Monday, April 27, 2009

Match Report: 04/25: vs Rising XI

What does it feel to be on the top? How does one get to it, and more importantly will it be a cake walk on the path to success or will it be a topsy-turvy trail to ultimately reach the pinnacle? Well, this was surely not on any one's minds until the first ball was bowled in the game that went by on Saturday in the beautiful city of Fremont. A ground, which is righteously said a batsman's paradise, a place where Immortals re-defined their way of playing a year ago by a stunning win against the Chargers (one of the toughest team in those wonder days, who are down the drain this season), but a ground where the game could have gone any team's way, first things first, most important task to achieve was to win the toss. Nothing that anyone could have helped us achieve this success, and taking into account our Captain's dismal record of losing the tosses (which this season have not affected us, and he has proved all critics wrong by winning the important ones where it did matter a lot lol), this weekend was no different, as he won the toss for us as we choose to bat first.

But before we go into the game details, let us just look what was on stake, of-course apart from the Immortals winning streak which now extends to 4 wins in a row, but more importantly the confidence, the pride and the determination to beat a team of good calibre, a team which had been talked about a lot by Cricbox writers (including me), a team who had a great record of proving that they are on the rise and can beat any good team any given day (of-course except The Immortals lol), and the rookies from last season's games have not been complacent to shred off the momentum. Rising XI, as their name suggests, are surely a great team to watch out for (of-course not against the mighty Immortals), but they did pull off stunning performances, in last season, when they tied the game with Megastars in the Gold Cup finals, and then lost the tie-breaker, but to shoot right back into action, by a great win upsetting the same Megastars beating them fair and square. Fortunately these two teams were in the same group as we were, and oh boy, the tempo was abuzz in excitement, the Immortals camp, just enjoying their victories one after another, and this last weekend they were up against the Rising XI.

Winning the toss, electing to bat, and a poor start from the Rising XI bowlers, our openers Ronak and Darshil did not leave any chance to pounce upon the runs and started hitting the ball for 1s and 2s. The message was simple, a batting platter, try to get a steady start, preserve the wickets for some fireworks later in the innings. The opening pair has become quite outstanding, with both batsmen having complementing styles of playing and hitting the balls. Ronak who is a bit more aggressive in his approach on some occassions, tends to complement his partner in crime, our Captain Dagga Sheth, who is an elegant stroke player. His 4s over the cover, on the off side have now become his trademark shot, and anytime during a game, he would just go and execute that shot to perfection. They were going good, but then the dreadful happened, something that anyone would hate, a run-out, especially when things looked rosy all around with the ball coming on to the bat, and the pitch offering nothing to the bowlers. Darshil was run out and in walked our own, Sannato, who has a unique style of his own when he stands up in the crease. With Ronak on the roll, Sanato took a back seat approach, and just played some shots to settle down, but then after a clean hit by Ronak, a lapse of judgement from him, made him go for the same shot and the ball just landed into the fielder's hands. That fielder was somehow pulled back to the same place where Ronak had hit the ball in the same over.

With both the openers back into the dugout, the score read, 3 overs 25 odd runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Sanato was settled, and Jainip joined the bandwagon of runs. Both of them played outstandingly well, with no misjudgements, no false run calls, shots were all clean hits, and on the way to a great partnership, both of them took the Immortals to the 10 over break without losing a wicket, and the score reading 55+ runs. Bhupesh our leading run scorer this season (of-course he has to be the leading run getter, as he scores for all the games, and ironically never gets to bat lol ...), commented that it had been a long long time, since the score read such marvellous figures, of 2 wickets down for 55 odd runs. After the break the message was out, go for the kill, as there were plenty to come. Sannato and Jainip batted right out of their skins, always on the look out for the bad balls, and cleverly defending to the good ones. No extravagant shots, they made a mockery of the bowlers by putting up a partnership of 50 odd runs (Guessing), with the highlights being Jainip's sweep shots, Sannato's reverse sweep (which did not even cross the crease lol), Sannato's lucky escape for a runout when our champ, out of sheer confidence thought that the ball was hit for a four, and so was just lazily wandering in the middle of the pitch, exhcanging his "IPL fantasy" stats with Jainip, that he suddenly realizes, that he needs to complete the run as the ball never crossed the boundary. The dug out was literally on their feet shouting at him, to return to the bowlers end, and luckily enough the throw was a complete waste and he was safe. Had he got out, then I think he would have just handed his resume to Rising XI to request them to keep him alive and recruit him, because, with this blunder if he had walked back to The Immortals camp, I think next season we would all be praying in Thornton Jr. High School, right near the grave where Sannata's body would have been rotting for years to come. We would have 100 % literally dug out a grave for him and rightfully have thrown him in that pit to rot. But God taught him a lesson, as he fell down on his "dhekka" (hips) lol, while executing a shot (which was a delight to watch) ...

