Thursday, February 25, 2010

Match Report: 02/20: vs Hawkes

This week the world of cricket witnessed a spectacular innings - an innings of a life time - from one of the most popular icons of cricket by any standard - Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. 200 not out in a One-Day game is something which does not come too often and every Indian would pray this record to stand still in time for years to come. Switching gears and coming back to the Cricbay where the Immortals breathe, live and die for their cricket, the past weekend witnessed yet another resilient effort by the team, who now has come to believe in the never-say-die quote till the end. The Immortals hosted the Hawkes for the Gold Cup Quarter Finals and witnessed some inspiring performances from their players on the field.

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.

Score Card

With this win, the Immortals are now onto their way to the Gold Cup Semi Finals against the Thunderdawgs.

Go Immortals

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Match Report: 02/07: vs Hattrickers

Although the Super Bowl script did not play out the way it was supposed to be, where Saints would lead, but Manning and the Colts would make an epic comeback, 7 hours before the kick off, another team, playing for the ultimate success, playing for the second best coveted trophy in the league, and trying to achieve the 3-peat (as I mentioned during my last report), faced their moment of truth twice during the game. This is about team Immortals who visited the Hattrickers for the Pre-Quarter Finals in the Gold Cup game, and what a match it was as both teams witnessed some thrilling see-saw battles till the very last ball.

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.

Score Card

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.

Go Immortals

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Match Report: 01/30: vs Daredevils

Once again, the Immortals were back to familiar territory, now the third time since the inception of this team, as they faced Daredevils into the Gold group, and embark upon a path to bring back the Gold Cup one more time to make it a 3peat !!! With already two Golds up on the mantle, the Immortals are once again in good shape as they came strong and focused against the Daredevils.

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.

Score Card

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.

Go Immortals