The game of cricket has a lot to offer, especially when two supreme teams clash. It was a day when no one had expected the unexpected as the bout between The Immortals vs Skiers 11 went all the way down to the wire (cliché as it may sound) and the result was determined at the last ball of the innings. Two teams of great fighting spirit, almost near-to-perfection talent and some strokes of luck (turn of luck) made this encounter a nail biting finish.
Skiers 11 had played The Immortals earlier and had the better of them back in the Fall Open. For the Immortals this was a moment of sweet revenge especially this early in the tournament to have that little mental edge by getting even with Skiers. The Immortals won the toss on their home ground and chose to bat first.
Paying justice to the way the Cupertino Middle School home ground is in terms of its layout, the Immortals batting first did superbly well putting 84 on the board for the loss of just 6 wickets with useful contributions up the order from Nirmam, Viral, Ronak and a late burst from Jainip.
The Immortals defense for their 84 on the board started in complete disarray as two sitters were dropped in the inner circle – the zone which had always been the Immortals strength for putting pressure on the opposition. Somehow the Immortals managed to push the Skiers batting personnel on the back foot until the break as they restricted them to just 30 odd runs in 10 overs.
Even as the Immortals were having buttery fingers and the ball kept slipping, Karan (Batti) pulled of a stunning blinder in the deep running approximately the distance of 2 pitches and chalking out a one-hand effort to set the tone before the 10 overs break. Another one, a reflex catch from Jimmy, standing right in the face of the batsman saw the Skiers losing 2 wickets until the break.
But what came next was a rude shock to the Immortals, as they just lost their way along the dusty ground, the thicker grass and the self-mounted pressure of fielding even the simplest of chances. Let alone the half chances that the Immortals got by dozens, even the fundamentally basic run out and run stopping chances were put down and the Skiers batsmen were given a free ticket to ride their wagon slowly but steadily towards their target.
Ball going through the legs, turning inside out from the hands of the Immortals was a sight of extreme disgust as it seemed to be a rookie performance from a great unit, even though the game was not lost until the last 5 overs. But somehow the Immortals did not manage to pull back their act together and with 18 required of 18 it seemed that even though the game could be favoring the Immortals the momentum had shifted towards their opposition.
The Skiers 11 middle order batsman Deepak had nothing but one thing to do, scramble the Immortals and with the fielding standard having dropped so low, the Immortals were bound to make mistakes and give free runs. Eventually even as he did bail out a long high one into the mid field, but just as it might deem justice to his batting (and the Skiers’ luck), 3 fielders could not manage to seize the simple opportunity of catching him out and dropping yet one another sitter (again). He was once again given a reprieve behind the stumps and eventually these were fatal mistakes as he remained not out, and more importantly taking Skiers 11 all the way home with a fine victory of the last ball of the innings.
Even as a lot of blame was being put on the way the Immortals fielded (or on the u-turn in the luck aspect), it was the Immortals bowling too which did take a severe hit. The last 10 overs leaked out 55 runs and that in itself is a major concern if one thinks of the way the Immortals have bowled and defended even less than par totals in much earlier games on a lot of crucial occasions.
Having said that, it was a rude, but much needed wake up call, for everyone on the roster, to cheer up and gear up (as quoted by the captain of the Immortals) for the next game. If that calls for certain changes in the field setup, some common sense, alertness from the inner circle, some strong legs and calls from the outer circle, or even if it means thinking out of the box and handling the ball/bat to someone else and carry out some orthodox changes – then be it ! All that matters is not winning, but not losing in such a pitiful fashion ! Come what may, the Immortals will have to bounce back – strongly, as they play Aryans this coming weekend !
Go Immortals !
Fight On !