Jainip gave Sannato great support in the beginning, as he just calmly (which is his style of playing), played around with the ball, giving Sannato maximum time to get the momentum going. Sannato, was bowled for well deserved run-a-ball 30 hitting two 4s in the process. With him saving his ass by playing nicely, all was forgotten about his mesmerizing stroll down the pitch and then scurrying back to the crease to save his ass again by not getting run-out. In walked Kapad (Kunjan), who in the practice game some time back against Rising XI had literally plundered all the bowlers. Will this be a revenge for the Rising or will Kapad still walk back his head held high chanting "Hu La, Pattar Fadi Nakhi Baka La" ... Well it happened so, that Rising XI one more time, could do nothing to stop this massively built Bhim of Cricket, as he not only hit the only 6 of the Immortals innings, but played superbly with sweetly timed shots, to remain not out on 24 of just 28 balls. Jainip got out for a nicely crafted innings of patience and stroke play to get 26 off 36 runs in his kitty. When Kapad was batting, everyone in the dug out were just literally chanting for a boundary to give Kapad some confidence to freeze his arms and hit the bowlers all around the park. But the 6 came after a great patient stand with Jainip as they helped Immortals reach the magical figure of 100. Aditya our VC, once again maintained his game, and scored a brisk, 9 of 6 balls to remain not out one more time.

What a great performance it was, with 3 batsman scoring 20+ runs and the total reading 113 for 4 wickets in 20 overs. With just 10 extras given away by Rising XI, it felt supremely great to see batsman scoring 103 runs off the bat. But, a year back when Chargers scored 82 odd runs, and The Immortals were put into the chase batting second and they did win it, everyone knew that the pitch had nothing for the bowlers, and even though 100+ runs is a bit difficult to achieve, no one wanted to get complacent to give away the game. The message was loud and clear, bowlers stick to their plans, dont experiment and bowl a tight line and length, and the instructions were 2 simple words "Strict Fielding". The ground which was almost a 360 degree outfield, had plenty of runs stored for the batsman, and we did not wanted to drift away from the game.

Bhupesh opened the bowling for us, and from the first over itself he was bang on target. He got us the first breakthrough as he got one of the openers out for a duck caught by Jainip on the leg side for a nice catch and the Immortals were licking their lips for the first taste of success. Nirmam was bowling with an injured leg from last game, but he did awesome to tighten the screws on the batsman who were put under pressue due to the loss of an early wicket chasing a mammoth total of 100 + runs. Bhupesh and Nirmam bowled a teasing line, with great pace and accuracy to make the batsman play to get them out or to get them on the back foot and increase the pressure. And they were not deprived of their rewards as Nirmam got the second break through getting the vice captain out and then in walked Rising XI's star batsman Ashwin Gannamraju. Everyone was aware about his blitzkrieg type hitting and winning many games for Rising XI, but will he be able to do so once again against the Immortals? Or will he falter on his way to glory? Well no one would have expected what was to come, but Bhupesh ran in bowling a nice delivery to Ashwin who was facing the first ball, and whack off wen the bowl for a four just missing Kapad's hands at long off position. And boy, Bhupesh was all fired up, and in came a fiery delivery and whack, Ashiwn executed the same shot once again, the all soaring high and high, everyone's eyes set on the ball, expecting it to land outside the boundary ropes, and it did land, but right into the arms of the hulk Kapad. And this time he made no mistake to hold on to it, as the Immortals erupted in joy. What a waste, what a blunder and what foolish over confidence by the batsman to come and just start hitting the ball all over the place, as if The Immortals are breeding a bunch of kindergarden alley type bowlers. Total Waste !!! That must have taught him a lesson to atleast give some respect to some of the top bowlers especially is he is facing the likes of Bhupesh. What a wicket.

The ball was then turned to Keka (Karan), our only bowler who loves to bowl round the stumps, with his cap on, which now has become one of the most talked possession by the Immortals, that everyone now wants to throw their caps on the ground, as soon as wicket falls to imitate Keka lol ... But then our opener from Rising XI, got the whiff of Keka's cap tactics, and requested (literally argued) with the umpire to make Keka get rid of his cap while bowling. But what a mockery of the batsman as Keka bowled the very first ball to him, and he went for it and ended up giving a lollypop to Aditya at point. Everyone were not just excited happy for wiping of 5 of the batsman but were laughing at Keka's cap therapy. Cap or no cap, Keka is at his best. What was to come next was a frustrating partnership between the two middle order batsman, and some fine hitting by their batsman Gaurav. At one stage even though the target was far off, the game was felt not to be over yet. And with the runs coming quickly, the batsman settled down to take Rising XI home with a win. But what came next was a blunder from them as everyone goes for it under pressure. The batsman having scored the first run, went off for a second, to rightfully being sent back by the non-striker but alas it was too late, and even though there was some fumbling by Aditya the batsman was run out by Sanato. Well, in that same process he knocked the wind out of my mouth, as he banged into me while getting the batsman out. My tongue was crushed between my teeth and I think that was the only time I realized I was in the game lol ... Uptil then I was kind of dozing around in sleep with nothing to do lol ...

