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Match 1 – Day 1

PDCA A-Reserve 2022-23 – Match Summary – Day 1 – KSSCI Vs Hills Barbarians at Balmoral Road Reserve (Home) on 17/09/2022

Dear Team,

Great to see you all at the season opener against Hills Barbarians at our home ground. We hit the right note even before the start of the game by coming to the ground early before 1pm, ready to kick start the season. It reminded me of our team some years back where we used to assemble at 12:45, have warm-up sessions and fielding drills before the toss. Good to have that feeling back and hope we continue to come in early, warm-up, have a good chat and start the match with a relaxed mindset.

New season, New captain and New home ground…. a lot of NEW things to start this season on a somewhat crazy day with challenging weather conditions throughout the duration of the game. It started off with some rain in the area before the toss but changed to a sunny but windy day including a bit of cloud cover during the game. At times it was so cold that it made us wonder whether we were playing the summer comp or the winter comp :).

Our new Captain made a positive start by winning the toss and bravely chose to bat. Personally I was thinking that we might choose to bowl first given the conditions but our think tank had a different strategy for the match. Our openers Ashwath and Vinod Reddy marched in to bat in the season opener. Both of them negotiated the first few overs quite easily and we could see them settling in quite well. Against run of play, Ashwath played across the line to a straight ball and was given LBW and the team lost the first wicket in the 4th over. He was playing well until then and I hope to see him go big next time around.

Subbu joined Vinod in the middle and took his time to settle down. At the other end, Vinod got into the groove as the game progressed and started playing some good shots especially around mid-wicket area. At one stage we were scoring 1 run per over (until 8th over) but then slowly we picked up the tempo and by the time we had our first session break, the run rate went little over 2 runs per over having lost just a solitary wicket of Ashwath. The new ball was doing a lot and the wind definitely aided the bowlers. Both the players understood this and respected the conditions and the bowling with the sole aim of finishing the first session on a high.

Second session didn’t start that well as we lost Vinod quickly for a well made 25 runs and a partnership of 42 runs with Subbu. The most important fact is that he had consumed almost 11 overs (64 balls to be precise) in the process which augured well for the team. Well played Vinod. Your innings definitely gave a solid opening to the team and I really wished you went on to make a big score. Well done!

Murugs then joined Subbu and as always he started slowly trying to get his eye in first. At one stage he scored just 3 runs off 18 balls but then that was the need of the hour for the team. He scored the first six of the season with a beautiful slog sweep over mid-wicket. Subbu and Murugs steadily increased the tempo of scoring with some quick running between the wickets but also made some silly errors of running short. In fact they missed 4 runs due to running short during their partnership. When everything was going well, Subbu uncharacteristically got out going for a pull shot and was caught. But by then he had played his part of occupying the crease for almost 13 overs (85 balls) and scoring 32 valuable runs. His partnership with Murugs was worth 32 runs in almost 12 overs. Good job Subbu and you definitely served the team very well in this game.

Dilip joined Murugs and we expected the run rate to pick up given the way Dilip plays. But he decided to buy time and played out dot balls to understand the pitch and the conditions. His first scoring shot was a treat to watch and it was worth the wait for sure. Unfortunately he ran out due to some misunderstanding in the middle. He just started to open up and would have benefitted the team very well had he continued on. Hopefully that will happen in the next game. Hard luck Dilip.

Bala and Murugs then battled out in the middle but both were unable to score quickly. At that stage of the innings, our aim was to score 4 runs per over but it was a challenge due to some good bowling from the opponents. Even Bala was struggling to get going and eventually he got out going for a pull shot. The ball was too close to his body and he couldn’t adjust in time and nicked it to the keeper. 

In cricket they say one wicket brings another and it happened in this case. Soon after Bala’s wicket, Murugs got out too after a wonderful innings where he played out close to 12 overs (68 balls) and scored 26 runs. Fantastic innings Murugs and you really controlled the middle overs quite well and your innings definitely helped the team. Well played!

From 79 for 2 we plunged to 108 for 6 which was not the plan that we discussed during the session breaks. We desperately needed a partnership to take us to a par score and that’s exactly what Rakesh and Kannan provided. They decided that offense was the best form of defense and both of them played aggressively to unsettle the bowlers. Runs came thick and fast but at the same time both of them showed great game awareness and didn’t slog every ball. Both of them batted responsibly and at the same time took calculated risks to get the score moving. Suddenly the game came to life and everyone at the sidelines were shouting and cheering for them. Good to watch this partnership develop but alas it was cut short by a streaky stumping. Kannan just scored a brilliant 6 over deep mid-wicket and he wanted to go again but lost his balance in the process. The keeper collected the ball on the leg side and managed to back-flip on to the stumps having caught Kannan short of the crease. Such an unfortunate dismissal after a blinder from Kannan which gave the much needed momentum for the team. His 23 runs off 29 balls was timely and his partnership with Rakesh was a turning point for the team at the crucial juncture. Their partnership of 38 runs in a very short time put us in a reasonable position especially after the slump in middle overs.

