Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Match Report: 06/21: vs Challengers CC

Complacency is the biggest fear any team has to face playing a sport, but not understanding the fine line difference between confidence and over-confidence is a mistake which the team cannot afford to make under any circumstances. From the sidelines, the game this weekend against Challengers CC, looked very blatant and disastrous in all aspects - bowling, fielding and batting. It seemed to be a day when nothing clicked and except a last wicket stand of 40 odd balls, there was nothing worth taking away from the game except a fact that: "This is not how The Immortals play, and certainly not the way we lift our game" With this last game for Round 1, the expectations were not at all higher, but simple enough to end the round on a winning note, gain momentum and confidence moving to the next big challenge of staying amongst the top 2 in order to qualify for the Platinum.

The toss was won by Darshil, and for the first time in ages since our last season, it was left to the playing 11 to decide whether they want to bowl or bat first. The vote came from only a certain few and the majority was to chase giving Challengers CC the opportunity to bat first. The ground a 360 with just a batting cage obstructing the slip cordon, looked to be a blessing for any team who can bat well and bat deep in the order to post a good total.

The bowlers were off to a decent start, with Nirmam once again delivering the goods with a consistent line and length teasing the batsman to drive and play shots thus creating opportunities for the fielders to dismiss them. Bowlers used were Nirmam, Bhupesh, Aditya, Darshil, Karan and Karan (SJSU) and with the exception of Nirmam who took 3 wickets for 13 runs in his spell of 4 overs, no other bowlers could have an answer to the vigilant batting by Rohit from the opposition. After being 26 for 2 at a certain stage, Rohit and Karthik put together, 42 runs on the board tormenting the bowlers. The partnerships of 18, 42, 18 and 13 with Rohit batting through the innings carrying his bat for his 57 balls 43, helped Challengers post a total of 97 runs on the board for the loss of just 6 wickets.

Speaking about the bowling for the Immortals, the only positive to take away was the number of extras bowled, which were to an all time low of 4. But on the other hand, that number itself indicates how the bowlers fared as the batsmen scored 93 runs off the bat. Of-course there was a particular decision which was turned down by the umpire involving Rohit, but that is no surprise to The Immortals as they have some kind of curse going on with the umpires. Nevertheless, the bowling was just too ordinary when watched from the ropes, as the batsmen scored fluently hitting 6 fours and 1 six (maybe the highest number of boundaries that The Immortals have given away till date, I could be wrong ?). Simply put, we did not have an answer to the brisk scoring and convinving hits on a 360 ground and it clearly showed lack of a plan to contain the runs on such an outfield as compared to the diamond field.

Add to it, the fielding was simply not upto the standards as it should always be when playing such a good team. On any given day, the difference between a good team and a great team is a matter of few catches and run-outs. There were 2 catches (sitters) which were dropped and the one which was caught resulted into a six eventually. There were some misfields in the outfield and certain runs which should have only been singles were converted to 2s and 3s on some occassions due to sloppy (sleepy) legs.

But the worst came when the Immortals took the crease to bat and chase down an intimidating total of 100 runs off 20 overs. The target was simple, play smartly, and rotate the strike. 3 an over, 4 an over, 5 an over, a bad over with 7-9 runs will eventually make it less hard to chase down this total. But the opposition just came out of the hood with all guns blazing and what should have been a steady start looked a shaky start as the Immortals were reeling at 10 for 3, 15 for 4 or does not even matter what the score was. With 11 extras from the Challengers, the Immortals were left stranded thinking what went wrong, at 30 odd runs for 9 wickets in 14 overs. The target just did not matter now, as Bhupesh and Harsh fought for 6 overs to save their wickets and also save the Immortals some pride as the innings ended for 38 runs for the loss of 9 wickets.
Runs from the bat: 27
Batsman reaching double figures: NONE
Ducks: 4



Definitely asked, one would say just a bad day, but more importantly it was a really bad performance in all departments. Although this loss does not affect us in order to go to the next round, but a loss is always a loss and when played in such a fashion brings out critics of its own, no matter what.

Going forward, it's a fresh new round, with some new teams on the table, and there is no doubt about it that The Immortals will be back with a bang. Defending a total or chasing a total, the Immortals for sure are chasing a dream of their own - The Platinum. It's now or never for them and the time has come for The Immortals to get their act together, individually and as a team, play some good competing sensible responsible cricket and of-course to have fun when they are out there. One game at a time - One win at a time !!!

