Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Match Report: 05/16: vs Cosmos CC

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 ...

Score Card


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)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Match Report: 05/09: vs Thunderdawgs

This time I am just going to start my report with a simple statement: Once again, our captain was on a rampage of losing tosses and now this has been taken out of the team’s equation for winning. The formula no longer includes the toss factor in it, because win or lose, the toss really does not matter for us, and the way our Captain has been leading our team to victories one after another, he surely can send the critics a run for their money when we discuss the topic of losing tosses. This has been the best start of any of the seasons that we have played so far, and a lot of credit directly or indirectly must go to the Captain – Darshil (Dagga Sheth), even though he ends up losing tosses one after the other. It is his gratitude that he loses the toss, the teams make us field first, and thus our captain generously helps our bowlers to get to a great start early on. LOL. Well this Saturday was no different, and the opposition – Thunderdawgs – made us field first.

It has now become a monotonous routine to see Bhupesh and Nirmam open up the bowling for us, and on each occasion they have put the batsman on the back foot from ball one. Wickets come and go, but the hard work and persistence pays off as these two bowl 5-6 overs in tandem, with the opposition score reading a ridiculously low 6-8 runs and to have some icing on the cake, they could be down by 2-3 wickets. But, this was going to be a different day altogether, with not just the bowling but the fielding stints too. A lot of credit goes to the opposition’s batsman who supported us by causing 4 run-outs. The bowlers did their job well sending down only 6 extras, and this shows what a big difference it makes when there is a tight grip on the extras. Batsmen don’t get those extra 1-2 runs per over to ease the pressure, and as a result they are forced to play shots, which gives us even more chances to get them out, or in the heat of the moment they go for suicidal runs thus resulting into run-outs.

The only complain that we have ever had are not from our dugout, or the opposition’s dugouts, but from two different dugouts which are not even on the field except for the fact that they stand behind the stumps and turn down the ferocious appeals of our keeper Ronak or just blindly rule down the run-out appeals of our VC – Aditya. They don’t even get scared with the fact that these two people, whom they are trying to rattle, Ronak, who will avenge his turned down appeals, by hitting the bowler all over the 360, and Aditya who will avenge his shouts, by sending a couple of beamers and bouncers with his extremely drastically Slow Right Finger Stomach Spin bowling … Well time will give a chance to the Immortals to take revenge on all these umpires who just have some kind of grudge to take out on us whenever they come to our game.

Thunderdawgs a respectable team in the league, were left reeling at 38 for 9 after an attacking opening spell from Bhupesh, Nirmam with some great middle order bursts, cooking the batsman into a pressure cooker by Aditya, Jaishal and Karan (Keko). With Aditya and Keko getting two wickets a piece, and Jaishal bagging one in his kitty, the other 4 wickets were simply outstanding brilliance in the field. Although a dropped catch from my hands should have triggered a series of abuses from my team-mates, the batsman just thought to give their support to me and set off for a second run when I dropped that catch, and I was not far behind when I pounced this chance to avoid a thrashing from my mates and got the batsman run out from a dropped catch. Another brilliant effort from Aditya was turned down by the umpire but Keko was not leaving anything to chances as he too played his part alongside Viral and Darshil to result into 4 runouts. If it had not been for the umpire’s aging mistake, Thunderdawgs would have been all out for 38-40 runs, but instead a decision where even the batsman was about to walk, was turned down, and they managed to score 11 runs off the last over, to reach 49 runs off 20 overs for the loss of 9 wickets.

Ronak was all fired up, and pissed at the umpire, and declared that he is going to quit wicket keeping and instead Samy (Me) will be the wicket keeper. He instead will take Aditya’s position in the bowling department, as our VC has been bowling a tremendously snail type slow speed deliveries, but the difference would be that Ronak would love to bowl from the striker’s end into the non-striker, and aim for the Umpire’s B****. Nevertheless, he was just pacing relentlessly to start the innings alongside Darshil. Luckily enough, this time my DSLR was around and that too with a tripod. So that was less effort for me to just stand there and click some pics which are shared below.

The chase for 50 off 20 overs began slowly, but steadily and both the batsman started firing some quick runs, pacing their game nicely to give the Immortals a solid start. The score was never meant to be a challenging total especially the way our batsman have been clicking in different innings. It could be anyone’s day anytime and that is a great quality for a team. Any win, or any loss should never be an individual’s blame, but a team’s game. Darshil was a bit reluctant to go after the bowlers and play his natural game, and he regretted that a bit later, when he was bowled by what seemed the only good delivery of the entire Thunderdawg’s bowling side. Our captain regretted for not playing his natural game but then he is the opener. He is going to get a lot of chances down the line with some more important games coming up.

