Good moments do not last too long, but we in the Immortals camp believe that the worst memories are just a matter of a blink of an eye, and they will soon fade away. No one had expected, and with such a strong batting line up on paper and on the field for the past few games, the Immortals were the last ones to expect to find themselves in shackles on a day that was rightfully called the moment of truth, a reality check for all of us.
This last weekend, the Immortals were up against Cosmos CC, with all intentions of playing a good game and winning to take the tally to a dream run of 7-0. No one expected Cosmos to put the brakes on the Immortals rolling wagon, and yet we did not want the team to be complacent to allow any blunders. Well, due to the unavailability of our home ground, we found ourselves playing Cosmos on their home ground in Fremont. Who knew, a ground could be so important in some games, that it changes the tone of the players at the end of the day. The toss luckily (or to our disadvantage), was not even called by our Captain, and yet he won it to silence the critics. We choose to bat first on an unknown terrirtory which at a first glance surely looked to live upto its expectations of assisting the bowlers, and it seemed the call would be to bowl first. But nevertheless, it did not matter, as we all follow the team's call and not individual opinions and choices.
The innings started cautiously, and to throw more caution to the wind, we were facing someone whom we have played a couple of times before and knew that he could surely deliver some good spells. With the Cosmos opening bowlers Sachin and Rikki bowling to their full strength, it seemed, the Immortals just got bogged down from ball 1. Cutting the long story short, 9 batsman were dismissed for a total of 20 odd runs (from the bat) + 8 extras (if we consider 50 % of the total extras given by Cosmos) within a space of 55 deliveries. A disaster ? The bowler Ricky bowled extraordinarily well that he got 5 scalps to his name for just 9 runs off his 4 overs. Our batsman on the other hand, batted extraordinarily well to eventually get their feet wet and somehow lose the grip to go tumbling down.
The mistake of one or two is always a good lesson for the rest, but the way everyone was batting it clearly showed lack of practice on such minefield pitches, and a great lack of concentration, composure and thinkful hitting. I am no one to criticize or analyze each batsman's shots, but I believe instead of a mere spectator highlighting what was correct and what was not, it would be better left to each of the batsman to analyze their own shots, their own game and think as to what was required and what was not required at the stage that each of them went to bat when their team was trying to save the blemishes of a humiliating loss.
A stage where one needs to play a role of an anchor around which the entire team can revolve, someone needs to step up and take the responsibility, as wickets were still tumbling down in ridiculous monotonicity with the Immortals batsman showing no determination to occupy the crease. Such a calm innings which injected some blood into the Immortals came from Nirmam and Karan (Keko) as they put on almost half of the total runs out of 52 on the board, as they both faced a combined 46 deliveries between them to save the Immmortals from a disgraceful Cricbay career low total. But once again, the magical figure of 52 saw Immortals push no further, as the innings was wrapped up in the 18th over and Immortals even though back with some momentum with a late surge, still faced the uphill task of dismantling the opposition, IF they had to win this encounter.
Just like the start which the Immortals had got in the batting spectacle was never ever seen before in any of the games, a similar situation followed in the second half, where Nirmam and Darshil opened up the bowling. (There was no Bhupesh as he was away on personal duty, but he would have been carrying the same body language if he had witnessed the batting collapse earlier). But, as we the Immortals are so called for, we did not give up, and we did not want that Cosmos just took away the game from us so easily. And what a start it was, so far the best in any of the innings we have played, as we dismissed 4 of the top order batsman for a mere 4 runs in the first 4 overs. The total read, COSMOS CC: 4 Overs, 4 Runs, 4 Wickets.
Nirmam took a great reflex catch of his own bowling, whilst the keeper Ronak took the catch of his life, with a diving effort off Nirmam's bowling. Darshil played his part in dismissing the opener and with another bowled from Nirmam, the Cosmos CC faced an uphill task and suddenly the game seemed to shift in the Immortals favor. But as we always say, it aint over, until its all over, and even though Cosmos CC lost one more wicket before the break, the other two batsman were starting to get the momentum going to take Cosmos CC home with a win over the Immortals. The bowlers then could not do any more damage to them, and the energy just fell apart.
Our bowling was upto the strength, the pitch was doing it's task, and that resulted in a lot of extras, but a couple of bad overs in addition to those extras, made it quite comfortable for the Cosmos CC batsman to manage to snatch the win away from our hands. Even after such a great start, at the end, it was Cosmos CC who won the game comfortably in just 16.3 overs at a loss of 6 wickets to hand over the Immortal their first defeat this season.
A lot of positives and negatives were bound to come out after the game during the team huddle, and that conversation did live upto its expectations too, but one thing for sure which stood out was that, the Immortals took this defeat very sportingly, with no fingers being pointed to anyone in particular, but each one blaming their own self for either batting poorly, playing bad shots, or bowling a few extras or just simply not contributing in some way or the other. There were no criticism arguments for anyone in particular, and the Immortals have learnt lot of things from this game.
- A bad start, or what could be called a disaster, with the team reeling at 27 for 9 saw their last two batsman lift the total to 52 runs.
Lesson learnt is to keep faith in all the playing 11 choosen on any given day out of the team roster. There is no need for any single person to be a superstar, but to have faith in all the stars.
- Bowling was all fired up, and 4 overs, 4 runs, 4 wickets could have been a dream start when defending such a total on a disastrous pitch.
Lesson learnt was to keep the momentum going and be a bit more aggressive in the field when defending a low total. All 11 are obliged to support the team under any circumstances and not drop their shoulders at any stage of the game.
- Not lack of practice, but lack of controlled, responsible and disciplined practice on Fridays.
What next: Each player needs to play sensibly, responsibly and adjusting to the game as the situation demands. And this in turn should come from the practice sessions with some seriousness to the game in all departments. Batting is not the ONLY key to a game of cricket during practice sessions.
- Words and advises are of no value when they are actually not implemented during the practice or the game day. Less talk and more work should be the key.
What next: Everyone knows what to do next ... Criticism is always easier than actual Appreciation ...
A loss, is always a loss, no matter how good the fight was, but the pain fades away when the team lifts their performance to the next level in the very next game. Up next are arch-rivals Aptech CC and the Immortals camp are raring to go.
Lets bring this one home guys, and show what we really are made up of.
Go Immortals all the way !!!
(PS: I do not expect a lot of comments, on this loss and this report, but sportsman spirit earns a lot of respect)