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
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 !!!