With Darshil introduced into the bowling attach, he lived up to the expectations as he deivered a maiden in his spell of 3 overs giving away only 4 runs and taking home 2 wickets. The highlight was a satisfying wicket keeping take by Ronak, who was standing up at the stumps and the batsman went for a square cut, getting an edge and Ronak completing the catch with amazing alertness. It is hard to stand at the stumps and take such a blinder in a fraction of a second. But after all The Immortals breed the best people in their respective departments. (OK, OK I know I am not best at anything lol, but then I do give you these reports guys along with my awesome Right Arm Very Very Slow Orthodox Stomach Spin bowling style lol... Just kidding). With the tail being exposed, their settled batsman Gaurav started going for the kill, as he hit two shots on the leg side for 2 consecutive sixes for the first two balls of Keka's over, and taking 18 runs in that single over. But all that while, the dugout of Rising XI, were showering abuses with the "F" word, and I as usual just wanted to vent my anger out with Nirmam giving me company. The moment which we both were waiting for was not delayed any further, as Bhupesh got the Captain of Rising XI out with an awesome yorker. That was a fired up revenge for him as he was hit for a six just one ball before that. That brought back the memories of Prasad and Aamir Sohail's incident, and me and Nirmam literally showered back the "F" words without any regret whatsoever, to Rising XI, as the batsman walked back looking at his uprooted leg stump. Then came the second chance to shout the "F" word even louder, as Ronak got a stumping brilliantly done to send back the batsman with the victory on the horizon. Well it was a piece of cake after Darshil's great spell, for Aditya to dismantle the furniture of one of the batsman with the bat still in the lift pose, and the ball already passing the batsman, destroying the stumps on its way. The batsman was just left dumbfounded as he was beaten by sheer Tofu Pace of Aditya. The last wicket was a simple catch taken by Keka of Aditya's bowling. That was all the Immortals needed.

Victory had never felt so great of a taste, success had never been felt so dear to the hearts of many amongst the Immortals, as the celebrations continued with just one straightforward statement "What a Team Performance" !!! Rightfully, the man of the match went to Viral (Sannato), but as Cricbay does not allow Man of the Match awards to be shared, it has to be mentioned here on this report that Sannato, Kapad and Jainip are Man of the Match holders to bring this awesome victory home. The Rising XI were all out for 78 and to add to this victory one more outstanding achievement was the number of extras we gave away - a mere 6 runs.
What did not click this game?
Everything was up one notch higher than all the previous games:
Batting - Awesome
Bowling - Awesome
Extras Controlled - Awesome
Energy Level - Awesome
Confidence Level - Awesome
Fielding - Awesome
F Words and Aggression - AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME (Keep them coming when needed, IF NEEDED)
The only thing that did not click was my DSLR. Unfortunately, I forgot it at home, and I do not have any moments to share from the field.

Just as I was preparing this report the following email came from our Captain Dagga Sheth (Darshil) which I am reproducing below:


With one more convincing win, we are at the top spot in Group A!!!!
The credit for this goes to great team performance, energy and hunger for win.

Some of the achievements already in this season:
- No. 1 team in the Group
- Highest DRR in the Group
- two 100+ scores in 4 games
- Win against platinum team
- Stop Rising's rising
- Half century from an Immortal
And I am sure there are many more to come.

But with these rewards comes greater responsibility. It is tough to reach to the top spot but it is even tougher to maintain that position.
Look at the results from this weekend:
- Cheers defeated Challengers
- Cosmos defeated Megastars
- Thunderdawgs defeated Knights
- Aptech scored 140+ against Darkhorse

These results suggest that we can not take any of the games lightly.
Lets continue with the same energey, confidence and our 'one game at a time' approach and continue our winning streak by killing knights this weekend.


Hope to see a lot of comments on this report for this fantastic well deserved TEAM WIN !!!
Up next is our last year's Gold Cup Finals opponents - Knights !!!

Stay Tuned...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Match Report: 04/12: vs Megastars

Clear skies, mercury showing 60's to 70's, a pitch where memories were relived when The Immortals won the Gold Cup in their first Regular season of Cricbay, and the question on everyone's mind was can we do it one more time to be unbeaten on this ground where we defined the Immortality and took home the coveted Gold? Can we deliver one more win against a team which are competetive, someone who have earned a decent reputation in the league and have given consistent performances to rightly call themselves "MegaStars"...

Well as it was to be, the game was played on Sunday on the same ground where Immortals played their Finals of the Gold Cup and won it, so that meant everyone was aware of the pitch, the outfield conditions and given the performances we were putting up every weekend, the call after winning the toss was to bat first. And our captain Darshil, did not disappoint us by winning the first toss for the season, and rightfully choose to bat first. After all, it was going to be a tough fight chasing on such minefield pitches where the ball just blasts and shoots from all odd angles.

The target was straightforward, save the wickets, but don't get bogged down and get to a decent start taking calculated risks. The pitch was, as I said a layer of mines put beneath the turf all ready to explode any moment, with the balls either staying low or bouncing at odd heights to humilate even Kapad the tallest of our camp. Once again, it was Darshil and Ronak who opened the innings for The Immortals, and from the second ball of the first over everyone knew this might go down the wire, when Ronak had a thick edge, the sound of which echoed all around the Silicon Valley except within the umpire's ears, and luckily enough the batsman did not budge from his position, and despite aggressive appeals from the opposition, the batsman was ruled not out. What a start ... What a lucky save, to which our batsman did some heroics of his own, by looking towards the dugout and indicating with his hands whether we all heard the knick or not ? LOL !!! What a way to frustrate the opposition and what a way to dig out a grave for the umpire too ...

