Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The summer has begun in the beautiful Northern California, offering some great picturesque backdrops, especially when you are playing on the Cupertino Middle School (CMS) ground and facing the bowler running up to you. The Immortals began their Regular Season 2010 by playing the Hulks for the first head-to-head matchup this past Saturday. The Immortals were visiting the Hulks on their home ground at Mary and Remington, but come summer it was an inevitable fact that the ground issues would pop more often than your buttered corn in your microwave.
The Immortals have made all their efforts for the past 3 seasons to be a well disciplined, nicely organized and punctual camp, bringing out the professionalism in each of their individual player, but the outfit that they were facing were not quite up to the task, or shall we say were not up and running from their beds. What shocked the Immortals was that none of the players of the opposite team were on their home ground by the scheduled time, and to add to it, when the game was shifted to the Immortals home ground at CMS, it seemed as if the Hulks were in the mood of playing just the Little League of Cricket as they could not manage even 9 players till 9 am and were left scurrying for players to even qualify to play the game as per the rules.
The Hulks did finally manage to get their 9 acts together (but still 2 short), and the toss was done which went in the Immortals favor as they chose to bat first. No penalties were enforced by the Immortals upon the Hulks as the game was set for a full quota of 20 overs a side.
The Immortals Team: Viral, Nirmam, Karan (SJSU), Ronak, Jimmy, Aditya, Jainip, Darshil, Gaurav, Jaishal, Bhupesh
Batting first, the Immortals message was clear, to take advantage of the home ground and a bigger advantage of having only 9 players from the opposition and thus score big. But things did not go as planned as the first 3 wickets became victims of what were supposed to be well-timed shots but resulting into unlucky but well-held catches by the Hulks players.
But the next pair of Ronak and Jimmy batted quite superbly well to keep the scoreboard ticking, and with some wayward bowling from the Hulks resulting into a lot of extras, the Immortals were comfortably on their way towards a big total. Jimmy was back to his natural best as he played some exquisite strokes hitting 3 boundaries in his knock as he scored a brisk 31 off just 39 balls with Ronak and Aditya chipping in with valuable contributions in the middle order.
The Immortals did lose momentum towards the end of the innings with their lower order as Hulks managed to choke them a little with some good line and length bowling leaking no free runs as they managed to skittle the Immortals all out for 88 runs.
Ronak, the Immortals keeper was handed the ball after the Hulks managed to scamper to 23 odd runs with only 10 coming off the bat, and the Immortals leaking 13 extras in a span of just 6 overs. So Ronak started off his first over with 3 dot balls as he maintained an excellent line and length frustrating the Hulks batsman, and on the 4th ball Ronak got his first victim, completely bowling the batsman all over. The next batsman came in, took his guard, the Immortals all charged up, Ronak comes in bowling almost a similar delivery as the previous one, and the batsman had no clue as it went past through him and uprooted his furniture. 2 wickets in 2 balls and one delivery left.
Ronak was on a hat-trick and the Immortals were in the middle of a historic moment which would go down into the record books forever. The fielders were brought in to put pressure on the next batsman and there was pin drop silence (the silence before the storm), as Ronak went back to his mark, turned around, came charging in and hit the deck at the right spot as the batsman was left baffled, as he saw the ball rush past him onto his stumps and off went the bails, and off went the Immortals sparking off celebrations as everyone closed in on Ronak applauding his Hat-trick effort as the over read: * * * W W W
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Thursday, March 18, 2010
The clock moved forward for Day Light Savings, as everyone lost an hour of sleep, not to mention that most of us might already be turning and churning right and left all night long before the big event. The game day sun rose slowly as it marked the beginning of a fine summer, and with that brought out the love, passion, aggressiveness, hunger to win and most importantly a desire to bring back home the Gold one more time for the Immortals. For those who are not aware – this was the day when two teams, The Immortals and TCC clashed against each other in what was to be a nail biting Cricbay Fall Open Gold Cup Finals, and what a humdinger cricket game it was as the winner was decided in the very last over, as the match went all the way down to the wire.
