Thursday, March 18, 2010

3Peat - The Fall Open Gold Cup Finals !!!

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)

Score Card


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

Match Report: 02/28: vs Thunderdawgs

The Gold Cup definitely means a lot to the Immortals and it seems that as if they out-rightly dominate the game when it comes to winning it. It's kind of a supremacy which the Immortals have established since their inception by winning two Gold Cups in 3 seasons so far, and would not mind a third one up their sleeves. But to do so and come within one game of winning it, they had to surpass the Thunderdawgs in the Semi Finals, which they rightly did it in style, and march ahead to the finals.

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.

Score Card

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...

Go Immortals