Let's do it and make it happen guys !!!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Match Report: 06/06: vs Cheers CC

Lights, Camera, Drama, Action and Cut ... Are all of these important to script an epic movie? Of-course, and something similar exists in the world of Cricket and in the camp of the Immortals every time they take on the field. Cricket for the Immortals without any Drama or Action can never be imagined I guess. To start with, as usual, I have to talk about the toss against the game with Cheers CC this last weekend. But for a change, and these changes are a more frequent scenario now, our captain Darshil won the toss on our home ground in Cupertino. He promptly choose to bat first but then the first wake up call came along as little league teams started making their late morning appearances to chuck us out of the field. The result - A change in the venue as Immortals found almost a 280 degree ground some miles away in the wilderness, completely untouched ... (It should have been called either a 360 or a 270 but our captain somehow found 10 more degrees of outfield somewhere and called it a 280 degree ground)

How good is a change? A change in the ground could work in the favor of any team, and more amazing is the fact that both teams adapt to the situaiton and the one who comes out on top is the real champion. Hostile unknown conditions are never easy to negotiate with and speaking about hostility The Immortals are quite reputed about it for altogether wrong reasons. Drama and mind games are worth a topic to debate but some way or the other all these factors do have their own contributions to a worthy win, as we saw some of the last year's sparks fly again on the field, as Immortals went up against Cheers CC in a crucial game for Immortals fate for the Platinums. One thing to surely observe is that wherever Immortals go there is bound to be drama, action and words flying out trying to bog down the opponents - but more important is how Immortals carry that aura and the sense of confidence with them to beat some of the best teams.

Everyone had one thing on their mind, we win here, we see ourselves comfortably walk into the Platinums, but we lose, and we face a pressure situation against the Challengers CC for the last game of round 1. And oh boy, we almost reached the end of the tunnel with a start that could have been very well tickling the critics but then it meant that someone would have to play an anchor's role to perfection. With Cheers CC bowler Rajendra opening up the attack, it seemes the ground would be working to Immortals advantage as they aimed for a good target of 100 odd runs on the board. But with the first 3 wickets dismissed for just 5-9 runs on the board, it seemed once again the Immortals were on the back foot.

But then, if it was anyone's day then it was surely our captain Darshil's comeback to form, as he started off cautiously but with one aim in his mind to get the immortals through the 10-over break without losing any more wickets, as Jainip joined him in the middle, and both of them started re-builiding the innings. It was a welcome sight and a relief for everyone to see Darshil come back to his natural game after 5 drought innings and it clicked at the right time as he scored 28 to play a Captain's innings and Jainip put up a well fought and timed 12 on the board to take the Immortals to a bit of comfort during the break.

With Jainip and Gaurav back in the dugout, it was left to our VC, Aditya to play one more of his memorable touched innings, as he crafted almost a run-a-ball crucial 26 with some lower order contirbutions to take Immortals to a total of 88 runs for the loss of 9 wickets. Aditya and Darshil almost frustrated the bowlers as they took cheeky singles and worked tha ball around for 1s and 2s. The highlights of their innings were the 4 boundaries which were perfectly timed exquisite strokes. On a lighter note, the last ball of the innings once again saw Bhupesh making a sprint towards the striker's end as he almost reached there and pushed Keka (Karan) towards the non-strikers' end... LOL ...

Well was that all? I think we all know by now, that Immortals are never satisfied with just "that much", and as Bhupesh and Nirmam once again opened up the bowling, no one had expected what was to come next. Cheers CC were very well known for their almost one-man army kind of team, and the batsman Rajendra was caught behind off a knick but due to some lack of concentration the batsman just did not walk away. More surprisingly the umpire turned down the appeal and we thought maybe, just maybe the knick was no good. The other end was not holding up well, and the Immortals got their first break through with a run-out by Nirmam. But the drama had already started with the caught behind appeal for Rajendra.

Karan (Keko) took a nice diving catch off Rajendra's bat, and Bhupesh's bowling, and up went the Immortals, as the main umpire took his time to give the decision. Meanwhile, the batsman started throwing tantrums about the ball being a bump ball, and claiming that he was not out. The leg umpire was convinced it was not and up went the tempers as this lack of sportsman spirit opened up a can of worms. Due to the use of the F word by one of our prominent fielders, which was not at all directed to any of the batsman, but was just a blurt of frustration due to the appeal being turned down, the batsman somehow lost control and started pointing fingers and pushing to leave the field and not playing the game. As more team members joined in from both the sides, it seemed a fight was on the horizon but somehow the situation was kept under control as the game went on. Eventually Rajendra did get out (run out) and everyone thought the drama was all over.