It was left to Sannato (Viral) and Ronak to steer the ship back home, and both did splendidly well to cruise along at 50 for 1 off just 14.2 overs. The man of the match was Ronak for his 25 not out, 2 caught behinds, and his part in couple of run-outs. The joy that overwhelmed everyone on the field was of not yet going down this season and with one more win, the score now reads 6-0. The Immortals are still unbeaten this season, with many more to come. It was time for an update to the pic on the blog, and we rightly did so as you will see the profile pic has now changed.

Score Card


Couple of things that I would like to mention:
- The Immortals got their first kit and hopefully the t-shirts are on the way.
- Chasing or Defending – The Immortals have now done it all this season and have done it with great style and confidence ..
- No game has been a one- man show, with everyone contributing in some way or the other..
- Most IMP – No superstitious beliefs now can bog us down, as this time I deliberately highlighted our game in my Cricbox edition on Cricbay, and winning this game, proved that the Immortals are now way ahead of those old beliefs. Unless we all want to blame something or the other for any of our losses, we don’t think there is any need to talk about superstitions when we are playing so confidently.

Great game, great win with many more on the road …
Next up is Cosmos CC to make it 7-0.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Match Report: 05/02: vs Knights

Take 1: Cricket is bound to bring the best out of all, and such is the attraction and love for the game, that The Immortals just wanted to get off work, go out and enjoy a good practice session on a lovely Friday evening.
Take 2: Enters the spoilsport - the weather devil, and it is raining cats and dogs all over the bay area on what could have been a cool-warm summer cricket session. Was this rain going to dampen the spirits of The Immortals?
Take 3: Such was the love for the game, and the spirit to play, that almost all the players made it to the practice session and played their hearts out with rain belting on. The Immortals have surely come of their age, and have found a way to enjoy Cricket the most when the going gets tough.

Fast-forward to Saturday, and it's Game Day. What better opponents than the finalists of the Gold Cup (which the Immortals won proudly) and the word was that Knights are all but looking forward to this game. Well who wasn't ? After all it's one thing that everyone waits the entire week, a lovely game of Cricket. Once again, the toss, as usual our captain Darshil lost it and surprisingly enough Knights choose to bat first. The pitch was totally unfamiliar to them, and add to it, it had drizzled a bit over night, and Knights could have put the Immortals batting line up to real test if they had opted to field first. But nevertheless, chasing or defending, The Immortals were up to it, and given this opportunity to field first, would love to get on top of the opposition from the very first ball.

Speaking about the very first ball, my buddy Bhupesh, jokingly got offended when I compared him to Prasad in my last report (which actually I was just pointing to the duel between Prasad and Sohail), but I promised him, this time, bowl viciously and I would promote him to McGrath. Boy, did he take it too passionately? The first ball of the day, Bhupesh firing in, a good length delivery, and the batsman looks forward to dispose it to the leg side boundary. Alas, to find the safe hands of Aditya and up the Immortals went. Score read: 0 runs for 1 wicket in 0.1 balls. What a start that was? But hold your breath just enough, as there was more to come... In the same over, with a little assistance from the pitch, Bhupesh delivered a ferocious delivery which just exploded off the pitch catching the batsman by surprise on his rise, taking the upper hand/palm and looping a straightforward dolly to Keko (Karan)... 2 wickets in the first over and could this get better?

Well, the answer was delivered in the very next over from Nirmam, who has found his teasing line and length since opening alongside Bhupesh, and he was bang on target. A nice half volley, and the batsman was lured into going for it, and he did so rightly enough to hit the ball straight into our captain Darshil's hands. Score: X runs, 3 wickets, 1.3 overs. The Immortals were off to a dream start. The next few overs saw bowlers pushing the edge, fielders with their mouths open and some healthy sledging, and the batsman just trying to find their feet in the wet sand. A disastrous start and it was repairing time for Knights.

But there was one final nail left in the coffin, and it was back to Bhupesh to hammer it. I am still surprised from the sidelines, as to how one can even dream of hitting a bowler like Bhupesh, and his pace, to clear the boundry on almost what can be said the Cover position. The batsman just did that mistake, and the catch was taken by Gaurav quite comfortably. With 4 down for a measle 10-14 runs on the board, were Knights looking down the barrel of the gun waiting to be shot at, or can they still continue from here and post a competetive total?