Having played 4 seasons now, the Immortals were a much more solidified camp, an outfit which had risen from the ashes but had made its way to its own self earned glory, beating some of the best teams in the league, losing some crucial games, and even having experienced a tie in the Gold Cup Finals just one season back against the Eagles, but later on going ahead and winning it in the Super Over. But having said that, the opportunity at hand, the tough battle and a much deserved title on the line, for this bunch of fanatic cricket lovers, individuals with tremendous talent and temperament, yet playing for the team with utmost dedication and sincerity, was the second ultimate prize (next best to the Platinum Cup) the Cricbay League could offer – The Gold Cup !
With 2 silverware (Gold Cups) already in the kitty from the past 3 seasons, the Immortals were all raring to go to make it a 3-peat and bring back the momentum heading into the Regular Season kicking off in 2 weeks time. But their opposition, a team who had come on top this season with some tremendous game plays, some well disciplined bowling attack and some batting stalwarts – TCC, had even more heart into the game playing for the Gold and delivering the Immortals a taste of what they had to offer.
There were no clear favorites except for the fact that the Immortals out on out, were kind of the dominant team and more prone to winning yet another Gold, but their opposition were not to be taken lightly, having shown their other counterparts what they had to offer in their last two games leading into the Finals. The ground – a perfect 360 with just a distracting batting cage behind the keeper’s back, the pitch famously known for high scoring games, the teams raring to go, and up went the coin, and the Immortals winning it, chose to bat first.
The Immortals were to a shaky start as their first wicket fell quite cheaply with the score reading 10, but the first wicket partnership started to bring the momentum back on track. Opener Viral and keeper-batsman Ronak steered the ship towards the break of 10 overs steadily but a bad miscommunication between them saw Viral getting run out right before the break. With two wickets down and just 35 on the board at the break, the Immortals had the perfect platform to launch themselves into attacking the opposition and taking their team to a respectable total. One more wicket fell quickly bringing the Immortals captain Darshil to the crease. He and Ronak made sure that the flow of runs kept on coming with some quick singles, fast paced doubles and two hits to the fence by Ronak, one of which was actually caught by a fielder in the deep but to the batsman’s reprieve he accidentally touched his team-mate outside the boundary rope, thus turning a great catch into a well deserved six. The sideline for the Immortals were jumping in delight as the runs kept on coming. Two quick wickets well without moving the scores and for the final 6-8 odd deliveries it was left to the Captain and the Vice Captain Aditya to deliver their final blows to which Aditya did it in style with a big six (the first of his Cricbay career) at the very last ball of the Immortals innings.
The Immortals total : 83 for 5 in 20 overs. (Highlights: Viral 14, Ronak 27, Darshil 14*, Aditya 9*)
The job half done, but the dents fully made on TCC’s morale, the Immortals went into defending their total and inching their way towards the Gold. Having known TCC’s reputation of scoring huge runs for the past two games, the Immortals were up on all toes as Bhupesh and Nirmam started the attack, but were quickly thrown on the back foot with some frustrating running between the wickets by TCC’s batsmen and with plenty of runs coming in the first 5 over slot with no wickets down, it was left to Aditya to bring back the momentum in the Immortals favor. The first ball that he bowled and the batsman being beaten for sheer pace saw his stumps uprooted and the bails flying in the air. A much needed crucial strike and Karan(Keko) alongside Jaishal made sure the scores were almost leveled at the break with a wicket each, TCC getting 35 for loss of 3 wickets at the break.
Madhu the middle order batsman was looking threatening as he single handedly seemed to be taking the game slowly away from the Immortals, but he was also running out of partners at regular intervals. A fine direct hit by Jainip and a tipped off catch from Karan(Keko) to Bhupesh off Darshil’s bowling wiped off half of TCC’s side, but the runs were still coming at a decent pace, as almost all the Immortals bowlers were taking fine hits along with some sloppy fielding giving away couple of free runs. A fine catch and a vigilant run out by Viral pushed TCC even further down the barrel, with leaving the last 4 wickets needing 9 runs off the last two overs.
Some tense moments, some words exchanged and some misfields later, it was all down to these last two overs. Karan(Keko) went in first, delivering one of the best over of his life giving away only 3 runs and on the way getting the prized scalp of Madhu who scored a fighting 36 taking his team on the brink of the victory only to falter at the end, getting caught in the deep by a fine catch held by Jaishal. Madhu's valiant effort was even applauded by the Immortals players as he left dejectedly towards the dugout. But that did not stop Karan from delivering yet another blow as Viral held on to a fine catch in the very same over.
