August 06, 2003

Game with Cuyahoga….Ind Vs Pak

These days I have been pretty busy with things so i have not been able to find time to write my usual elaborate match reports. From now on the reports will be very very short compared to the previous ones. I am sure that many of you are disappointed with this news but I am pressed for time so I cannot continue writing long match reports. But I will guarantee that I will resume writing long reports if the team makes it to the playoffs !!!!!!!!

We were at the field as usual on time and the opposition was late. We usually get to the Cuyahoga ground on time. We have been playing well on that field and it’s my personal favorite as I scored my only tournament fifty there as well as my previous highest score, incidentally both those scores were against the same team (Hashlingden). We had a bad experience playing with the Cuyahoga team the last time around during the practice game. Couple of players got into a tussle and the match had to be abandoned. So to prevent the repeat of such events we had mutually agreed on having a neutral umpire. The neutral umpire for the game was Harsh from the Cleveland State University Cricket team (Vikings).

I went in for the toss with Imran (the opposition skipper), the Cuyahoga team is a team with majority players having a Pakistani origin. I called tailsand as expected it was Heads !!!!!.We always love to have a bowl first and have not batted first yet. Imran chose to field !!!!!!!! so we got to bat first. We fielded a pretty strong team. Our opening pair was Brijesh and Puneet. Brijesh’s parents had come to visit him so they were at the game too. Brijesh had a bet with his dad that we would score 250.The night before the game we had a great time at Brijesh’s place, aunty made some awesome food and we watched Andaz Apna Apna for the n MILLIONTH time. Brijesh had an irritated start as the Skipper of the opposition asked him to wear full whites (he usually bats in shorts). He borrowed a shirt from me and had his whites tracks on. But that was the only irritating thing that happened in the first few overs. Cuyahoga had a disastrous start…..they started off with wides and we were 5 runs in 0 balls!!!!! Then Puneet hit a brilliant boundary with his favorite pull shot……it was good o see him play that shot so early on. That shot showed how confident he was in the middle. If Puneet was confident Brijesh was supremely confident. He has been one of the batting main stays for us along with Pogs (Hari) . Brijesh hit a boundary with a pull shot at the other end. In no time we were in the twenties and closer to the thirties. Puneet hit a beautiful square cut and just stood there admiring this shot….. WOW ….it was indeed a brilliant shot. But then he got carried away a bit and risked an aerial shot which went for a sitter towards Sadiq who is one of their better fielder……but fortunately he dropped the catch!!!!!!! Puneet must have been relived to see such an easy chance being dropped but Sadiq got the firing of his life from Kamal. Kamal is like the dictator on the team…..the most powerful personality…..he is their best batsman and is also a very good bowler. Well, Puneet’s joy was short lived as he played on to his wickets and got bowled of the very next ball he faced !!!!! It was really sad that he got out when they were going great guns. I guess Cuyahoga thought that they would be able to put some breaks on the scoring. But they were in for a rude shock !!!!!!! in walked Phani….who probably played the best innings of his cricketing career at Akron.

Phani started off very very positively and Brijesh at the other end was getting runs effortlessly. He made batting look ridiculously easy and took on the bowlers with the ease similar to that seen in the nets !!!!!!! Both o them were putting together a brilliant partnership when Brijesh played an uppish short of a leg-spinner and popped up a simple catch to Imran. I was surprised as I expected to see Phani getting uncomfortable playing a spinner but unfortunately Brijesh got out for 46 runs…..he missed his second fifty by 4 runs!!!!!!!! I mean it could have been a memorable fifty as his parents were watching him play. But by the time brijesh got out we already had 100 runs on board in less than 13 overs!!!!!! It was brilliant batting by the openers and Phani. In walked our most dependable batsman…..Pogs…he strode in confidently and started in his usual manner. Phani was playing excellently…..he was confident and hit the leg spinner for a couple of sixes. Both the shots were clean hits. The first was a pull on the leg side off the spinner….Phani was waiting for the loose delivery and punished the bad balls very well. He batted very aggressively and hit a straight six just after the break.....he is on a roll!!!!!!!! He has hit 4 sixes in his last two knocks !!!!!!!! Thats a tremendous feat considering the fact that he had not hit a six before in the tournament. Now, he has the highest number of sixes for the team.....manpreet has 2, hari has 1, I have one, Brijesh has two !!!!!!! But he had a couple of close calls on the LBW ....if not for the neutral umpire the game would have taken a very bad shape. Phani also got a life early on....when he was in his 20's he was dropped by Kamal off Sadiq and the poor guy didnt say a word to Kamal. That showed how much they feared Kamal. Phani got to his first fifty and didnt even take his cap off !!!!!!! i am sure that he would remember every stroke of that fifty. Pogs on the other end was encouraging him and asked him to stay put....all this while the run-rate was being maintained at about 8 runs an over. Then Phani gave a simple catch and got out meekly. He had a lapse of concentration and got out immediately after getting his fifty. He played an uppish shot and got out. He came back disappointed as he had a very very good chance of scoring more runs and probably a Century !!!!!!! I sent Avinash up the I wanted him to get some time in the middle. He was ready to go from the first ball. Early in his innings Avinash gave a simple catch which Kamal dropped !!!!!!! once again!!!! But no one uttered a single word. But now he must have realised that he dropped an important catch. Avinash settled down soon and started playing brilliantly. The all of a sudden Pogs lost his composure and went for a heave and got bowled !!!!!!! thats very unlike Pogs. He usually plays very straight and very confidently. but that day was not to be his as it belonged to Avinash. Pogs made 11. I walked in with score around 180 in 24-25 overs. We were looking at a target of 270 !!!!!!! I usually play well on that ground and started off well taking the singles and twos. I run very hard and try to get the maximum for the shot. I usually never dive as I am either safe or short by a big margin. Baji started to open up and we decided to play like the way we were tilll the 30th over. But unfortunately I got LBW to a bowler who had bowled 6 wides in that over. the only ball he bowled straight I got out !!!!! that was very very frustrating. i made only 5 but ran for abt 25 runs!!!!!! Kiran walked in with the ideal platform to launch.....he played with his head down which showed that he was trying hard to stay in the middle. Baji on the otehr hand was playing some superb strokes!!!!!!! he hit a couple of fours which were just awesome to watch. Some of the shots he hits are a treat to watch....especially the ones he hits with one knee on the ground. Kiran got out in an unfortunate fashion....he played a powerful drive which was very well taken by was a reflex catch and he did a great job. kiran was very very disappointed. manpreet walked in and started playing well...but now the scoring rate had gone down and it was getting increasingly difficult to score. but baji was placing his shots to run the twos. THen Manpreet went for a big hit and was caught. Sunny walked in and I hoped that he would hit some good shots. Then the most unfortunate incident of the match happned....SUnny hit a shot which beat the bowler....baji wanted to run but sunny Baji thought that the ball was dead and went out to tell Sunny to run the next time. But the bowler saw this as an oppurtunity to get Baji out (as they werent able to get him the conventional ways) and took the bails off !!!!!!! thats the most unsportsmanly behavior I have see so far. Baji was playing really well and was out for 46 !!!!!! Adi walked in. Sunny then hit a huge six. he is very good at that, he has a good swing of the bat and usually makes contact. But them sunny got runout going for a non-exixtent run. Raj walked in...Adi then hit a four....that was straight from the meat of the bat.
it sounded soooo good!!!!!! But Raj got Lbw in the last over. adi was not out on 7 and we finished with 254 runs in 34.3 overs!!!!!!!! thats a great target.

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