Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
SCORECARD from the game.
Monday, July 20, 2009
An unusually cold summer morning greeted us when we arrived in Toledo. The weather forecast suggestin a 3 in 10 chance of rain that PM. As for the ground conditions, the mowers probably took grass cutting seriously, as we could see earth exposed in some areas of the outfield. And more importantly it left the outfield uneven. Not all that conducive for fielding but fast paced to assist batsmen.
Ani called right at the toss and we elected to bat. Goldy and I taking first strike. There was a steady breeze around. Although I was opening for the first time this season and have been quite eager to do so, all anxiety was settled as soon as we went to the middle. We got some singles going but soon Goldy picked a wrong ball to cut over the infield. He could not clear and had to walk back allowing our pratik and friends in the doughout to get their daggers out quite early :).
Ani walked in one drop and we played out the next 4-5 overs watchfully. Some nice length and swing especially from bowler 2. The fun of batting alongside good players is that you pick tips from them right on the job. And playing with Ani is exactly that. He immediately points out and suggests to get this or that right.
We got some runs (with me unintentionally keeping most of the strike:). and was enjoying my stay. And then up went the finger for the umpteenth time on an LBW call. The ball hit high on my left leg and was going well outside the leg. I dont understand why they give LBW decisions when there is easily a doubt. But the reality is unfortunately in this form of the game it almost feels like the umpire has to give one out once he has denied or called bad on previous occasions..... anyways, in the spirit of the game, I did walk but thoroughly felt robbed on the highway for not being able to continue. Most agreed that was not out but nevertheless we were 17 for 2!
Devin Patel was in next and I have to say he is one of the nicest, most passionate cricketers I have seen. He drives for hours to get to the ground. In Ani and Devin, we had a promising pair in the middle but disaster struck immediately, as Devin played one to point and Ani backed up too fast. A hurting run out claims Ani. 17/3!
Devin is joined by another long range traveller :) Anand (Patel)... these two guys had an important role to play and they did just that. The scoreboard started to tick around and we got to 50/3 in about 12 overs or so.. with Anand and Devin looking all set, but against the run of play Anand mistimed a flick which took the upper edge and went straight to the bowler. Cleveland was in trouble with a lot of overs still remaining but not a big partnership in sight yet.
Kranthi joined Devin. With Devin striking well and Kranthi giving him good support, slowly but steadily we motored to 80 odd. Devin played some delightful shots to both sides and reached his half-century in style with a six over square-leg. The good thing about Devin's batting is the 'awe' factor he presents on the opposition. He likes to dominate the bowlers and picks the right balls to go fetch. Kranthi played some good shots too but ended up skying too often. We took a further slide as we lost Devin (caught), Pratik (caught mistiming a slower ball) and Bala (stumped) in quick time.
At 120 for 8 we were staring at a total well below par. But thats when Gaurav joined hands with Deepak to present one of the best counter-attack efforts. They started off watchfully but grew in strength. Gaurav (with some admiring friends and family members on watch) and Deepak played some excellent shots all over the park and we moved from 120 to 150 to 190! This partnership stunned the opposition and we enjoyed probably one of the best 9th wicket partnerships ever. They scored boundaries freely and ran hard to suck out the game from Troys grasp.
Our innings came to an end in the last over and we got to 212. Gaurav remained unbeaten on 60. At one point we were hoping if we could go past 150. So 212 was certainly an amazing story.
Chasing 213 Troy needed to show a lot of character especially after seeing us turnaround the way we did. Talking of character, I think one of the factors that has kept Cleveland on the top this season is the character and discipline shown individually and as a team whenever the situation demaned it. We have this can-do attitude in whatever we attempt.
Here is an example of how seriously we take our cricket :) - there was a bet going around that Goldy could get the new ball, but for that he had to score more than Pratik. Well, he couldnt have asked for a better deal today (pratik gone for ducky:) !. And so it was Goldy who got to bowl first up. Just so you know, we dont decide opening bowlers this way every time :) .. but we do try to have as much fun as we can.
The Troy openers got to a start but Goldy and Deepak bowled good spells to keep them in check. I had a tough time collecting down leg today especially when Deepak drifted and later when Anand was bowling the ones that turn and bounce away.... nevertheless I need to buck up on that.
Ani brought Anand for an over of spin so he could switch ends for Deepak. Anand ended up getting the wicket of one of the openers to a good catch by Bala in the deep. Honestly this opener did more staring or cursing himself than actually playing ball :). So he got his earful and we were happy to break. Then Deepak showed what a danger he is, with an unplayable ball that took out the middle stump of the new batsman. We got another couple of quick wickets and Troy was around 50 for 4. Not the best fielding day for us with a couple of dropped catches, we kind of let Troy to be in the game. Troy got some good partnerships going.
At second break (28 overs) they needed 90 odd with 4 wickets remaining.
The next 40 odd runs came quick with some good batting by Uday and Dinesh. The left-right partnership did cause some headaches and we were honestly drained as the conditions became humid. But not losing our ground, we continued to toil.
Devin, Ani, Anand and Pratik combined well to slowly clamp them down and we knocked them out with 45 odd runs. Bala (2 catches) and Anand Nadar (2 catches) did well in the field.
With that we keep the win column busy with 6 in a row!!
MOM - Gaurav for a match saving knock of 60 n.o.
PICS from the game (courtesy Gaurav and his friend)
Next week we play Greater Detroit CC. If there is a team that we want to face upto and test, this is it. They have won the league 5 out of the past 6 times. They are aware of how we are doing. So its a contest to look out for...
Monday, July 13, 2009
Congrats to the Khandekar family and we at Cleveland Club have a new member to look forward to.. :).
Thursday, July 2, 2009
- 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!!