We were off to a decent start and Darshil was playing freely building his innings around confidence, hunger to score runs and a little aggressive approach to set a tone for others to follow. A maiden wicket over to send back Ronak, was followed by 5 dot balls from the same bowler, with Darshil on the strike, but then he already had enough of the bowler, as he went after him by hitting the last ball, implementing an exotic stroke which was a delight to watch and to capture in the lens, to get a boundary, the first of his innings. Sannato (Viral) was holding up the other hand pretty well too, as The Immortals scoreboard read, 36 runs for the loss of just 1 wicket...

This has now started becoming a tradition for us to follow, and I personally think (and am sure almost everyone of us would agree) that the real challenge in playing Cricbay's 20-20 type Tennis ball cricket is not how hard you can hit the ball, not even how aggressive you can be, but the advantage lies in the scoreboard you have put up at a break of 10 overs. With 9 wickets in hand, and a decent total of 30+ runs on the board of 10 overs, and another 10 to go, the batsman then have the license to kill and after seeing off a couple of overs, can aim for a good total to put pressure on the opposition. No use in scoring 50 runs off 10 overs by losing 7-8 wickets and then folding up the rest of the innings in 5-7 runs to get a measely total of 55-60... So I think The Immortals are coming off age, and touch wood, it is not just one man show, but on a given day any one of the top 11 (lol) can click and can give the opposition a taste of Immortality ... 3 cheers to that :)

After the break, the batsman started opening up the face of the bat a bit more freely, with a couple of good overs, the Immortals were still very much on the track for a good total. But then the thing which we all so much want to run away from, a superstitious thought, and it hanuted us once again and the Immortals found themselves once again cursing the ill-fated total of 52 runs on the board, and a couple of wickets went down. It has become inevitable for The Immortals to stir up some tension in the dugout whenever the score reaches 52-53 and co-incidentally enough we have observed that somehow or the other we always lose the momentum on this figure. It seemed we were once again on the verge of another batting collapse, but what was started by our Captain, was then finished off by our Vice Captain, Aditya as he scored a brisk 15 off just 20 balls, to take the team to a respectable total of 80 runs at a loss of 8 wickets. On the way to it he also helped me to get a great strike rate of 0 balls faced and 0 runs scored, when he called for a suicidal run and got me run out lol ... I was so much wanting to send him back but then thought maybe the layers of Butter, Cheese and Paneer was too much for him to do a 360 degree turn and go back, and even if he managed somehow to swivel off the gigantic legs, my money was on the possibility that he definitely could not have bent down so much to ground the bat in time as someone mentions that it is always his beer belly that crosses the crease first rather than the bat or the legs lol ... No offense but that is how our VC is lol :) The Megastars did bowl well to restrict us to just 80, when we were trying to aim for atleast 90 odd runs and that is reflected in the number of extras they sent down - a mediocre 5 extras ...

End of the innings, and the job was still only half done ... The bowlers were on the radar and had to fire all cylinders to suppress the opposition right from the first ball ... The opening pair of Bhupesh and Nirmam bowled extraordinarily great to push Megastars on the back foot ... Fielding was one notch higher this time, and people were just falling for the ball everywhere backing the bowlers to increase their confidence... Amazing is the fact that 3-4 good fielding stints gives the bowler so much confidence and freedom to try something new and that is the trump ball which gets us a wicket ... 6 overs between Nirmam and Bhupesh they gave away only 12 runs and with Bhupesh getting us the two great breakthroughs to literally suffocate the batsman. The ball was then turned to our VC, Aditya, and after a long break, he did his job, and the figures were a reminiscence of last year's bowling, where he would bowl 4 overs, give away 3-5 runs and fire a maiden in between and gobble up 3-4 wickets (giving justice to his appetite)... This game, he did something similar, as he took home 4 wickets, for mere 4 runs of 20 legitimate deliveries... That was some bowling performance with only 9 extras given in the innings and the bowlers bowling in tandem made sure that Megstars were not to a great start as expected ... At the break their score read some 18-20 runs for the loss of 3-4 wickets ... The game was pretty much over by then, but as I always say, it aint over until its all over ...

Their two middle order batsman were literally frustrating us at one point of time, when they would play and miss, or just stand there and defend. They both faced a total of 50 deliveries before falling for Aditya's pace ... The highlight of Aditya's bowling was a fast off-cutter which just went through the batsman's defenses and uprooted the leg stump... There was some good bowling figures for both the Karans and leaving the only 4 which Megstars hit to our Captain Darshil, his figures were also decent. Overall it was a great bowling performance backed by superb fielding which caused 4 runouts and ended the Megastars innings at 48 runs. The highlight of the fielding side were two brilliant runouts both from Karans - Batti and Keka, one the bowler's end with a throw from behind the Keeper by Batti and another a direct hit by Keka to rattle the furniture before the batsman was even in eye sight ... Awesome fielding guys, it won us the game we wanted to :) ...

The funny part is if we take a look at the scorecard, I guess of all the playing 11 in this game, every one did a bit of everything except one player lol :

Darshil - Scored Runs

Viral - Scored Runs and took a catch

Ronak - Took a catch and got a runout

Aditya - Scored Runs, Took 4 wickets

Nirmam - Got a runout

Jainip - Got a runout

Karan (Keko) - Got a runout

Karan (Batti) - Got a runout

Bhupesh - Got 2 wickets

Kapad - Atleast he faced a ball and connected for a shot..

