The Immortals vs Eagles - Gold Cup Finals @ Thornton Jr. School, Fremont
Having played each other 3 times before meeting for the ultimate show down, these two teams knew their opponents inside out, with no surprises left in the kitty. Prior to this finals clash, both teams have played neck-to-neck in all aspects and the Immortals have always gone home licking their own wounds after succumbing to close defeats after putting up a great fight on each occasion. The favorites for the finals were clearly Eagles with 3 victories out of 3 and had the utmost advantage of presurrizing the Immortals when it mattered the most.
Head-to-Head: Click Here
Ground and the Toss:
Well history might have it's own rules and ways of playing on a team's mind, but on this day the cricketing gods had other plans of their own as these two teams met on a perfect batting platter with almost virtually a 360 type outfield except for a batting cage in the middle. Immortals had a great record on this ground and were unbeaten both the times when they have played there - against Chargers and against Rising XI, with plenty of runs being scored. With this in mind the Immortals were looking forward to batting first. As luck might have just woken up from bed, the first sight of it, was Immortals losing the toss, but then Eagles giving us the pleasure of batting first.
Even though batting first, the Immortals knew the nature of this ground and with most of the regular games being played on a diamond field, everyone knew, that a score of 100+ is very much needed in order to take us home with a victory against a team who by far was reputed as having some of the most fighting stalwarts. The start was as usual steady with no hiccups and Viral (Sanato) and Nirmam set up the tone in the early overs. The key was to exploit the nature of the outfield and with that Nirmam started hooking and pulling the shots all over the backward regions. The Eagles were soon out of gas and ideas of stopping Nirmam who was on fire from the very first ball. A strong batting display by both the openers helped the Immortals setup their batsman down the order to take the total past 100 runs. Boundaries were not in sight, as the Immortals batsman were made to toil hard for their runs and it showed the batting prowess of the team as they scored a total of 107 runs which included only 2 boundaries and the Eagles gave away 12 extras to that total. So a total of 95 runs came off the bat which really would boost the confidence of the team when they take on the field to crush the opponents and take home the gold.
- Nirmam scored at a brisk rate having played only 52 deliveries for his 45 runs and Sanato gave him company having played only 34 balls for his share of 24 runs.
- Eagles dropped Nirmam once and a couple more in the outfield to their dis-advantage.
- The behind the stumps region fetched almost 25+ runs for the Immortals with a first time 5 runs of a single delivery due to a poor throw which hit the batting cage and resulted in overthrows.
- Two boundaried were scored, one by Ronak and another one coming at the very last ball, and the only ball faced by Jaishal.
With 100+ runs on the board, the confidence of a team surely speaks a lot on the field, but the Immortals knew that there was plenty of hard work to be done. They still had to send down 120 legitimate deliveries, hold on to difficult catches, cash upon easy runouts and more importantly take down all the Eagles batsman and get them All Out before they can even touch the gold. With that in mind, the Immortals bowlers started their task, got success and even faltered along the way. Bhupesh and Aditya were the most economical of all bowlers to restrict the Eagles at frequent intervals. But the action was far from over, as Arvind Sridhar, the Eagles Captain and Senthil one of the top batsman ripped apart the Immortals time to time. At a stage when a victory looked certain for the Immortals, the opposition took their time to whack the bowlers all around the park as they scored 8 boundaries with 6 Fours and 2 towering Sixes. The Immortals were being attacked and they were being pushed on the backfoot. There were misfields, dropped catches, but even as this was happening, Immortals cohesively held on to their nerves as it all came down to the last over of the match. With runs required off the last over, it looked certain that the match is far from over until the last ball is bowled. And with Nirmam bowling the last over, everyone had their hearts in their mouths, and watched as ball after ball, the Eagles took one step closer to victory. Arvind Sridhar single handedly took the Eagles from the jaws of defeat to the very last over where all the action came into one place ... Read ahead as the over unfolds ....
Last Over: 6 runs needed of 6 balls for Eagles to win, 2 wickets needed for Immortals to win..
19.1: Nirmam to Sridhar: Wide Ball ... 1 Run .... 5 more required ...
19.1: Nirmam to Sridhar: The batsman comes down the pitch trying to secure a win with a six, only to be seen throwing his wicket and his bat for his shot, as Jaishal held on to a splendid catch in the deep, right on the boundary ropes after having juggled the ball twice ... No Run ... 5 more required ... The danger man gone ... 1 Wicket to go ...
19.2: Nirmam to Arun: Whack .. Hits a four to tie the game and Eagles go crazy ... 1 run required by Eagles to win ... 1 wicket needed by Immortals to win ...
19.3: Nirmam to Arun: Dot ball ... No run ... Everyone holding on to their breathe ...
19.4: Nirmam to Arun: Good length, Edged ... Caught ... Gone !!! Ronak holds on to a fantastic low catch and this time it was the Immortals who went crazy as they rushed on to the field ... Eagles were all out ...
The Game Was Tied !!!!
Immortals: 107 runs, 7 wickets, 20 overs
Eagles: 107 runs, 10 wickets, 19.4 overs
The action had just re-started and the mood was upbeat in the Immortals camp as they truly did believe in the team's name, standing there and wondering what did they just pull off and for the matter of the fact that they did not succumb to defeat this time. With a quick break both teams were ready for the Super Over where each team would face 6 balls and try to score as many runs possible. The team who scores the most wins.
Quick Question: Did You Just Feel the Rush of Adrenaline reading the 4 balls above ?
The Immortals once again lost the toss and the Eagles once again, even after going through an agonizing tie, put the Immortals into batting first. Nirmam, Ronak and Darshil, the captain leading from the front, made sure that the Immortals managed to score more than 6 runs to give Eagles a rate of scoring more than 1 run per ball. Once again, the behind the stumps region proved to play its worth as Immortals managed a total of 9 runs for the loss of 1 wicket in their alloted 6 balls.
The super over was to be bowled by Aditya who had a splendid spell of 4 overs earlier. Arvind Sridhar was sent out to bat, but Aditya's pace and precision proved too much for the Eagles, as they managed to score only 2 runs off their alloted 6 balls and that was the final nail in the coffin.
- Aditya registered a hat-trick in the finals taking 3 wickets in a row and rattling up the middle order for the Eagles.
- Jaishal held on to a fantastic catch under pressure in the last over, that of Arvind Sridhar, to once again get the Immortals back into action.
- Ronak held on to a fantabulous low catch behind the stumps for the last wicket as Immortals tied the game and took it to the super over.
- Once again, Aditya bowled the over of his life, as Eagles could not manage more than 2 runs in the Super Over and went on to lose against the Immortals.
The Immortals just huddled up together, fists pumping, defeating the Eagles, and doing it emphatically when it mattered the most. A loss is always a loss, no matter how much valiant the efforts are, and it definitely hurts a lot deep down when the occasion is just too big. As for the Immortals, they proved what they are made up of, as they won back to back Gold Cups from Regular season and righteously deserved a place in the top 20 amongst the rankings.
Nirmam was awarded the Man-of-the-Match for his entertaining and splendind innings.
With this came to an end a fantastic regular season 2009 for the Immortals who saw it all... Victories, Defeats, Tied Game, Hattricks, Half Centuries, Brave efforts in the field, Sheer Batting display, Pure Bowling stints and what not ...
Stay Tuned for more action as The Immortals are back in action with Fall Open 2009 ...