With a fresh new season, came a fresh new start, and a fresh new hunger to make it to the ultimate coveted prize this season - The Platinums. But not going too far, there was a bigger hill to climb in the games shaping up for the coming 8-10 weeks and with that the Immortals faced a very competetive opponent - Challengers CC who had won both their previous clashes against the Immortals convincingly. This time though the Immortals expected things to be turned around but what was to come at the end of the game no one had expected the finish to be so close.
The toss was won by the Immortals and righteously enough they opted to bat first. With Viral out early in the innings, the Immortals then looked towards Nirmam who once again did not disappoint with his bat carrying his form from the Gold Cup finals where he single handedly took the Immortals home with a win. He and Karan (SJSU) got together in the act as they started clobbering the bowlers all around the park. With a 25+ run partnership between them the Immortals were crusing nicely at break time with the score board reading 10 overs, 34 runs for the loss of just one wicket.
With Nirmam getting out just at the beginning of the second session, and with some strict bowling from Challengers, the Immortals were finding it tough to get the scoreboard ticking. Once again the strong middle order failed to deliver in the crunch overs from 12-18 as the Immortals kept losing their wickets at regular intervals, with 4 wickets falling for just 11 runs. The extras were hardly a sight as the opposition bowlers were doing their job nicely after goofing up in the field early on as they dropped two sitters. Some late crucial runs down the order helped the Immortals put up a defendable total of 70 runs on the board for the loss of 7 wickets.
The Immortals had done it in the past with lower totals and with 71 needed to win, Challengers started their part of the batting cautiously. With Rohit their anchor playing some strokes and Nitin giving him company, both the openers were to a solid start. With twin strikes from Jaishal in a single over, the Challengers were off to a decent start at the break of 10 overs. The Immortals needed wickets to choke them up, while the Challengers had to score only 3 runs an over to take them home. Easily said, but tough to do, the Immortals started their second stint of the bowling with amazing zeal. With Ronak once again playing his part from behind the stumps, helped Immortals rejoice at a wonderful stumping off Darshil's bowling. Rohit was still in the hunt as he had already whacked a four and a six to his name, but his opposite end was running up dry.
With a crucial wicket of Rohit, coming off a nicely held catch by Karan (SJSU), off Darshil's bowling, the Immortals captain had ended up bowling superbly for his spell of 4 overs giving up only 7 runs for his 2 scalps. WIth the match swinging from time to time in either side's favor, Karan (SJSU) delivered a maiden at a crucial time and with him Jaishal, delivered yet another blow in his bowling and then holding on to an excellent diving catch in the deep. With the Immortals bowling pushing the opposition on the backfoot, Jayesh, was the only player who could take the Challengers home, as they entered the last over of the game with only 3 runs needed for them to win with 4 wickets in hand. A task that looked quite easy for a team of great calibre. But there was plenty of action left in the game yet !
The Immortals turned to Aditya for the last over, and after delivering that superb over in the Gold Cup Finals Super Over, it looked as if this could be the moment again. I still don't remember the exact ball to ball split-up, but with Jayesh their pinch hitter still at the crease, it looked all but over for the Immortals. But then, the fielding for the Immortals were right on their toes, as they got Jayesh runout for a bad call. At the end it came down to 2 runs off 2 balls. Aditya delivered a dot ball. The equation now was 1 ball to go, and 2 runs for the win. Aditya bowled, the batsman took a shot at it, the ball traveled in Harsh's direction, hit the angled wall, kept on spinning, and Keka (Karan) who finally managed to grab it threw down one of the most aimed well timed throw in the wicketkeeper's direction as the batsman was trying to go for the kill by running a second run. The result was a run out once again, and the Immortals rejoiced as they managed to TIE the game for second time in a row (the first happening in the finals of the Gold Cup).
For us the Man-of-the-Match was Karan (SJSU) who scored 27 and sent down 4 crucial overs of spin bowling under pressure which included one maiden.
With this tie, the Immortals are now all but pumped up as they have taken so far almost all the great teams of Cricbay, and have put up a stunning display of bowling, batting and fielding in all aspects. The Gold Cup Champions are on a roll and what a start to a fresh new Fall Open 2009 for them.
Go Immortals !!! Next Up is Cupertino Cougars !