The scoreboard now read, 6 runs needed off 6 balls for TCC, 2 wickets is all that Immortals needed for kissing that Gold. It all came down to Aditya to bowl the crucial last over. Once again he successfully uprooted the furniture giving away only 2 runs and with 3 balls to go TCC needed only 4 runs to win. One wicket was all that the Immortals needed to seal the fate. Aditya came in with all his fire sending down a quick fast delivery, the batsman lunges into driving it towards the cover, only to find Jainip’s hands, and off the Immortals went as everyone made a run for the stumps, grabbing them, hurling them in mid-air, sparking off celebrations, emotions flying over their heads, joy, ecstasy, as they hurdled up to do a victory jump dance, shoulder to shoulder, finally winning this topsy turvy battle.
TCC total : 80 for 10 in 19.4 overs. (Highlights: Aditya 3/11, Karan(Keko) 3/15)
The Immortals had did it again, winning 3 Gold Cups in 4 seasons, 2 of which came in back to back seasons. One thing that might have stood out in all these 3 Gold Cup victories, was the fighting spirit from the Immortals camp, the players not willing to bow down to a few hits or a few misfields, the individuals stepping up to the occassion and bringing their A-game up their sleeve on the field, and most importantly the positive attitude that oozes out of these lads wearing the Immortals tee, when it comes to playing a fine game of cricket - anytime, anyplace, anyhow !
The Immortals were undoubtedly the supreme team when it came to playing the Gold Cup it seems, and their dominance along with the way they carry themselves on and off the field are remarkably worth praising. The Immortals players profile speaks for itself, as it clearly indicates that there is not a single match winner that would stand out - but it's all a team effort and a team game when it comes to winning and winning ! Of-course individual performances are what the team entirely depends upon but unlike other teams where the entire team revolves around a single super star, the Immortals - mind you, have 15 super stars uniquely placed, to whack you out of the park, bowl you out of your guard or simply break you down with their approach in the field !
So when you play the Immortals, be there, but be aware ! Who knows you might just be going home regretting having played the confident yet modest Immortals !
Go Immortals ! Let's step up one notch and bring home the first Platinum !
Thursday, March 4, 2010
The game once again was shifted to another ground as the showers had kept everyone checking for the weather the whole week. The game was played at Las Palmas park and it was Thunderdawgs who won the toss and chose to bat first. With the Immortals bowlers already boiling down the throat of the batsmen, it was the opposition's own mistakes that gave the Immortals the frequent breaks and with such opportunities, the Immortals made it sure to be on the top of their game by attacking constantly to put the batsmen under pressure. It yielded good results with the batsmen getting lured into creating half chances and succumbing to their own fall with 4 run outs and digging their own graves by the method of self-destructing. While the top 6 batsmen failed to deliver with no one making it to the double figures, the resilient fight came from their middle order batsman Srikanth who was in no hurry like his counterparts to return back to the dugout.
There is always an other side to the story too, and this time it was the Immortals fielding that took a hit. Sloppiness is what the Immortals encountered on the field, and even though it did not cost them dearly enough to make their opposition run away with the game, the fielding standards surely dipped quite low enough. There were three sitters dropped, one misjudged run out chance, and the Immortals were already looking out of shape, when their Captain leading by example, took a stunning catch and to add to it, Nirmam running backwards held on to a fantastic catch in the wet outfield to set the tone. The opposition luckily enough failed to seize these opportunities and eventually were all out for a mere 37 runs on the board. 4 run outs also does speak about how the Immortals do not look back to what might have just happened in terms of poor fielding, but their capability to make up for those failed chances by delivering the right blows at crucial times.
The Immortals batting was slow and steady and with a lot of help from the Thunderdawgs bowlers, who sent down 17 extras, the Immortals made it home by 7 wickets. With this crucial win the Immortals now would face TCC for the ultimate prize - The Gold Cup.
The Immortals are all set for the Gold Championship Finals which will be played in a week's time and they are all pumped up to defend their last season's gold and more importantly cement their position as the Gold Champs once again to make it a 3-peat...