Unfortunately, if you all remember, it aint over until its all over, and with me and Vivek Patel our retired member from seattle made a guest appearance this time, both of us shared some light moments in the dugout, tickling the opposition with our words of wisdom. Naturally it agitated them, and the low mercury did little effect in cooling them off, as their innings started falling apart. Eventually, one of their batsman scored a well fought 22 as compared to the total of the rest of the team including extras summed up to 25 runs as Immortals dismissed Cheers CC for 47 in just 16 overs.

Score Card

Pictures (Game)

Pictures (General)

A comfortable win, action packed, drama filled walk into the Platinums for the Immortals was a moment of relief and triumph. But more importantly Immortals now face their biggest challenge, against Challengers CC. You might just be wondering what could be that bigger challenge be as Immortals are already through to the Platinums?

Even though we are into the Platinums, the job is still not done, or shall I say is just 25 % done. Qualifying for the Platinums is surely praise worthy from last year's Regular Season's Gold Championship, but that is for sure not the last stop !!! The journey has just begun and the destination is too far away. So the challenge that I mentioned above is the fear of being "complacent". There is no room for complacency as Immortals should give their 110 % as they always do taking no game lightly, and adding one more win to their feather as they end their Round 1 playing Challengers, on a winning note to take forward that momentum for a fresh new round.

I would say the dream for the Platinum Cup should be in everyone's heart, but more importantly the road to that cup should be in everyone's mind. There are lot of mile markers to cross before we can even dream of touching the coveted cup. You can surely take a moment and sit back to enjoy the success so far, but next moment make sure you understand that winning against Challengers not only gives us the # 1 spot in our group, but it definitely should send out a statement to rest of the league to watch out for us - The Immortals - where "If we believe, we definitely achieve" !!!

So lets devour and bask in the success we had so far, but try not to be over our heads against Challengers CC in two weeks time.



(PS: I have left the incident about the wicket of that particular batsman with whom the umpire played a game of his own lol and ruled him out as he mentioned he was just acting cool because Karan (Keko) was talking to him while he was completing his run ... lol .. I have left that incident for someone to post in the comments section below ;-) lol)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Match Report: 05/30: vs Eagles

Back with another report, and for the first time, I had no clear idea as to where to start from and how to end this post. One thing that surely came to my mind were some famous quotes that we have heard so much now and often, but more importantly some dimensions of a game of cricket, which without experiencing cannot be expressed in words. "Luck favors the Brave", "It aint over until its all over", "Catches can win matches" are some of the famous idioms that we have come across very oftenly in various articles but the one that stands out for me was Andrew Flintoff's comment when playing the West Indies, "Cricket has a very funny way of biting you up the a**" and I some way experienced that aspect on Saturday playing Aptech CC (Eagles) in what I can say one of the most closely fought matches ever played and been a part of. But, unfortunately I and the team ended up on the bad side of this quote.

Going into the game, the Immortals were all focused with just one motto, we have been down against the Eagles two times in a row, and lets not make it three, and play a good game of cricket out there. Toss, which is never so crucial for us, was won by Aptech and they rightfully put our batting line up to test by choosing to field first. The start for us was once again cautious, with last game's disaster riding on our minds, but not enough to slow us down, as Ronak and Darshil opened up the innings for us. With just 5 runs on the board, the batsman lost the call, and were involved in a suicidal run which was a misjusdgement, and that saw Darshil walking back to the dugout.

What came next was a solid partnership stand between Ronak and Viral who put up 35 together, to take the Immortals to a total of 40 odd runs for the loss of just one wicket. With plenty of batting to come down the order, Ronak wanted to go after the bowling, and he connected some good balls playing exquisite strokes for his well dserved 19. He was bowled and with Karan (Batti) getting out to a nice low catch in the cover region, it was Jainip and Viral who started the repairing. But, Viral too was caught behind, and the score read 44 for 4 (a full nelson) and Aditya walked in. He was bowled the very first ball, giving the bowler a chance for the hattrick and opening up the Immortals half way down.

