Thursday, October 29, 2009

Match Report: 10/24: vs Challengers CC

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.

Score Card

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 !


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Gold Cup Finals Victory !!!

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.

Immortals Batting:
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.

Immortals Bowling:
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 ?

Super Over:

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.

Score Sheet


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 ...


Road to the Gold Cup Finals !!!

(PS: Sorry for the late post)

The Golden Days are back, and with it, back is the rhythm, the confidence and the tempo for the Immortals who are going to play their second Gold Cup Finals this Sunday in Fremont. It was a year back when a rookie team entered the league of Cricbay with one aim in mind – Play good cricket and alongside have some competitive fun. Flashback to last year’s Regular Season 2008, The Immortals played Knights in the Gold Cup Finals and put up an awesome display of performances from the playing 11 to bring home the glory of the Gold Cup. Fast forward today, once again The Immortals riding on a great Regular Season 2009, would be facing Eagles (Aptech CC) for the Gold title and looking to the history between these two teams we expect fireworks to see who gains a positive edge over the other.

Round 1 – Rebuilding the Team, Rebuilding the Confidence
This year’s regular season began for the Immortals with a lot of good, great and fierce names in the business. Their first group made them rub their shoulders with : Royal Ranji, Darkhorse CC, Megastars, Rising XI, Knights, Thunderdawgs, Cosmos CC, Eagles, Cheers CC, Challengers CC.

Some of the moments that have proved to be morale boosting and some which were heart breaking tells a lot about this team – A team that has seen it all. With easy victories to close defeats The Immortals played out of their skins in Round 1 with just one aim in mind – One game at a time, and One step towards the Platinum. Let’s take a brief journey through their Round 1 games and see if they were able to quench their thirst for the Platinum or did the Cricketing Gods had something else planned?

The first two games the Immortals rebuilt their confidence in two different types of situations. Against Royal Ranji, the Immortals successfully chased a total of 70+ runs in just under 15 overs whereas in their next game against Dark Horse CC, they went out all guns blazing and managed to pile up 100+ runs in their quota of 20 overs with one of their batsman scoring the first half century in the history of the Immortals. With two such confident wins, their next opponent was a much tougher side and righteously veterans of the league – Megastars. Batting first and in spite of putting up 80 runs on the board, the Immortals were very much aware of their opponent’s caliber and with this in mind they did not leave any stone turned as they bundled them out for just under 50 runs.

With such 3 victories in the kitty, their next opponent Rising XI were grinded to dust as the Immortals put up a fierce batting display with fireworks all around as they managed to score 110+ runs and register a convincing victory by a margin of 35 runs. Their next game would be a repeat of last year’s Gold Cup finals, as they faced a resurgent Knights team who were on the prowl to avenge their gold cup final defeat. But with their bowling on its prime, and the batting hitting a purple patch, The Immortals cruised through yet another victory by 7 wickets. With 5 wins in 5 games, the Immortals looked forward to extending their winning streak against a team who had stunned everyone with their opening records of winning 8 out of 9 games previous season – Thunderdawgs. With excellence in fielding and raising their standards to the next level, the Immortals stunned Thunderdawgs to register their 6th consecutive victory.

But just as every good thing has to come to an end eventually, the Immortals faced a roadblock in taking their tally of wins to 7. Cosmos CC played the spoilsport this time as they defeated the Immortals by 4 wickets. To add to it, their next opponent, and this year’s Gold Cup Final’s opponents – Eagles, were all roaring in form as they hosted the Immortals and edged past them in the closest of victories in recent times on the last ball with just one wicket left. That was a heart breaking moment more due to the fact that each team played out of their skins.

Making a comeback is never easy, but the Immortals convincingly did that in their next game against Cheers CC and with just one game left to end Round 1 the Immortals wanted to make sure they enter Round 2 with oozing confidence. But just as it seemed maybe the Immortals are back on the winning track, Challengers CC got the opportunity to hit the final nail in the coffin and the Immortals ended Round 1 with 7 Wins and 3 Losses.

Round 2 – The Fight for the Platinums
With one aim in mind, to qualify for the Platinums, the mantra was simple – Be amongst the top 2 in the group and you are through to the Platinums. But the path to the victory was not going to be easy as said than done. The opponents were no mere jokes, and their performances were not ordinary. With everyone on a knife’s edge, the battle to the top began between The Immortals, Hurricanes, Twenty20 CC, Skiers.

Their first game against the Hurricanes saw the Immortals put up a decent batting performance but with some lackluster bowling stints made it easy for their opponents to take one step to the top as Immortals were facing the end of the barrel. From a bad bowling effort to one of the most dominating bowling spells all around, The Immortals registered their first victory in Round 2 against Twenty20 CC as they dismissed them for a mere 25 runs. With one more win needed the clash against Skiers was not a pleasant experience as the Immortals went sprawling out of the Platinum Qualifiers and ended up playing for the Gold Cup.

Playoffs – Defending the Gold
With the Immortals now playing for the inevitable Gold Cup to repeat what they did last year and have two silverware on the shelf, the Playoffs brought out a lot of déjà vu moments as Immortals rocked their opponents crushing them with confidence and wasting no time in setting the tone for the finals. Mind you, these were respectable opponents who on their given day can make sure you grind the dust in defeat.

First up was Nemesis, who have been around for quite some time now and knew exactly how to slay their opponents which they rightly did by dismissing the entire Immortals side for a mere 56 runs. But the Immortals who have always fought back with their bowling strength came out of the blue and shocked Nemesis by 7 runs to enter the Quarter Finals.

In the QFs, the Immortals ran into Daakus, a team whom they had played only once before and that too in a practice match during the younger days of Immortals’ formation. Once again the batting let Immortals down as they were on the brink of a defeat and being sent home packing as they collapsed for mere 44 runs on the board. But having put up a fight a weekend ago, the Immortals knew it wasn’t still over as they came with all fire to send Daakus home for 36 runs thus making their way into the Semi Finals.

Their last stop before the coveted place in the Finals, and the Immortals hosted a well deserved semi finalist Yuva XI. With two matches in a row being won on the bandwagon of great bowling display, this clash was no different, as the Immortals dismissed Yuva for a measly 41 runs and then made sure they could catch up with some rest as they scrapped off those runs just a ball under 10 overs.

The Gold Cup Finals
With their last victory against Yuva XI, the Immortals are now facing Eagles in the Gold Cup Finals to be held at Thornton Jr. School in Fremont, the ground which reminds the Immortals of two fantastic victories in crunch moments and against respectable opponents. Could this be the day when Immortals re-wrote history by winning their back to back Gold Cup in Regular Seasons and still maintain their winning record on this ground?