Disclamer: A cross post from Entelechy. Long post. Continue reading at your own risk and only if you are interested in finelegs and extra covers.The veracity of the article is questionable except for the scores and results.
I was asked to write our experience in the just concluded 'Chimanbhai patel Cricket Tournament". It was the first time DA-IICT was 'officially' participating in a tournament at the university level.We had a very strong 16 member squad with a strategically chosen 12th man, Laveen. One of those players you chose so that you have fun while he craked his trademark jokes on our way back to the college. He asked questions like " fineleg ko fineleg kyun bula the hain??" , could throw trivia bits like this one: " Vo kaun tha jo bahut donation kiya AIDS ko, haan Warret Buffon" and even asked the jeep driver "Arey yaar 'PSR' kuch naam hota hai kya? Gandha lagtha hain T-shirt par". Btw talking about T-shirts , Yes we had T-shirts with our names and numbers on them. While i chose number 11 for some weird reason, Ganguly-obsessed Rama naturally chose 99 , Pratik shah chose 13 to prove (or disprove )a point and Mittal chose 14 for i think he admired Henry the Fourteenth or something. Atleast that is what our opening bowler Rahul told me.
So lets leave the numbers behind and get back to cricket. The day before our first match. We all were in the SAC discussing our startegies and what we would need the next day during the match . The strategists Preveen and Tushar though were conspicuous by their absence. I told Anshuman and Thakur that only one of them would be playing in the eleven and that would be the first tough decision i take. We decided we needed 2 dozens Bananas, 4 packets Frito lays (though i bullied for kurkure) and orange flavoured Glucon-D along with the basic First Aid we already had.
Match day. 7:00 in the morning in the terrible cold we set off to Ahmedabad on our Jeep. Imagine 15 of us with those jumbo sized kits on our laps , some of us slipping off the seats and to top it up we had " Ek baar AuWWWW JaWWW" playing in the background. Not a good start i thought. Doesn't matter, "we dont need much luck to beat 'Junagadh Agricultural University' ",I reminded myself. We had pan -India talent afterall with 6 of the 11 players from Hyderabad. We got onto the pitch , shook hands with our opposition and it was time for the toss. I always thought the two sides of the coin were called 'Heads' and Tails. But the umpire called them something like 'king' and 'king's sister'. So i allowed the opposite captain to call and the next moment i knew i won the toss . I chose to field first . Meanwhile Anshuman and Shashank got the bad news.They were not in the eleven .
On the field as expected Rahul ripped the opposition apart while Partik Shrivastav kept things tight at the other end to reduce the opposition to 13/5 in six overs. Dream start it was.The fielding was also looking good with our most vocal fielder Arun and Thakur showing great commitment. Tushar as always contributed with his useful tips from the slips. Then came this batsman all geared up. Left handed, helmet, thigh guard, elbow guard and other mandatory-guards in place. He played sensibly , got stuck at one end and diluted the bowling.Things were getting easy for him. The elbow guard came off, he gave his thigh guard to the umpire and things got a little tricky when he took even his abdomen guard off and handed it over to the umpire. The umpire hesitantly took it. But luckily we were able to take wickets at the other end and were able to restrict them for 152 in 37 overs. Not great considering that we had half their team out in the first six overs.
Match resumed after the lunch break. Openers Tushar and Arun start confidently but Tushar got out without many on the board. Some poor running between the wickets had us in trouble at 30/3. The captain didn't help the cause either. Got out without much fight and then Rohit Mittal soon followed when he was looking really good. Match precariously placed at 75/5. Then it came . It had to. Mayank and Rama sailed us home with 8 overs to go. Mayank not out on a more-responsible-than-magnificient 53. some great shots on the off side. He played them all. Mayank had to get it. For a batsman of his quality this was due and he got it when it mattered. Rama's 24 was invaluable. Priceless partnership.
DAU- 152 allout in 37 overs (Rahul 4 wickets)
DAIICT- 153/5 in 32 overs
My Men of the Match : Mayank and Rahul .
Next match: Quarter final against Nirma who got a 'walkover' today.
Same team except that Naveen replaced Laveen who fell ill and Nimesh came in for Brijesh as the 12th man. We were a confident bunch but not a fully fit one i was afraid. Two matches of 40 overs a side on consequitive days isn't easy.Like all good captains do, i won the toss again [:)] and chose to field again. The bowling wasn't as tight i must say , but we struck at regular intervals. But they were looking good at 75/4 in 14 overs. I was getting mentally prepared to chase 190-200. We were drooping a bit. After drinks we decided to tighten up the fielding and to put pressure on the opposition. And then this happened. Short covers.-PSR . Arun Bowling . Batsman drives hard , hard as in really hard. I dive full length to my left and there it sticks. Ball caught hand. OUT. I know i am being immodest here but it really was a good catch.Then we put pressure on the batsman, every bowling change worked. Mittal, Pratik Shrivastav, Shah, Mayank all of them striking. It took a great catch from wicket keeper Praveen to wrap up the innings at a meagre 135. Arun finished with 4/38 and lead us off the field. Nirma knew they had lost the game even before the second innings started. One guy even wished me good luck for our next match with Saurashtra University.
Cricket is a tricky game . How true. We get off to a disastrous start with the top 4 batsman contributing only 5 runs with the bat among them. Score 17/4 in 9 overs. Me and Mayank at the crease.Mayank back from an unbeaten 50 and i expected him to stay but that didn't happen. Mayank got out soon and we were in deep shit at i think 27/5.Mittal came in. We told each other we would take on the attack . No point defending each ball. Runs came and they came easily. We got runs with the typical PSR-Mittal panache . Our partneships work really well and it did today. We were now on 96/5. Myself on 36 and Rohit on 20 something.Needed 40 of 15 overs and 5 wickets in hand. Right then i got out to lazy shot and Rohit followed immediately. We needed 40 with 3 wickets in hand. Pratik shah scored some useful runs to take us to 111/7. 25 of 10 overs needed. Pratik shah on strike, Bowled. Next over Rama caught at square leg. "Not again" i thought. 25 with one wicket in hand. Pratik shrivastav and Rahul in the crease.Both of them showed great maturity and rotated the strike beautifully with Pratik scoring the odd boundary. We had out hearts in our mouths. With each passing ball the heart beat doubled. Each appeal against us had it tripled. But the batsmen hung on. All we needed now was 7 of 12 balls. One wicket in hand. Pratik hit a boundary over the mid wicket two overs back. Now 7 needed of 10. He wanted to do it again. It looked as if he hit it neatly. I thought it was a boundary, had my hands in the air only to realise the ball landed safely in the fielder's hands at mid on. All over. DA-IICT loses by six runs. All of them were down and dejected. Nirma had pulled off an impossible victory. A lot of discussion followed. "What if i din play that shot??". "What if i had eaten Puri instead of Poha in the morning"."We would have won if we continued listening to Salaam -e-ishq in the jeep instead of switching to Himesh". Weird theories followed . Even the jeep driver had an opinion. "Tum tikk gaye ho tho, i would have come tomorrow too" (He said it in Hindi. Language problem u see.) Their ended our tour and our contract with the jeep guy.
Update Update : Finished 2nd in the IMS quotient quiz for the 2nd time in a row just 2 days after we lost to Nirma in the 2nd round. The number 2 jinx.