A good knock by GD (Gaurav) saw the Immortals whiz past the evil figure of 52 as he and Jainip took the score to 62 before Jainip got out. Immortals were looking forward to a total of 75, and with Nirmam and Gaurav runningout, the Immortals innings ended on 73 runs for the loss of 9 wickets off 20 overs. Still a respectable total, the key was the first 3 batsman and controlling the extras. But, the foremost goal was to defend this total by some great fielding and bowling.

As always, Bhupesh and Nirmam opened up the bowling for us, and they did really well for their spells, to not allow Eagles to have a flying start as they had in the previous encounter. Bhupesh got the first break through as Aditya held on to a good catch in the deep, but Eagles' captain Arvind was the key to their victory and the wicket which we all were looking for. This battle went through a lot of see-saw moments as the momentum kept on shifting either way every 2-3 overs.

At 55 for 5, Eagles were still a good 19 runs away from their victory and the Immortals were not letting it go. With some excellent bowling from Karan (Keko), Nirmam and Aditya it seemed that Eagles will choke this one up and Immortals can finally taste the success. But as it is said, it aint over until its all over. With Eagles losing their middle order batsman for 5 odd runs due to some fiery spells from Aditya and Nirmam, one batsman Vinod still hold on to his end for the win.

Ultimately it came down to last two overs, with 11 runs required off 12 balls, and with just two wickets remaining, it could have gone anyone's way. But, Darshil's last over, first ball, Vindo launched himself and hit the ball for a six. Whack !!! That brought down the pressure for Eagles, as they needed only 5 more off 9-10 balls. But that was not all. The worst was yet to come !!! Nirmam took the final over, and oh boy, he bowled the over of his life, hats off to him, any amount of praise showered on him would be less, as he was defending a mere 3 runs off his 6 balls with two wickets remaining, and every one had their eyes on him.

Everyone was charged up, on the edge of their seats, as Vinod hit the ball up in the air, and it travelled in my direction, my eyes were on it, fielders were closing in, the keeper Ronak, Batti, Jainip but I somehow urged to take this one and shouted ME ME to allow myself to go down the history books as someone who just dropped the world cup. The ball hit my palms and out it went. A DROPPED CATCH AT SUCH A CRUCIAL STAGE OF THE GAME and it hurt me really bad inside out. I was shocked, Immortals angry, Eagles ecstatic. What a disaster I had just provided and that too at such an important stage of the game where that catch could have sealed off Eagles fate and handed us a well earned hard fought victory. What a blunder from me and my work in the field. Totally not acceptable. With 2 runs required off 5 balls, Nirmam held on to a caught and bowled chance, and that meant 2 runs required off 4 balls with just one wicket remaining.

At the end, it came down to 1 run required off 1 ball, with just 1 wicket remaining. Either Eagles could win it, or Immortals could tie the game. A plan was put into place, and it played to perfection. Karan (Keko) was made the non-striker's wicket keeper, that any fielder who gets the ball just has to pass it to Keko to run out the batsman at the non-striker's end. Everyone held on to their breath (My heart is still beating fast as I am typing this), Nirmam came in, delivered the ball, batsman connected, the ball went to Karan (Batti) and the batsman had just took off for a run, and Batti picked it, threw the ball to Keka, and we were almost half up in the air, that, the ball played a spoilsport, becoming a traitor as it left Keka's hands, the stumps were rattled but only without the ball. The batsman made his ground, and in a twinkle of an eye, the Immortals were down. Eagles won the nailbiter at the last ball with the last wicket.

The Immortals were left shocked, and more importantly it dented everyone deep hard, as Eagles themselves shook their head in disbelief to wonder as to how much luck can help them win this one as they were on the brink of a defeat (if I had made that catch) or a tie game (if the ball did not turn traitor in Keka's hands).

Score Card


What a game of cricket it was, as both teams played their nerves out right from their sleeves, and at the end Eagles managed to pull a win against us. I have nothing else to say here as I rightfully accept that the catch had to be made at such a stage and it is not at all acceptable after playing so many games that I can be so sloppy in the field. I do not want to say anything else excpet that I have felt this loss deep down. All of us have, but I have felt it a bit more. I look forward to avenging this lapse on concentration by me sometime in the future, and I am looking forward to that chance and opporutnity. It would be a moment of redemption for me to erase this dropped catch off my mind and being responsible for the Immortals defeat.

Up next is Cheers CC as we look forward to running the table now with two games remaining in the first round.

Go Immortals and most importantly Fight On !!!