The only person who did nothing at all was ME LOL !!!Samy - No runs scored, No balls faced, No bowling (which of-course I dont think I have to when other medium pacers are doing well lol), and of-course NO CATCHES EITHER !!! So Kapad do feel better as you atleast faced one ball lol ... So what did I do? Well as always, I was capturing the above moments and are showcased here (sorry but I did not sort ALL of them to reduce the redundant pics):

Click on the links below:











Random Moments

Score Card

The man of the match was Dagga seth (Captain) for his well fought 30 runs on a degrading pitch and giving us the opportunity to witness some of the finest stroke plays in recent days ... But I think the MOM awards should be shared with me, toppling everyone on the list in batting, bowling and fielding at 2500+ pics capturing all these catches, runs scored and wickets taken. So that actually makes me the prime player of The Immortals. People are not aware of "real" talent I tell you ... JK :) LOL !!!

Next up is going to be Rising XI after we enjoy a break from the action for the weekend of 18-19th. Till then enjoy the pics, follow The Immortals and stay tuned for more exciting reports.


(PS: There are some adult pics of our VC - Aditya, which my camera clicked on its own, so if you guys want to view it kindly put a request in the comments section and I shall send you the link ... LOL - I did not want to embarass our lovely tooty frooty chubby VC lol :) )

Monday, April 6, 2009

Match Report: 03/28: vs DarkHorse CC

The first game was a good success, played on a new home ground, and the tactics changing a little bit right from the field set, to the way how the batsman played utilizing the spreaded field advantage to their own benefits. Could The Immortals keep the ball rolling in their next home game, before they head off for an on road two away games stint which no doubt would be our toughest challenges of all this season. But first things first, as everyone now believes considering any opponent of equal or more importance and not to be complacent with just one good win in the season opener, The Immortals had to keep their heads down in the game.

This last weekend, The Immortals hosted the Dark Horse CC, facing each other for the first time ever, and this time to make sure we do not have any issues with the ground, we directly went to Cupertino Middle School where we played in the first game. After all, who likes to run around on a warm Saturday morning which is meant either for sleeping, or for playing cricket, rather than scurrying around to stamp some ground to our name, and later on find out as time goes by, that those kiddos with their parents start showing up for their little league. Mind you, the name, even though says little league, I bet they can be more smarter in the way they practice than most of us.

Again the same old story, where our Captain (Darshil, Dagga) somehow, always comes back with a remorseful face, and tries to explain that it is not that he is unlucky with the toss, it could be just due to the wind drifting the luck (and the coin) to the opposition's side. So once, again, we lost the toss, which was not new to us, and surprisingly enough we were put into bat first. As someone commented, looking to the excitement of the lustful players to bat first, that it would be better from now on instead of doing the toss, just ask outright to the opposite captain "What are you gonna do today buddy? If you guys want to bowl, our batsman have been holding the bats since their childhood days to get a chance at batting first, so is there a need for a toss? Why don't you guys bowl, and we shall bat !".

As always, two things that I mentioned, that The Immortals do not have control over is - finding a ground (which luckily this weekend, we stick to where we played before) and the Umpires section - this time, one of the umpire not gracing our game with his presence. When the umpire did arrive in the middle of the game, and when asked about being late (or careless), he just simply replied "MY captain told me the game was on sunday!". WTF was that about ? Lol. (Psst: We intend to get our captain (Darshil) a bashing from all the cricbay teams, by simultaneously not showing up at umpiring tasks and/or putting the blame on him lol ...)

For a change, this time and going forward, I decided to put my newly purchased Digital SLR Nikon Camera to great use, by clicking some moments from the game and archive them.. (I did not think I had this idea of uploading them as archives onto this blog later on...) But this game against the Dark Horse CC was such, that I did not want to miss a single moment, and luck was on my side (sarcatically), and I was not in the playing XI this weekend. A bit disappointed, but unlike old times did not want to create an issue out of it, but would have surely appreciated if The Immortals management would have atleast informed me 24 hours before the actual game (I am not asking for more than 24 hours)... After all I would have taken this opportunity to go and meet my fiance in LA, instead of showing up for practice, and then on late Friday night finding out that I was not in the playing 11 for the game on saturday. But anyways, I was not to be disappointed by being a spectator for the entire game as what was to come, no one would have thought of, even though some of us might have anticipated with the way The Immortals were finding their rhythm back.

The start was rock solid, with our Master Blaster - Ronak, and our Captain again opening for the second consecutive time, and this time pushing down Sanato down the order. Ronak was batting with great rhythm from ball one, and both the openers were going great, before Darshil mistimed a shot and a good catch was held to send him back to the dugout. Sanato, was up next, and he did hit some good 2's over his favorite region on the leg side, going over the fence. But he
too got out to a rising delivery, and came back sulking, with a sad face as always. All these shots, runs, moments were being constantly captured through numerous clicks.