Their rebound came in the form of a good middle order partnership which inched them closer to a respectable total, but then the Immortals have now known what is needed to crush the opponent in their weak spot, and thus they did put a lot of pressure to restrict the Knights for a score of around 25-30 odd runs for the loss of 5 wickets. The Knights then rode their luck as they started converting the dots into singles, and the singles into twos but then a brilliant caught behind by the keeper Ronak off Keka's first ball of his spell exposed the Knights tail at 6 wickets down. Keka has been continuing his knack of striking with the first ball of his spell for the past 2-3 games now and it took a naturally gifted talent to pull such a catch behind the stumps as Ronak did. A runout from Ronak should have almost sealed Knights fate, but they stuck along and the Immortals started showing some signs of desperation to fold them up. With another partnership from a lower order batsman, the Knights creeped their way slowly to the 60s.

It was the VC, Aditya's turn now, who once again showed his prowess of bowling wicket to wicket and thus bowled a great spell of 4 overs giving a mere 8 runs of which 4 were extras due to the pitch conditions. He also bagged two wickets and a runout and a wicket by Darshil had been helpful to fold the Knights innings for a total of 74 with an over to spare. The bad part was the number of extras which The Immortals gave away - 18 runs were conceded without even letting the bat hit the ball. Well by far they knew that the pitch was a minefield and the ball can have its own shape of a brutal artillery. Can the batsman hold on and deliver yet another victory? Or will the old memories of chasing a decent total and faltering at the end haunt the minds of The Immortals? Behold, as what you might claim a stroke of brilliance was in fact a brush of confidence and belief as I take you to a joy ride of some exuberant stroke play from the batting lineup.

As usual, and as always, the winning combination of Darshil and Ronak opened up the batting for us, with a straightforward goal of sticking to the basics of 1s and 2s leaving out the odd balls which might just stay low or just explode off the pitch. The start was a slower one, but then Darshil got an inside edge and carried the ball to his stumps. 1 wicket down, with the score not yet in double figures. Nothing lost yet with plenty of batting to come. Sannato (Viral) joined Ronak to steady the ship but he could not last long, and a fatal miscalucalted decision from the leg umpire resulted into his stumping and he was walking back to the pavilion having faced just 5 deliveries. 2 wickets down, score barely crossing the two figure mark. Ronak still in the play, Batti (Karan SJSU) to join next.

Both Karan and Ronak began cautiously taking the singles and playing with determination. But then the inevitable happened, as Ronak who wanted to follow a similar shot attempted by Karan and mistimed it, giving a sitter to the fielder who managed to wobble it but then finally held on to it. Pin drop silence, as the dugout watched him walk back. With lots of uncertainties, and the heat of the game making a turmoil for the rest of the players, Nirmam as usual began pacing up and down. Others just stood still, and held on to their breath. Next up was our VC, Aditya who for your information, had remained not out on all his 4 previous occasions. In fact he has not yet been sent back to the dugout this season.

The overs that followed, with Aditya and Batti on the crease re-defined the way Immortals are now playing. I have been commenting, that it is no longer a single man show, and it is a great team effort which Immortals have found to be the key to their success. Batti was in supreme touch as he and Aditya took 12 runs of a single over and that changed the mood and the tempo of the game. Immortals were back on track with Batti playing with utmost confidence and it was a delight to watch his strokes. A cover drive was stopped in its tracks towards the boundary by a pillar on the field, but some balls later, Batti gave us an almost action replay, of the same shot, which bisected the fielder this time, and crossed the boundary ropes for a 4. That was the shot of the day. He managed to score runs on almost all parts of the field, with couple of them coming behind the stumps on the leg side. He not only played steadily but also played some intelligent strokes. But as it takes two to tango, Aditya was right behind, or shall I say, he was scoring right behind the stumps with his torturing deliberate knicks between the keeper and the slip fielder. At the end it was Aditya who hit the winning shot for a 4 and once again guess what - he remained not out on 18 off 21 deliveries.

But the highlight of the match was Batti (Karan SJSU)'s 55 ball 40 which showcased an innings of confidence, stability, stroke plays and more importantly an urge to believe in success. Unfortunately, even though I managed to bring my DSLR on the field, I did not knew the battery was drained out and all that I could click were some pictures before the game began, and just one frame of the first ball delivered by Bhupesh which resulted into a wicket to set the tone for the rest of the day.



The Immortals cruised home with just 3 wickets down, and both Batti and Aditya not out for a score of 40 and 18 respectively. The most satisfying victories lately have pointed out only to one common thing - Believe in the Team, and Perform as aTeam. Miraculously there has been no single contender who can be said to have been leading the Immortals as a one man show, but it is the entire troop of 11 who have clicked on their own different days. not out on 18 off 21 deliveries.

Next up is Thunderdawgs and the mood in the Immortals camp is upbeat.

Way to go Immortals.