Saturday, 21 May 2016

Match report - Indcan III Vs Surrey United III @Chilliwack May 21, 2016 - By Rajiv Kozhikode

There are hardly any positives that one could take if Team 3’s performance was to be evaluated purely based on its scoresheet from the previous game. The scoresheet isn’t lying by any measure. There is much to forget about that game… about a third of the opponent’s score came in extras, which, by the way, is the margin by which we lost the game; our over rate was poor, to say the least; and our wickets fell in bundles… these asides, the scoresheet doesn’t tell about those important catches that we dropped and run outs that we missed and those easy doubles that remained as singles. But despite all these negatives, the mood was upbeat, everyone had fun and we left home as a happy team… So what were we so happy about? Let me run you through what really happened that day.

It certainly isn’t a thrill to ride 90 km to Chilliwack to play cricket. It simply tires you out. But usually the picturesque ground makes up for the arduous ride to Chilliwack. The ground reminds me of Queenstown Cricket Ground in New Zealand, or our own Dharamsala Cricket Ground. But this Saturday, the wet outfield, chilly weather and overcast skies were indeed spirit dampeners. To top it all, we lost the toss and were forced to field. And when we took to the field, we got the opponent’s scoreboard ticking well before we bowled our first legal delivery. But slowly we gained momentum. We got our first scalp in the fourth over. That gave us something to cheer about. But it didn’t last long as their second pair started building a good partnership. Thanks to the quick work of new comer Tauseeq, we were able to break that partnership with a run out. But as we were bleeding in wides and easy singles, the opponent’s scoreboard was ticking at a steady pace. Before drinks (21 overs), we were able to get another wicket… But at the pace at which they were going at that stage, even 200 appeared within their reach. The drink break was much needed at this juncture. It allowed us to regroup and rethink our plans.

We had to stop bleeding wides and improve our over rate, the latter will certainly improve if we took care of the former. When we got back to the field after the drinks break, it might have been the Gatorade that we drank or the short huddle that we had while we drank it, we were on fire! Our captain took it upon himself to speed up our over rate and stop the bleeding of wides. He was bowling ball after ball in quick succession and that too with immense accuracy… this should have thrown the opponents off rhythm. Their middle order collapsed and their tail was in and out in no time. They were all out for 144 in about 36 overs. The highlight was Robin’s five-fer… of which two were LBWs and two were clean bowleds. Taufeeq complemented Robin really well and ended up with 3 wickets. That said, the find of our fielding innings was certainly Tauseeq, the young lad has a powerful arm and he throws very accurately. To top it, he plucked a difficult catch out of thin air…

I think the opponents didn’t expect to get bundled out so quickly… they ordered lunch just about when their batting innings was coming to a close. So we had to pad up and get to the field without lunch. The task for the opening pair was to hang in there and see the new ball off. The openers stuck to this task until the 8 th over, when the first wicket fell. But two more wickets fell in that very same over, which made our chances of winning the match bleak. But Garry and Robin patiently put up a healthy partnership, which gave us all some hope that the game was still on. But Garry lost his patience when we was troubled by a junior spinner. He mistimed one in the air and it was caught easily. The young lad from the opposition deserves due credit. He bowled really well. He picked up a few wickets. After Garry’s wicket, we still had some chance of getting back in the game. But the umpires had other plans…

We lost two other wickets in quick successions… at least one of which was due to a poor umpiring  decision. Then came young Atharva’s turn. He made the opponents work for his wicket. He held his ground for several overs. They were really annoyed at this child’s seemingly impenetrable defense. But after a lot of effort, they got him out too. By then we were past the 36 th over… we had lasted more overs than our opponents. That was reason enough to cheer about. Although they knew we were not going to win, they were finding it very difficult to get us all out. The father-son duo of Prashant and Ishan also gave the opponents a run for their money. By the time we were all out we had played 41 overs. That was definitely something to cheer about. When we looked at the stats, we realized that it was our extras that cost us our game… well, to be honest, we still would have been a few runs short even if we hadn’t bled so many extras… but we certainly would have been a more motivated side if we had 45 fewer runs to chase.

That said, isn’t “grooming youngsters” and “having fun” among the major objectives of Team 3? If so, I must say, our game this Saturday was a success. We found some fresh talent and rediscovered some old talent and definitely had a lot of fun. Mission Accomplished!

Indcan Man of the match: Robin Arora

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