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The toss was won by Hawkes and they put the Immortals to bat first (a very natural choice for the Immortals), but once again with the summer on the horizon the ground issues gave its first visit this season as a football game came up on CMS and the game was shifted to another ground. With rains all week, and a little bit of moisture on the pitch, expecting the unexpected was sure up for grabs and Hawkes bowlers did just that. They exploited the conditions quite well using the right areas on the pitch to their advantage, and from the word go, put the Immortals on their back foot. Both the openers, Nirmam and Viral, were sent home with the score reading 10 on the board. But what was to happen next was not at all on the cards, with two other batsmen, Jimmy and Darshil, getting out on successive balls, giving the bowler a chance to do a hat-trick. Aditya survived the hat-trick ball but eventually got out. The break was approaching and Ronak was stranded at the other hand quickly running out of partners.
Right after the break, one more wicket fell, and that brought Kapad (Kunjan) at the crease. With the score reading 26 for 6 the Immortals were surely up against the wall, but what came next literally blew the Hawkes off their feet and dented their confidence and the enthusiasm in a manner that their body language showed their dropped shoulders from ball one when they came out to bat. A literal blitz of one of its kind, Kapad took the attack back to the opposition as he smashed two huge sixes with least effort, one of which was up in the air for ages and as Sidhu would have said "That must have kissed the air hostess before coming down". Everyone from the Immortals were up on their feet, all charged up, cheering and pushing Kapad to play his part as Ronak on the other hand played a perfect sheet anchor roll playing till the end and clobbering one six of his own, a neatly timed shot over long on.
Ronak and Kapad were applauded for their respective heroic efforts, one for his extremely patient innings and holding the scoreboard together as people were falling all around him, and another one for his natural brisk run-a-ball quickfire innings, as the Immortals once again were pulled back up from the death hole as they put up 75 on the board, but more importantly shook the Hawkes so much so that none of their batsman managed to cross double figures. The highest their batsman could manage was 5 runs, as the Immortals strong bowling attack bundled them up for a mere 31 runs. To an extent that was the total runs (2 less) that Kapad scored in as much as many balls.
The bowlers did their part too quite well enough to restrict and pressurize the opponents. Some highlights being Bhupesh's 3 wickets, Keka's 3 wickets (with no extras), Ronak's fantastic catch behind the wickets (to which he literally did a Bhajji style dance all the way till the Hawkes dugout, just like Bhajji did all the way to the press box on winning the last test against SA), 2 wickets for the Captain Darshil, one each for Nirmam and Aditya.
With this win, the Immortals are now onto their way to the Gold Cup Semi Finals against the Thunderdawgs.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The pain for the Immortals started right from the word go, as all their playing 11 were sent on an unnecessary ride to find a ground with suitable playing conditions. Running out of luck, the Hattrickers finally agreed to play on Dunford Way and the pitch played to perfection as it was a minefield out there for the first 30 minutes or so. Having won the toss, Immortals choose to bat first on hostile conditions and were thrown up against the wall as the opposition bowlers exploited the perfect bowling conditions. With the top 5 out of 6 batsman falling like bowling pins, Nirmam who went to open the innings grimaced in pain at the non-striker end, as the scoreboard displayed the Immortals innings in tatters at 13 runs for 5 wickets.
But what came next, was an applauding performance by two people, one from the middle order batsman Jainip and the other from Nirmam, who both dropped anchor and pulled the Immortals innings together with a very fine 40 odd runs partnership, to take the Immortals past the 50 run mark. Both these batsman played out of their skins to inch slowly towards a defend-able target as they left some, played some and whacked some. With some resilient lower order batting the Immortals finally managed to post a decent 64 runs on the board off their quota of 20 overs. The highlight of the innings - definitely the partnership between Nirmam and Jainip and their will to not let the innings fall apart.
With the work half done, it was now the turn of the Immortals bowling attack to do their part, and they did not disappoint. Bhupesh drew the first blood, as a fine catch was held by Karan (Keko) in the very first over and the Hattrickers had lost their first wicket with 0 runs on the board. With the Immortals fielders mounting continuous pressure on the opposition, mistakes were bound to happen, and small chances were ought to be taken. Two successive run outs from the deep saw the Hattrickers hit the panic button as the Immortals fought back with a valiant effort from their bowlers and the fielders.
