Another week and another week packed with assignment submissions. The highlight, for me, however was the cricket match against Franklin Templeton. Having just made the deadline for the COBE essay of 5pm, we set off for Glendale High School, the venue of the Xius corporate cricket tournament.
As usual, there was a delay as the match before ours ran over by an hour. We won the toss and elected to field on one of the greenest playing surfaces I’ve ever seen! A decision was debatable to an extent, considering chasing has never been fun, ever. We had a different set of bowlers for this game and were optimistic about restricting the opposition to a manageable score of about 120 to 140. However, things didn’t begin too well with 18 coming off Doc’s (Rakesh) first over mainly by way of wides. Its never easy for anyone who’s not played any cricket in months to come and bowl with the new white ball. I opened from the other end and after an edged 4 past gully, landed one just right, that moved back off the seam and went between bat and pad and clipped the top of middle stump. An opening bowler’s dream J! After that there were some quiet overs as the batsmen played cautiously because of the movement, both in the air and off the pitch. I had a few near misses against their left-handed batsman getting good movement into him (whom I incidentally dropped off Pratik – a ridiculous effort where I had aeons to get in position and yet cudnt get a hand on the ball!). I ended with figures of 4 overs – 22 runs – 3 wickets. Nikhil, Pratik, Ruchir and RK were the other bowlers. All kept things under control for the most part, especially Nikhil and Pratik. Doc finished off his overs well after a bad start. A couple of expensive overs from Ruchir and the odd flurry of boundaries got them up to a mammoth 183.
Chasing this total was never going to be a cakewalk, but we felt we’d have a go and see what happened. I and Aditya opened with me taking strike. I’d felt the beginnings of a cramp in the last over that I’d bowled and was not very hopeful about lasting long at the crease because the last thing I wanted to do was eat up overs with an asking rate of over 9. After a good first over, all hell broke loose. I got some room from the other opening bowler and cut 2 fours. The bowler compensated and overpitched the next ball which I picked early and deposited out of the ground. We now had 16 in 2 overs and the chase was on! Aditya played anchor, unfurling the occasional big hit and turning the strike over while I continued chancing my arm and got away with it as the short square boundaries came into play and we rattled along at 10 an over. We got to 50 in the 6th over and to 100 in the 11th. I went to my 50 off a misfield off a drive that was hit powerfully but should’ve been stopped. Particularly enjoyed the shot next ball; was pitched up by a medium-fast bowler and took a big step out to meet the ball and hit it flat and hard over extra cover for 6, even stayed in the follow-through for a second to savour it! J With no wickets down, we were looking good to pull off a fantastic win. However, Aditya was asked to hit out and perished LBW playing across the line in the process. RK looked to hit one too early and we’d lost 2 wickets in quick time. Their leg-spinner was doing a good job of keeping things quiet with some very temptingly slow bowling. Neeraj joined me and we kept taking singles and the odd boundary. I was keen on staying till the end but a bad call from me for a single off a misfield that resulted in my runout for 87. The asking rate of over 10 at that point and it was unfair on the batsmen that followed to come out and hit out from the word go and we lost wickets regularly after that. Neeraj, Nikhil, Pratik all made a valiant effort with some lovely hits to the fence, but there were just too many runs to get and we fell short by 16 runs.
A heartbreaking loss for having got so close but I won’t forget one of the comments from the opposition new-ball bowler after the game – “That was the best innings I’ve ever seen”. Yeah I know what you’re thinking, “Enough with the self-promotion already!”…but that’s the whole point of having your own blog I guess J