chirag - 5.1-0-18-7]
During this record breaking partnership we saw two artists at thier best. They started thier innings watchfully, knocking ones and two's around. And as they settled in, we saw signs of brilliance when Anand played a few lofted drives and Viggy flicked few over square leg or midwicket.
Anand brought up his fifty in style with an excellent drive over covers. And Viggy was not that far away reaching his fifty shortly thereafter. In the doughout, there was constant chit-chatting that we are in for a treat today. Sujay, I and others exchanged confident but subtle views which all pointed to one thing - one of these guys will go on to score a century today and may be both...!
The score moved to around 250 without much fuss. And we just enjoyed an astonishing batting display. Bounadaries and sixes became the norm with singles and two coming occasionally. Sunny and I were padded up, prepared to go in next. And although I was desperate to go and have some batting, I could not help but sit there and hope to see these two guys carry on and get centuries. And so they did, Anand reached to his century and was delighted.
Viggy gave some anxious moments where a couple of his catches were not taken but he went ahead and reached his well deserved century. Luck favors the brave, so they say. And so we saw that day. But knowing Viggy closely, we know that he literally feels guilty when his catch is dropped. We know he does not want any favors from the fielders but on that day he had to go home with a truck load of guilt as almost every fielder that he picked gave him some guilt to take home :)..
The Michigan bowling was abysmal and thoroughly dismantled but what was even more hurting for them was their pathetic fielding. They seemed so far out of touch from the basics, plus the plundering they were getting took out whatever little hope they may have had.
The Michigan team (most of the players are from the Carribeans) did have thier supporters near our doughout. Their accent reminded me of the Marshalls and Holdings (albeit angry :).. It was an interesting experience to sit there and watch them go about their day. With beer flowing and chairs infolded, we heard shouts for the captain to change the field or the bowler or just pure ranting. At times, it was annoying to here this banter especially when we were enjoying such good batting, but we were ok as long as they did not get personal, which to thier credit they did not. Infact they were quite friendly with us. Sujay enjoyed it the most as he was engaged in some wise:) conversations with one of their supporters, who seemed to have taken a liking to Sujay :)...
Back to the game, the partnership went from strong to brutal and when eventually Anand was run out on 113, Cleveland was at 298. At one stage Viggy and Anand had scored 60 odd runs in 4 overs. Anand played a sensible inning, calm and composed generally but equally aggressive when there were opportunities. Viggy on the other hand showcased his talent with some excellent shots to both sides of the wicket. I personally enjoy his flicks or wristy shots on and around the squareleg. He reads the length so well and is in such good position so easily to place the ball where he likes.
Chandu was promoted and played some good shots and then Sunny ended our innings with an effortless Six. Viggy remained unbeaten on 152 after trying several times to get out :)!.
CLEVELAND had reached 352 in 40 overs!!. We had shattered many a record. Personally, I like the fact that two players scored centuries in the same innings. I dont expect to see that soon in our form of the game here.
While we were seeing these delightful innings, Chandu decided to give some desperate :) catch practice to our players. And one of the balls came and hit me on the left wrist as I was getting something from my kit. It was a painful blow, applied some ice and Ani gave some Advil to contain any inflamation but the pain become severe. Some of my hand movements were uneasy and so I decided not to go out in the middle to field. Lambu (Chandu) owes me big time, and yes more than his height.
(update - I went and saw the doc on Monday, he ruled that its a tendon contusion - inflammation and not a fracture, which is a relief. He has put my wrist in a splint and hopefully it should heal in 10 days or so. With no game on the July 4 weekend, I am in luck and hopefully will be fine for the June 12 weekend).
Back to the game, if Viggy and Anand had just caused mayhem with the bat, Chirag took the new ball and just stunned the Michigan batsmen. His run up is so smooth and his wrist position is excellent. I sat there and witnessed an extremely supreme bowling performance. Chirag got good support from Manu, Deepak and Chandu, and the Michigan batting collapsed like a stack of pins. They folded on 72. And the margin of victory was an alarming 276 runs!!
Chirag was identified as the the man of the match but I beleive this game had men of the match in Viggy, Anand and Chirag.
Chirag with the game ball...
Our hosts though their team had lost, treated us to a good meal - sandwiches, rice, chicken curry and daal for the veggies. It was a good gesture and we appreciate it...
4 wins in as many games is quite a momentum but more importantly the scale and margin of this win will probably send some waves into the league. Its a good feeling.
I am not sure if we would ever see such a game in our lifetime. This was truly a remarkable win and regardless of whatever happens going forward in this season, I certainly packed up some good memories!!