Tigers Cricket Club 3rd XI vs Alpha Quashers Cricket club 3rd XI (AQCC) ,
In June, as government relaxed COVID-19 travel and social restraint, we could see the presence of social activities with safety guidelines. Meanwhile, Japan Cricket Association released instructions for all players and officials to comply with to kick off the cricket season from July 4th. Often in June and July, rain forecast decides the fate of the possibility of the game and the situation is never clear until teams arrive at the ground.
Around 9:30 am, on saturday, Umpires Sheikh Nazrul and Abdullah al Mamun from Rising Stars, both teams arrived at the venue with hope of the possibility of game, it was Sano 4 with some cleaning up, promised both sides a game.
Winning toss and batting first.
Under such situations, toss becomes more crucial. Usually, team prefer to bowl in such situation but Tigers captain won the toss and elected chose to bat first. Soon decision proved to be fatal as Mariaselvan got the first breakthrough in 2nd over of the match trapping reliable & hard-hitting batsman Divyanshu Srivastava out LBW 0(12). Outfield was sluggish and wet and it caused lot of trouble for bowlers but both maintained a reasonably good line and lengths. Rajeev Nair and Surya steadily built a partnership to provide the team with an excellent platform for later part of the inning. As both batsmen looked settled, SK Nagarajan provided 2nd breakthrough with the wicket of Rajeev, 12(30). Next ball, Nagarajan bowled Chaitanya to create a hat-trick opportunity. Two quick wickets undid the hard work of Rajvee and Surya Singh.
Surya Singh was the next to depart with patient 4(33). After 16 overs, Tigers were wobbling at 44/4, (21 extras). Pratik, Mariaselvan, Vinoth, had an excellent first spell of 4 overs for 10,6, and 18 respectively.
Spell that changed the game
When Captain called up Vikram Ragunathan to bowl his medium pace, “you miss I hit” medium-pace bowling proved lethal on the day. His first wicket was Pandurang, stumped by wicketkeeper Dharani Krishnan for 1(16). Pradhyumna Deshpande 2(12), Nibu Thomas 3(26), Farshad 0(2) fell in quick succession to him. Hari R occupied the crease for an hour for his 51 balls 16 runs, 2×4, 1×6 to but his resistance came an end to be 5th wicket of Vikram. Mohammed Afroz Ahmed who bowled an economical spell of 3overs-8 runs and supported Vikram to build pressure at the other end. An excellent example of bowling in partnerships. Vikram’s 6th and final scalp was Pamal Utham 1 (16) to roll-out Tigers Inning on 80 runs in 33.4 overs.
Vikram Ragunathan bowling figures read 6.4 overs- 3 maidens-8 runs – 6 wickets. Considering the circumstances, it is an incredible achievement.
Generally, 80 runs is not a competitive total. Compared to the morning, outfield condition did not improve. So Tigers team sensed the opportunity to make a game out of it. Every run became important.
AQCC’s chase of 81 had mini collapse
In such situations, the job of the openers becomes tricky. Nibu Thomas and Pamal Upham walked out to the middle to face the opening spell of SK Nagarajan and NT Nagaraja. As bowlers sprayed the ball all around, the competitive nature of the game disappeared. AQCC were 28/0 in 5 overs with 16 extras and few boundaries. Introduction of Patil and Deshpande changed the equation quickly. Pandurang Patil, in his first over, provided a much-needed breakthrough by trapping SK Nagarajan in front. P Deshpande’s introduction proved to be most decisive as he took 2 wickets in quick succession to reduce AQCC to 45/4.
Bowling in partnership is crucial, and Tigers could not capitalize on this vital phase of the game as they continue give away extras. Middle order pair Ashok Kumar15(43) and Mariaselvan 12(18) patiently batted till the end to give AQCC first win of the season. Both teams had excellent contributions from individuals, but it was the effort of Vikram with the ball and Mariaselvan with bat and ball that proved to be a match-winner for AQCC