Batti (karan SJSU) was next, again, with his Kookabura, which now has become a symbol of his exotic cover shots, and leg side boundaries. And boy, he did not disappoint us, as he dismissed the bowler for a four, the very first ball. More importantly, he played a waiting game, and faced a good 20 odd balls, giving support to someone, who just would not stop - Ronak the boy with the baton. Batti got out, and Jainip too was dismissed cheaply after that. In walked our VC (Aditya) as usual to drop the anchor and yet score briskly. Such has been the batting order, that on paper, it would surely look intimidating but we all know, that consistency is what lacks for us in terms of putting up a good display in the batting department, especially in the middle order, when a score of 80-90 looks comfortable, and suddenly we find ourselves on the field defending just a mere 60-65 runs.

Ronak and VC, got together in a great partnership stand, and made a mockery of the bowlers. Off side, straigt shots, leg flicks, and what not, in all a complete package, and the DSLR was just clicking itself to a record breaking 1000 pics... But what was it gonna be? Will there be another icing on the cake? Of-course, the Immortals can never stop surprising the opposition (or our own selves lol) ... Ronak found himself entering the 40s with some glorious shots for boundaries, and I myself was getting wet feet, when he was on 48-49 ... In came the bowler, a good ball, whack, hit on the leg side, and Ronak ran for a single, converted it to a 2, and there it was - the moment that we had never ever experienced before (and only seen in other team's scorecards, or heard on Cricbay) - a batsman hitting 50 runs - a half-century - and that too one of us - What a game, what a batsman, what an innings ... Everyone was on their feet, cheering Ronak and my DSLR was just clicking the entire run, right from his stance, to the completion of his run, his jump in the air, and a hi-fi punch with our Captain ... After all it was a very well fought 50 and all the credit goes to him for not making me regret of not going to LA. Speaking about our captain, he just could not hold his arse until Ronak completed his 50, just when Ronak set off for a single, Darshil went dancing on the ground and almost reached the point fielder, when he realized that the batsman are running 2, and LOL, he had to run back inside to the safety of the dug out... And he ruined the sequence in my camera, but the Sehwag type moment about the punch in the air, was captured nicely. (Psst: Co-incidentally, right from the stance, to his 50, and raising his bat to us, Ronak's 50 took exactly 50 frames - not one more or one less)...

Well you must be wondering what next? Well then as anticipated once reaching the 50 run mark, and taking the team to a respectable total, all hell break loose. Ronak and VC just started clobbering the bowlers all over the field, and got the team to cross the 100-run mark ending the Immortals innings at 102 for 5 wickets in 20 overs. Ronak, no doubt, standing out with 59 runs of 62 balls with 4 fours and 1 six. 102 looked a great score, especially if you know how these baseball grounds are and how Tennis ball cricket is played, but would that surely be enough ? Will Dark Horse CC come from behind to bite us ? Well read ahead as you will find a lot of action still unfolding.

As you would always find me shouting on the field, it aint over until its all over, and this time again, we were to experience something similar to that. Of-course a good 100+ total, would surely give our bowlers the necessary boost to try something new, and yet put pressure on the opposition. The openers gave a good start, and our bowlers were doing decent enough. There were some anxious moments in between but we held to our nerves and stuck to our basics of restricting the batsman. One of their players, Vivek was a good bat, and he was hitting our bowlers all over the park, but then an awesome throw from our VC resulted into a direct hit to send the batsman back to the pavillion. Overall the bowlers did well and the fielders were right up to the mark, with 4 runouts and all the catches held nicely. In the end, all that started well, ended nicely with The Immortals winning by 20 runs.

There were about 1700 odd photographs clicked and it would be impossible to share all of them, but I plan to atleast filter them and upload signiciant pictures for everyone to enjoy. It would be more fun if you can download and then go through them in a sequence to give you a real-time effect of actually wacthing the entire shot, or the bowling stint. Enjoy the pics and there are more to come down the line ... There are almost ball by ball pics, but I have tried keeping them to a bare minimum, and yet there are plenty to see ... I now understand how much hard it must be to concentrate on taking the pics, when there are some awesome moments in the game, by not getting carried away in the heat of the game ...

Random Fun Moments


Friday, April 3, 2009

Match Report: 03/21: vs Royal Ranji

With a new season, comes a new aura, a new plan, a new phase, and everyone just succumbs to it ... For us in The Immortals camp, the mark of the regular season 2009 meant, 6-7 months of cricketing action, bowlers attacking batsman, batsman running for their runs, fielders toiling in the Californian summer to save every single and to hold on to those important catches, and at the end more importantly the new season meant a new chapter in the history of The Immortals ...

With being the Gold Cup champions in the rookie season 2008 and a humilating early round exit in the Fall Open 2008 immediately following the glory of being a Gold Champ, what can The Immortals bring on to the field for the tough exciting brand new Cricbay Regular Season 2009. One thing for sure, is this team now definitely maturing, growing strongly, and knows how to handle defeats and yet come up on top of it and deliver a stunning performance game after game. With the same agenda of sticking to the basics, delivering the best, The Immortals took on Royal Ranji in their season opener. Both the teams meeting for the first time, wanted to get their winning momentum back on track, and build on to it. It was crucial how the first game goes, as that would surely set the tone for the rest of the season to come. The match was played in Cupertino and The Immortals were the home team.

As always, a fine saturday morning, a pleasant California Summer, a perfect day for cricket, and along with came the never ending issue of not having a permanent Home Ground registered. The game was delayed as the players went scurrying for the ground, and luckily found (one of the best till date) in Cupertino. The game was set, players were all charged up, both the teams agreed to play the full 20 overs and not deduct a couple of overs due to a late start. The Immortals lost the toss and Royal Ranji choose to bat first.

