Monday, September 28, 2009

SEMIS - Cleveland passes nerve-racking test!!

Cleveland prevailed a stern test to go through to the finals of the Div 1 40 over championship. Hats off to Oakland University Cricket Club for giving us such an immense fight.
On a gloomy saturday at Bloomer park, MI, we took part in one of the most stressful contest of the season and I should admit this has been by far the most thrilling game of my life.

Batting first we scored 280/6 in 40 overs and in most cases you would think that a score like that bats off most of the oppositions out of the game but OUCC and especially Harnik Shah had different ideas. They were all out for 264 in 39.3! and we booked our seat in the finals. But the man of the match was Harnik for his glorious knock of 124.

CLCC - 280/6 in 40 overs (Devin 80*, Viggy 39, Sujay 35, Goldy 33)
OUCC - 264/10 in 39.4 overs (Goldy 4/47, Viggy 3/57).
NEWS FLASH: We will face Farmington Hills in the Finals that will be played on Sunday, Oct 4.
I do want blog a detailed account of this game but cannot do so at this time. But its worth to note that for hours after the game, we were all exhausted, drained and tired. On top of that we had a tough 3 plus hours drive back home.
Its an honor to be in the finals but this semis test we passed was not just another game.
It was a truly extra ordinary experience. No matter what happens next Sunday, this game will remain etched in my memories forever!
will write more later ....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Last 4!!

With the end of the Super Six stage of the playoffs - 4 teams have come out on top, 2 teams from Group 1 and 2 from Group 2..

And the semis match up is:

Sept 26: Cleveland (CLCC) vs. Oakland University (OUCC)
Sept 27: Farmington Hills (FHCC) vs. Greater Toledo Whites (GTWC)

Preview about our game with Oakland University...

We should not have been so surprised to see Oakland in the semis because the only game we lost this year was to them. But to be honest, I was NOT expecting them to be in the semis especially after GDCC (Greater Detroit - who have won the championship several times) defeated them comprehensively in the super sixes. I think what really bogs my mind and probably most of us, is the manner in which Oakland turned around and defeated Farmington Hills (who has not lost any game this season - except for the game that they forfeited to us). So that is what I think has caused the raised eyebrows. Nevertheless - the fact is Oakland is in the last four and they deserve every bit of it.

Oakland is a team with players on the 'younger' side a bit. And I know they will certainly be coming all guns blazing and somewhat with their tails up :) – and rightly so since they have beaten us. And they have obviously stepped up whenever there was a need to do so. Hence they are certainly a force to handle.
And I think that is where this contest is exciting.

With all that said, I can guarantee that every Cleveland mate is eager to get the equation right. And if there is one game that matters - this is it.

It’s hard to say what is our strength - but personally I think we have proved to be a better batting side in comparison to our bowling - but that does in no way mean we lack. Our bowling is as brutal and wise as it can get and I am thoroughly proud of it. But over the course of this season I think our batting has just been AWESOME. We enjoy fielding and will give it our best.

In this last lap it’s all about how hungry and disciplined we are, and how well we handle the pressure. We have been in this position several times before and so I think that experience will be handy.

I do feel that no matter what, we will give a good account of our self and enjoy!

Preview of the FHCC vs. GTWC game…

Farmington has played great cricket through out this season. We have not played them this year so I don’t have a direct view of their strengths. But I am sure they will be tested to their limits in the game against GTWC.

GTWC has had a slow start to the season but seem to have peaked at the right time. It took an exceptionally professional effort by us to beat them in the last of our super six games. They rattled off 240! I am certainly not boasting here but any team that can do that against out bowling attack, I believe is certainly playing good cricket.

So the stage is very well set for a good showdown between FHCC and GTWC. I wouldn’t have said this 3 weeks ago, but I think my bet would be on GTWC.

3 days to semis!

Cleveland remains unbeaten..

So CLCC played the last of the play off games against Greater Toledo Whites at Beatty Park, Toledo on Sat, Sep 19.

I had to miss the game due to the ramadan fasting and since Eid Day was undecided (eventually it happened on Sunday).

We knew ahead of this game that we were through to the semis regardless of the result. With that said, at no point any of us were expecting any less focus on keeping our win column busy.

Since I was not at the ground - I dont have a lot of notes to capture and blog. But I had a chat with Ani after the game and he mentioned that it was tough long day at the office.

Here are brief scores:
Toledo White batting first made 238/10 in 40 overs (Sujay, Deepak, Devin, Viggy 2 wkts ea)
CLCC - 239/6 in 39.4 overs (Sujay 69, Viggy 55, Chandu 31, Ani 17*)



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cleveland cannons Canton CC

Aided by an unbelievable unbeaten 166 from Devin Patel, CLCC cannoned Canton out of contention for this year’s championship. Batting first, CLCC made 245 in 40 over’s and then got Canton all out for 126! With this win we have booked a spot in the semis with still another game to play in the playoffs.

