Sunday, April 25, 2010

Match Report :: vs Skiers 11 :: 04/17

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 !


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Match Report :: vs Hulks :: 03/27

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

The Hulks Team: Simran, Aravinth, Srinivasan, Amol, Sujit, Karthik, Anvesh, Anand, Alhad

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.

The huddle before the start of the bowling for the Immortals was about crushing the opponents to take advantage of the DRR. With two players short on the Hulks lineup, the task was going to be much easier for the Immortals as Bhupesh struck twice in his spell in the beginning to push the Hulks on the back foot. But what came next was quite unexpected and maybe something worth experiencing in a game of cricket. There is no better sight in this gentlemen's game than a bowler taking 3 wickets off 3 successive balls - a Hat-trick !

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

What a feat by Ronak as the Immortals finally closed the deal by dismantling the Hulks for 28 runs in 10 overs and taking 4 points under their belt.

Score Card

With this win, the Immortals now host GSCC at CMS on 4/3.

Go Immortals


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