Now, a day before, in the practice session for The Immortals, it was decided that I, would not be fielding at my regular Off side position, as I have been a bit on and off the rhythm in that position, although I have been there long enough for almost each game that I have played. But lately, the talented players thought it would be better to put someone else there, and "hide" me somewhere else on the field ... Well, I dont deny the fact, that there have been some sloppy incidents on the Off side, but then it is a hard position to be in where the batsman is more likely to score a lot of runs, but nevertheless, respecting the Captain's (more of Vice Captain's) call, I moved on to the leg side, right besides the Leg Umpire ... Well, ahem, as fate might be, and as Ronak mentioned when the game started that the ball follows me, the very first ball, very first delivery of the Season Opener and it was flicked by the batsman to the leg side, and surprisingly, it landed right in my hands ... In just a split second, the first wicket was down, and more astonishing was the fact that I had "held" to the catch ... (Psst: Even though it did look like as if it was almost to get out of my hands lol) ... Phew !!! I survived a bashing from Nirmam who was the bowler...

Great start, but then as always, the other two batsman put their heads down, and started building the innings ... Our bowlers worked hard to get us back in the game, but Ranji's captain was playing a steady innings. Then the moment came, which by now we all are very much seasoned for, as always, there was an appeal for a clean caught behind, which was not given by the umpire in our favor, and nor did the batsman walk ... It was so much frustrating and we have been through these rituals umpteen times ... One would say there could be only one thing which could be frequently biting us, but for The Immortals, there were two - finding a confirmed Home Ground (and that too not on the day of the match) and dealing with Umpires ... We have always been unlucky in these two departments ... Nothing that we could do, and we just go back to go on with the game ...

Now within these moments, I had a small chat with Keka (Karan) that this captain of the opposite team is a good player, and he always plays such long innings (as I happened to watch him score 48 runs in a game which I was umpiring), and Keka lightly but passionately said, he is mine ... And the very next ball, after the appeal for caught behind went down, Keka bowled something, which just went past the batsman, and the furniture was broken ... The first bowled moment seen after a long long time ... We were just hungry for that ... The partnership was broken ... Were we back in the game ?

Of-course the going never gets easy, and there was this another batsman who would not just get out ... None of our bowlers looked to make an impact, and runs were coming at an easy pace ... Well but then we can never stop surprising ourselves, leave alone the opposition :) The ball was given to another Karan of our team (Batti, SJSU), and well the first over he bowled, and what was to come was just truly a feeling of champion ... He spinned the batsman into wonderland such that, not only he got wickets, but he bowled superbly enough to contain the batsman in scoring freely. Well what then? The rest as they say was history ... The Immortals were back in business, and they literally cooked the oppositon who were in pressure ...

At one stage when Ranji's were 60 for 3 wickets, they just folded to some awesome bowling from Karan (Batti) who took 3 wickets for a measle 7 runs in 3 overs and some great work in the field to end their innings at 72 ... The last 7 wickets going down for just 12 runs ... Great comeback, but still paranoia surrounded The Immortals ... After all the game was just half over, and the other half of the battle was still to be won ... Mind you, we could be called chokers, if not literally, but to an extent when it comes down to chasing even the lowest of scores ...

As always, Nirmam our tensed buddy, was marching up and down in the dug out, and the openers got ready to finish the task and take the Immortals home for a first victory of the season ... With our regular opener Sanato (Viral) out for this game, it was left to our Captain (Darshil) and the natural opener Ronak, to see that there are no more hiccups ... They got off to a good start, and held the innings together, with a steady pace ... Darshil was outright fluent in his shots, and Ronak was holding the other hand to frustrate the opposition ...

The funny moment of the game occurred when, Ronak got out when the score was just 22, next in was Jainip, and just as he was about to get up from the bench, and walk towards the field, Nirmam with his tensed voice just said "Ubho Rehje" (Stand and Wait), in order to indicate to play a patient innings and to stand at the crease without getting out... LOL so funny was the moment, when Jainip literally frooze in his track half bent, half standing, and we all thought that Nirmam wanted to go in to bat :)

Well, the runs were coming steadily with a captain innings, and Karan (Batti) with his Kookabura (which is made so much fun of by Nirmam) ... There was a biggie from our captain too to prove that he can clear the ropes just when someone in the dugout had mentioned that there are only 2 players on our team who can do so - Nirmam and Ronak, WHACK was the sound that broke our conversation and we saw Darshil's shot making a mockery of our comments as the ball landed outside the rope for a 6 !!! At the end it was the Captain and our comedian entertaining Vice Captain (Aditya) to see that Immortals won the game, by 7 wickets and almost 5 overs to spare ...

A win, is always going to be sweet, doesn't matter if it comes against a weak, good or a better opposition, especially to set the mood with a season opener. As always the complaints were only with the umpiring and with Aditya making a lot of funny arse comments on the field ... But at the end we won ... The man of the match was no doubt - Karan (SJSU) Shah (Batti) - for his 3 crucial wickets, and some handy runs ... Great performances ...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

History in the making - The story behind The Immortals !!!

