Monday, May 17, 2010

Game 1, Win 1...

After a long long wait, we finally played our 2010 season opener at Toledo on Sunday May 9th. Against Michigan Cricket Club.

It was not a 'sun'day at all. Cold and windy lower 50's, not ideal cricketing weather but we will take that over a rainy day. So began our journey to defend our championship.

Note - Ani (who captained us last year) has decided to return to India for good. But before he leaves, he is able to get some games under the belt. We wish him well. Viggy (Vignesh) is our new captain. Good luck and I am sure he will be an inspiration.

Toss - Viggy won the toss and decided to bat first. Reasoning - the wet outfield will make bowling and fielding quite challenging. And give ourselves 40 overs to bat...

Goldy and Sujay opened the innings and were treated to some excellent pace bowling especially from one of their opening bowlers (Pedro). He is a true West Indian bowler, perfect rhythymic action and delivers at a good line/lenght and pace. He got one to get through Goldy's defence and on the other end Sujay nicked one soon to the keeper. Not a good start.

Ani went one down and was joined by Bunny at the fall of Sujay's wicket. Bunny's is playing his first season with our team (he has played for our other team before). They both rotated the strike well and seem to be settling in. The score at this time: .

Viggy stopped by and he and I had a chat about specific roles he had in mind. For me, he wanted me to play lower in the order and ensure we have stability there. rotate the strike, play well with big hitters. That way the upper order can play freely.

In the middle the score was ticking slowly, with a wet outfield and with this being the first game, batsmen needed time to adjust, get settled in and roll. Bunny, unfortunately lost his wicket after spending some good time in the middle. Viggy sent in Gaurav, but he could not get going and played on. Suddenly we had lost 4 wickets with not much on the board. Viggy then joined Ani.

This was going to be a crucial pair. And as they have done several times, were playing sensibly. Ani was certainly moving his feet well and timing the ball. Several of his hits landed and stayed put near the ropes.
Viggy looked good with a wristly boundary over square leg. But when the score was about 89 we lost Viggy too. Big blow that.

I joined Ani. And I felt confident going knowing exactly what I had to do and what we needed as a team. And we began to rebuild our innings. Ani, who was well set scoring freely and I dropped anchor to ensure stability. I must say, I felt good, although was not playing the shots clean and timing well but nevertheless I knew it was not important as long as I dont play a silly shot. And as long as I stayed on the ball.

We rotated the strike to perfection. Ani brought up his well deserved 50. And stepped up the pace thereafter, playing some good shots all over the park, especially square and around the cow-corner. We took 3 to 5 overs at a time., targeting to get about 6 or 8 an over. We went about our job. Ani looked all set for a ton and he did it with style! - well done and wll timed, some excellent shots and his timing was absolutely fun to watch. And as he did that we moved out of danger and knew that we were looking for a good score. Ani eventually was out for caught brilliantly in the deep. He made 135 memorable runs.

Our partnership was a calm and assured 100 plus runs and in hindsight a game changer. Enjoyed every minute of it.

Chandu, Navdeep, Kranthi and I saw through the last few over of our innings and we ended up at 258/8.

Michigan did not offer to much as a batting unit. Except for a couple of batsmen who played in for some time. Our bowling looked good but fielding was certainly ways to go. As the next games come up, hope we get better on the field. At the end Michigan managed onto 124 allout.

The cold and blistering weather was a tough one to deal with. But the hosts treated us to a post-match meal (steaming hot rice, daal and west indies chicken curry) - they always have been a fun host. very friendly and unique love for the game. By the end of the game we had about 30 or odd spectators all talking in typically Jamican/West Indian accent and huddled into high-pitched conversations. Always enjoy playing this team. And they congratulated us for a good game.... and so began our drive back to town!

All was happy and well until the next day or so when the body started acting up... sore from the running between and behind the wickets ....:but all is well that begins with a win :)!! ..


1 comment:

  1. You never mentioned why you started scoring suddenly after all these years.... it's the BAT.