Shrawan joined Rakesh who was batting beatufully and it rubbed onto Shrawan straight away. He opened up and played some amazing shots hitting through the line of the ball. The scoring rate jumped with this duo in the middle that put the opponents under pressure. They didn’t expect this kind of fighback from the lower middle order. Once again, we lost a wicket at the wrong time as Shrwan was going for a third run only to get run out. A good innings from him just continuing on from where our Captain had left.

As the minimum overs for the day to be bowled was nearing, the onus was now on Rakesh to do bulk of the scoring and oh boy, he did deliver it. Prashanth and Rakesh scored some quick runs before Prashanth got out and Yuvi went in as the last batsman. He had to survive 4 balls before handing over the final over of the day to Rakesh and he managed to do it albeit some unnecessary umpiring controversy. Kudos to Dilip who was the square leg umpire for standing firm on his decision in spite of verbal altercation with the opponents. Facing the last over of the innings, Rakesh swung hard and scored 8 runs off the final over and finished the day with 37 invaluable runs at almost run a ball (off 39 balls) and remained not out. He top scored for the team and every run of his was worth the gold given the position the team was in when he went into bat. Brilliant work Rakesh and welcome to the Team! Hope your leg is holding up well after the game. Please stretch, rest well and recover.

Overall we started the match reasonably well without losing too many wickets at the start and then we had a slump losing flurry of wickets and kind of stagnated without scoring many runs in the middle period but then re-grouped and fought back well to finish the day with 186 runs for 9 wickets in 59 mandatory overs. From 108 for 6 in about 45 odd overs we recovered well to post a par score on this ground. In fact, we scored 55 runs in the last 8 overs with the lower middle order and all credits to Rakesh, Kannan and Shrawan for their fireworks in the end. Well done Team!

Looking at the scorecard, 5 players got into the 20’s (3 players in the 20’s and 2 in the 30’s) but couldn’t go on to make a big score. But again, as Murugs said during the game, if 5 players can score 30 runs each we get to a decent score of 150 runs. This is definitely a good way to look at things and a few years back when we played in B1 grade, the eventual winners Baulkham Hills, none of their batsmen scored more than 200 runs for the season but there were 4 to 5 players scoring close to that for the season which made the difference in the end. 

As requested by the Captain during his pre-season writeup, from a batting perspective everyone played their role perfectly and fulfilled what was expected. Now it is over to the bowlers to defend this score next week. As of today, the weather forecast is that it is expected to rain next weekend but let’s hope we will have a game and we will be able to defend this score.

Credit to the opponents who bowled really well and their stand out performer was their keeper who did amazingly well behind the stumps. He definitely saved at least 20 odd runs with his splending keeping. We definitely have to appreciate their good work!

Shot(s) of the day

I actually wanted to pick only one ‘shot of the day’ but there were too many to ignore. According to me, here are some outstanding strokes that stood out during the day and please do feel free to add to this list.

Murugs

What a sight it was to see his slog-sweep shot sailing over the mid-wicket for the first six of the tournament for us. Until then he was a sleeping giant in the middle and with that shot he woke the opponents. It definitely caught them by surprise. Fantastic shot Murugs.

Subbu

I have never seen Subbu playing a hook shot and I was delighted to see his pull that went for a boundary. Good to watch Subbu. Keep it going!

Dilip

Oh man, his first scoring shot from him was a delight to watch. An inside out lofted shot bisecting cover and mid-off that was hit on the rise was a spectacular shot showcasing what he can do when he is in the middle. Brilliant shot Dilip!

Bala

What a delicate touch to send the ball rolling to the boundary in the third man area. We know you for your hard hitting prowess but that was a delightful shot bala. It was like slicing the cheese with a knife… Too good Bala!

Kannan

There were few great shots to choose from but for me the scoop shot over fine leg was simply brilliant. That was an audacious shot and came when no one expected. It needed guts to play that shot especially at that time of the innings where a partnership was the need of the hour. Amazing shot Kannan!

Rakesh

What an amazing innings you played today. You pretty much toyed with the bowling but the best shot that stood out for me was the sliced cut shot through point that raced to the boundary. Similar to Bala’s delicate shot, this was all about timing and not about power hitting. It was a gem of a shot Rakesh and you really played it to perfection today. Well done!

Overall a fantastic day for us and what a way to start the season! Well played Team!

Let’s focus, do well next week to defend the score and justify the hard work put in by our batters. Until then rest up, recover and come fresh next week for the challenge. 

Finally thanks to Roshit, Coco, Harish and other supporters who came to the ground and cheered for us. It makes a lot of difference to the team and it was nice to have you there guys. Thank you!

Go Supersonics!