As said, it takes two to tango, but then it took 11 of us and some more to dance to the tune of a sport, called Cricket, a sport, which is so crazily followed, talked about and played all round the year in the country where we all hailed from. After all Cricket, runs in our blood, we breathe, dream and live for cricket, especially now that we get only 5 hours worth of it, on the weekends as compared to those endless summer cricket sessions during school and college days back in India ...

Well, I am not here to rant about how great the game of Cricket stands, as there are no recipies that I can describe to explain the taste of this awesome game, but I am here to jumpstart a Blog, an entity which definitely for years to come would stand out to symbolize the greatness of certain players ... Speaking about players, this Blog is all about Cricket and only Cricket ... This post is just to traverse down the memory lane, almost over a year back in 2008, when out of the blue, this team called The Immortals was formed ... Mind you, a year back, no one even cared what the name was, but this time of the year, 2 seasons old, that same name has now become a legend in the making ... Most of us out here, cannot think about Cricket without the Immortals :)

It so happened, in Feb-Mar 2008, our Ex-Captain, Savan Patel, brought the ONLY ingenious idea till date (He cannot be blamed for being a Bluish Michigan, after all Ideas are hard to come by) ... It so happened that he had played this league called Cricbay before, and he and I were discussing about registering a team and getting most of our friends here in the Bay Area to get involved in playing Cricket over the weekend ... After all it had been a long long wait to get something going in terms of sports (at-least for a majority of us), and we were almost going paranoid about putting our feet in the wet sand of old age and sinking in quite rapidly ... So that is how, The Immortals were born, and we registered, formed a team, got the necessary gear, which ridiculously consisted of only 2 bats and a set of stumps ... After all we just wanted to go out and have some fun, who thought a year back, that The Immortals are going to mean serious business down the line, and I personally never even thought that I would be creating this Blog for The Immortals ...

Well as they all say, what starts well, always ends well, even though ironically in the situation here, it never looked as if it was going to end so soon ... The Immortals started practicing, trying to shed off the rust which was for so long being accumulated on the bones for some, and for some it was just a layer of rustness which would have to be lipo-sucked to get rid of those tyres which till date have not yet deserted their faithful daddy (if you know who I mean) ... But nevertheless, the excitement of just playing Cricket was too much in the camp, and even though we lost a couple of early practice games, we were not disheartened ... It was the first time, that all of us were playing a hard-tennis ball game, on a baseball field, with some orthodox fielding restrictions ... Experience was yet to come and the team was still a baby but growing at a fast rate ...

The Regular Season 2008 started, and the team was doing quite decent enough, and everyone was having fun ... Winning was not the top most priority, but surely was needed to get the team going, and then came a hard loss, a loss which was never meant to be at the end of the first round, and it pinched everyone so hard, that for the first time, the bench was so hot and steaming about the loss, that everyone thought they had found a common goal - Winning for The Immortals ...

The second round was a tough ordain, and with all sorts of calculations in place, we were eyeing the ultimate prize of the tournament - The Platinum Cup ... End of the second round, it came down to one last game, a do-or-die situation to enter the Platinums and capture the last berth and advance to the playoffs - But as the Cricketing Gods up above thought, these bunch of chums still need to think a lot, get some bad experiences to mature as a team, after all why should they be given a rosy script ... So be it, we lost that last game too again at the end of the round, and we found ourselves playing the Gold Cup - but, to cheer us up, we were ranked # 1 in the Gold Cup.

Playoffs, the team found their act together, match after match, not one single player, but as a team we made progress and it paid off... We found ourselves playing the Gold Cup finals ... But amongst all this progress of the team, also came progress in other departments ... We got ourselves regular dose of Water, Gatorade, we also got couple of decent bats, bails and what not ... But we never got ourselves a decent enough Kit to carry these around ... (And till date while I am typing this post, we still do not have that much talked about Cricket Kit/Bag) ...

Well anyways, shedding the criticism for the existing Immortals management (after all we are going to get our own team t-shirts this season, god knows when, but we are still hoping for it), let us get back to where we were in the Gold Cup Finals - to keep it simple - WE WON THE GOLD CUP !!! The first season, that we played in Cricbay, and we were the GOLD CUP CHAMPIONS ... What would be a better morale boost to get the team going on and hold on to its players, although at any point of time it never seemed that anyone is thinking of quitting and going back to their boring lives ... We were ready for the next season (although it turned out to be a night mare with an early exit, and I am not going to post anything for that) ...

So overall it has been a long journey, and we are still no where near our destination ... The team is still hungry to win, the fire just keeps on burning within, and the desire to perform better each weekend keeps The Immortals train going .... Looking back, it has been a great pleasure and fun to be a part of this fanatic cricket lovers, non-sensical buddies, good cricketing minds, lazy arses, awesome performers (any day) and over all it has been great to be a part of The Immortals ... I hope this blog, keeps on running, and the team members at-least be pro-active and be a part of this too just like they are a part of everything else on the Team ... After all at the end it is the "TEAM" who wins and shines out in the rough :) ...

3 Cheers for The Immortals ... May we keep on winning !!! And I look forward to comments and memories of the past year from all my team members ... This could be a lot of fun to re-collect certain incidents which we always talk about ...

Samy ...