Coz their slogan is ‘Never Say Die!’ and we lived up to that today. Our final league game of the Xius Tournament and we were playing the only undefeated team in our group – Continuum. They’d made their presence felt with the gargantuan score of 274 (yes! In 20 overs!) in one of their previous games. We were upbeat from our victory last week and were certain we’d make a match of it…and how!!!
Won the toss and elected to bat on a much drier surface compared to last week but which still had a green tinge. Kamalesh and I opened and got off briskly enough. I took first strike and after a couple of wafts at widish deliveries, got one in the middle. Liked it for 2 reasons; 1: it was a searing square drive that thudded into the embankments that formed the boundary and 2: I did not last long enough at the crease, and since this is an exercise in self-promotion, have to highlight every little thing J We went along at a decent pace of 10 an over for 4 odd overs that included a driven 6 over cover, held the pose in the follow-through then quickly realized I was show-boating and started fiddling with my helmet strap. I was first man out – 21(15 balls) to their first-change, left-arm bowler to a sickeningly easy-to-hit fulltoss that I only managed to find deep-midwicket with. We then lost regular wickets and our run-rate nose-dived till we had only 100 in 14 overs. Neeraj, Phani and Pratik came to the party and some enterprising hitting got us to 163 in 20.
Defending 163 against what was easily the best batting line-up in the tournament, was not very probable, but we nearly pulled it off. I and Abhijit started with me bowling the ‘customary’ wides. Was pretty frustrating for the team, and though I knew we couldn’t afford the runs, had this feeling at the back of my mind that we just had to break through early. Went around the wicket to their left-handed opener and finally managed to pitch one on a decent line in the 4th over that cut back and rattled his stumps. But the runs were coming thick and fast and they raced to 77 in 7 when RK produced an unbelievable over where he took 3 wickets! The first 2 were thick edges to Pratik at point and the third was an edge through to Deepak behind the stumps. We clawed for every inch of the way and after getting them 8 wickets down, our store of runs just proved to be too measly and they scraped through. RK, was fittingly, the man of the match and the generous round of applause from the opposition said volumes about his performance.
Tough loss, but it was a fantastic feeling being part of that fight-back. Considering the average scores in the tournament, the fat lady had cleared her throat when we had only managed 163, but she only managed to sing after we had given Continuum a few cardiac arrests. The usual post-match-loss low is a l’il ‘lower’ today coz this is most likely the last game we played for ISB, since its unlikely that we’ll find the time with placement season on the horizon.
But, no regrets, its just about the best feeling in the world to take the field alongside 10 cricketers (note not just good batsmen or bowlers) and I’ve certainly had a great time representing ISB with Nikhil, Pratik, RK, Kamalesh, Aditya, Deepak, Abhijit, Neeraj, Ruchir (might easily missed a few coz the team was never the same for 2 games). Only if we’d won more J