What got the Immortals back from the ruins was a middle order partnership, and that is something which their opposition did too. The Hattrickers were slowly and methodically lurching towards their target and that showed on the body language of the Immortals players. The opener from Hattrickers had held the innings together, but threw away his wicket when he attempted to clear the boundary but found himself getting caught by Jaishal in the deep. But even as he left, the Hattrickers had found another resurgent batsman down the order who was beckoning the Immortals to bring the game on. With some powerful hitting and running between the wickets, it seemed that the Immortals would have to end their Gold Cup dreams, but a brilliant run out from the deep by their captain Darshil saw the danger man getting out and thsu opening up the flood gates for the Immortals to run through the lower order batsmen.
With 14 runs required from the last 3 overs and 4 wickets left, Nirmam, Bhupesh and Aditya delivered their final blows in their last overs. Slowly tightening the noose around the batsman and choking them for the singles and the boundaries, the game seemed to slip away from the Hattrickers. With 7 runs required from their last over, it was once again left to their savior Nirmam to do his part. What came next was a magnificent last death over which saw yield only 3 runs and thus took the Immortals home by 4 runs.
The win sank in slowly as the Immortals erupted on the pitch shouting and hugging each other as they realized they just beat one of the finest teams of Cricbay and this victory would definitely set the tone for the rest of the remaining games as the Immortals are now one more step ahead to reach for the Gold.
What a fine game it was and more importantly what a never-say-die spirited performance it was by Team Immortals. With this win, the Immortals now play the Quarter Finals.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
With the week before presenting a lot of showers, and the clouds looming large on the horizon, the Immortals hosted Daredevils, but due to the puddles on most of the grounds this game shifted, from the CMS ground to the Daredevils home ground - Lake Wood Park, the first visit by the Immortals.
The toss was won by the opposition as they decided to bat first, and thus the Immortals were going to chase their way to a win in this game. The start given by the opening bowlers Bhupesh and Nirmam was decent as Daredevils looked strong to build upon a good opening pair and post a respectable total. With 5 overs gone by, and no victim to the kitty, the ball was given to Jaishal, who somehow seems to be possessing that golden arm, who always comes in when a wicket is needed and delivers right to the barrel. Once again, he did not disappoint as he struck in his first over, as a fine sharp catch was held by Darshil. One more scalp to Jaishal came when the batsman looked to pull the delivery but failed to do so thus top edging and was caught and bowled by Jaishal. Two down, and with one more blow from Keko (Karan) from behind the stumps, and the Immortals were all raging to go. At the break the Daredevils were precariously placed at 28 for the loss of 3 wickets. The game could go either way.
Their was a brief moment of resistance from the opener and the captain of Daredevils, as they built an innings together to take their total past 50 after the break. Just as the game seemed to drift away from the hands of the Immortals, Aditya delivered a crucial blow, uprooting the stumps and sending home the opener. That as if it seemed, opened the flood gates, for the Immortals as they looked pumped up to run through the rest of the line up. The captain stood at the other end as he watched his other batsman come and go at regular intervals.
The fielding looked sharp as two run outs and a brilliant display of judgment and poise by the Immortals captain taking a splendid running catch saw the Immortals bowl the Daredevils out for 69 runs in their quote of 20 overs.
The Immortals started with caution, but got the first blow, when Nirmam was caught behind early in the chase. With Sanato (Viral) and Batti (Karan), giving the much needed anchor to this innings, the chase started slowly, but in style with Batti opening up his blades to anything short of the length and confidently dismissing it for twos. A fine partnership between these two batsman saw Immortals race to 50 runs at the break for the loss of just one wicket. Sanato looked solid, and Batti was all fired up.
Wasting no time, Karan riding high in confidence struck a 4 and a massive 6 to get everyone on their toes, screaming, shouting and cheering the partnership. A fine run-a-ball innings from Batti and great support from Viral saw that the Immortals rode home in style with 7.9 overs to spare.
With this win comes the next most important game, vs Hattrickers. The Immortals play them for the first time, and from the ranks, the talks and the looks of it, this is surely going to go down the wire. But being one of the most solid teams when it comes to defending their totals, and now slowly oozing confidence on chasing a total, the Immortals would look forward to go 1 up in this head-to-head battle.