It was a gorgeous day for cricket at the sparking Lyon Oaks cricket ground in Detroit. Ani won a crucial toss and right way decided to take first strike. Goldy and Puru opened the inning for us. It wasn’t the start we were looking for as Puru edged to slips. Chirag was promoted up the order and he played out some anxious overs initially but started to look good. But soon we lost Goldy to a caught behind.

Our start got even worse when Ani was given out caught behind before he opened his account. Apparently Ani hadn’t nicked it at all but the umpire had made the call and Ani walked back frustrated. The Cantons certainly were extremely glad to see the back of Ani as he had taken the game away from them in our last encounter.

With that we were in deep trouble at 13/3! Something special was needed from the remaining batsmen. Devin and Chirag played some good shots and we were slowly starting to show signs of recovery. Having stayed at the wicket for sometime, Chirag went for a pull but the ball stopped on him a bit and he was out caught out for a well made 18.

Viggy and Devin set about another partnership and we all knew this pair had to be there for long and hopefully at least one of them into the last overs. Devin started to show signs of power with some excellent boundaries. But he seemed to be in a lot of pain due to an injured right arm. Viggy on the other hand was calm and composed as usual and looked determined to stay there. The scorecard was ticking along at around 3 or 4 an over with the odd Devin boundary.

In the pavilion (yes Lyon Oaks does have a covered player’s area). And they have a couple of awesome nets near the player’s area. Some of us went and had some knocking in the nets. It truly is a treat to have such facilities. We in Cleveland certainly should be looking to create something like in our area too. There was the normal banter as we basked in the sun and shade around the well maintained ground. Enjoying what was shaping out to be a good partnership between Devin and Viggy.

But with the score at around 85/4 in 24 overs, Viggy was struck on the pad to an off spinner and the umpire hurriedly raised the dreaded finger once more, LBW being the call. This was big blow but we still had some padded up batting strength to follow.

Ani asked me to go in and provide assistance to Devin. Initially I played out the off spinner and was determined not to get an LBW as that seemed to be his target. Once I saw his pace and turn, I got comfy and was getting along well and enjoyed hitting a sweep for a boundary. Devin on the other hand launched some brutal shots that cleared the rope often and it was a delight to watch these shots from close quarters. His style is simple – comes behind the ball and plays with immense power and timing. Another aspect of his batting is that he seems to be very clear of his shot selection (I don’t think he pre-determines but rather seems to be never in a double mind).

One thing that was bothering though, was that the pain in Devin’s arm seemed to be growing. Goldy (who was leg umpiring) and I tried to encourage him. We had couple of more over’s for the break anyways. So he asked if I could just play out the last two over’s so he doesn’t have to play if possible prior to the break. I did just that and we went into a break without any further loss. At the break we were at 130 odd for 4.
Devin got a pain killer and a gentle massage to see if it would get better.

We resumed and Devin suddenly seemed to be in a rush. With 12 over’s to go and 5 wickets still in hand he said we should up the tempo, and strangely enough, he asked me to go for shots. I was some what surprised but he seemed pretty clear about it and even selected what shots I should play :). I tried to play aggressively and was caught in the deep. Our partnership was about 60 runs in 7 over’s, of course most of the runs coming from Devin. With that kind of scoring, I don’t think I should have listened to him :) and should have used common sense to nudge around and rotate. Nevertheless lessons are to learn and I learnt mine.

At 140 odd/5, Sunny joined Devin. The break and massage seemed to have some magic as Devin unleashed an array of unbelievable shots all over the park. He crossed his century in style and we suddenly seemed to be looking to a score easily beyond 200. Devin seemed to have gone from brilliant to brutal and he just cannoned Canton out of the park, game and championship.

Devin - 166! and standing:)

The cantons dropped Devin when he was in his 60’s. And they probably didn’t realize what they missed. But once he crossed his century he gave some more chances but his impact was so over whelming that the fielders were just dazed at what was going on. The last 50 runs from Devin probably came in less than 20 balls, I think.

At the end of 40 over’s we were 248 for 7. Sunny played well for his 15 before he was caught and Devin remained unbeaten on a MichCA Division 1 all time record highest score of 166!


Canton was clueless at what just had happened. It is absolutely hard for any team to come around and chase that kind of a total especially after such heavy cannon shots!

To make matters worse for Canton, the first ball of their chase, Deepak struck a lighting blow with an amazing inswinger, and their opener didn’t play any shot to be struck on the pad. With a wicket down first ball, we never let them take charge throughout the game. I think Ani marshalled his bowlers exceptionally well, ringing in the right changes and we were cruising to win.

Deepak and Chirag combined well to bowl their first spells and then Manu bowled some overs along with Viggy but the real danger man was Goldy. He suddenly was called upon to bowl. He was right on the money and got timely breaks. His secret weapon left the batsmen surprised and we kept getting the wickets. Canton could not go past 126.

Puru and Goldy pulled off awesome catches and our fielding was upto the mark. The extras still bother us but hope we can correct/reduce those going into the last lap here.

We will play Toledo Whites this Saturday in our last super six game. We are of course through to the semis but I am sure we will not want to slow down even a bit.

The man of the match was deservedly Devin Patel.