Round 13 – Intervention of Rain GOD

The penultimate match before the semi-finals for SSSCI Storm (if Storm were to qualify) was against Pendle Hill Colts (PHC).The captain of Storm was running a bit late and hence the vice-captain stood in for him to call the toss. Storm won the toss and elected to bat, no surprises there.

Avinash and Roshit started the proceedings for Storm as they always do. They didn’t try anything outlandish and they managed to counter the initial movement of the ball although there were nervous moments. Couple of boundaries were scored off loose deliveries to keep the score ticking. With the seamers getting no wickets, PHC made a bowling change and brought in their lanky left arm seamer. He was spot on with his line and troubled both the openers in equal measure. Avi was the first to depart when he inside edged a delivery that crept in through the gap between his bat and pad. Subbu walked in next to watch Roshit let one through his bat and pad to dismantle his off-stick. At 19/2, Storm had lost its initial grip on the innings.

That’s when Suraj walked in next to unleash upon PHC for the next 20 overs. He cut, drove and smashed the ball all around the park and over it four times, while at the other end, Subbu consolidated and laid the foundation for a mighty partnership. It was a lesson on how partnerships are built. From 19/2, the pair added 70 runs between them of which 51 were scored by Suraj. Coming after two innings where he couldn’t capitalize well, Suraj committed himself to play a big innings. Trying to score big, Suraj missed the line of the ball and was cleaned up. Yet again, a well composed innings
pulling Storm out of the disaster pit. 

Kannan walked in next and went after the bowling straight away. He hit a humongous six off PHC’s best bowler before getting out to a sharp catch at gully. The way he was going, had he hung around in the middle for few more overs, it would have been a different story. Vinod Reddy walked in next and Lady Luck frowned upon him yet again. Poor lad was adjudged leg before having nicked the ball clearly. From 107/3, the score suddenly read 115/5. Murugs went in next to join Subbu and began well by hitting a well-timed boundary over square leg. Unfortunately, he was cleaned up in the last over of the session looking to play across the line. Getting out in the last over is perhaps the worst feeling for any batsman and it was no different for Murugs. Amid all the carnage, Subbu stood tall at the other end battling it out ball by ball.

The next session started with Ram and Subbu taking guard while PHC brought in their slow bowlers, much to the delight of Ram. He clubbed one out of the park for a maximum with minimal effort. Alas, trying to go for another one, he top edged a slower one to the waiting palms of the fielder at gully. Temptation getting the better of him. The most consistent southpaw in the team so far, Vinod walked in next to join Subbu. With these two in the middle, Storm had no reason to panic as both are accomplished in the batting department. Vinod and Subbu started generating runs by converting ones to twos and twos to threes. Subbu was the next to go when he tried to go over the top. The ball got a leading edge and looped to the point area where it was taken comfortably. An innings that displayed tremendous grit and incredible temperament. Every team needs a player of this calibre to play around and also step up and score at will when needed. Head up Subbu! An innings that deserves respect.

Siva Kumar joined Vinod in the middle and was unlucky to lose his wicket soon. Trying to go over the top of the infield, the ball hit the bottom of the bat and he was caught at mid-off. Yuvi, who has  opened against the same club (different team) couple of years ago went in and smacked the second ball he faced over covers for a wonderful boundary. The role that this man has been playing is so underrated. He gives all that he has to make sure that he does not come across as a weak number 11, whom the opposition can just walk over. He puts a price on his wicket and supports his partner to
full capacity. It was evident when Vinod trusted him and ran a single of the last ball of an over letting Yuvi take strike the next over. Well done Yuvi! We could all learn from you. It was up to Vinod to score some quick runs and he obliged when he hit a flat six over square leg. But he was to depart the next over when he missed a delivery that came from around his legs to dislodge his bails. Storm were bundled out for 159.

Murugs started the proceedings for Storm and bowled a tempting line inviting the batsmen to hit. He was unlucky when the batsman hit the ball just a bit wide of Avi at mid-off and raced to the boundary. Ram steamed in from the other end and completely unsettled both the openers. They had no answers for his raw pace and venom spurting line. Soon enough he brought one in and dislodged the bails to send the opening batsman back to the pavilion. What a sight it was! Pure joy! Yuvi came in from the other end and troubled the batsmen with his in swingers. It was very clear what the batsmen were doing – seeing off the day. Murugs managed to negotiate one extra over with the umpire and what an amazing negotiation it turned out to be. The magician Vinod Reddy came in and he stuck to his reputation by removing the other opener by zipping one through his defences and uprooting his leg stump. How good it is to watch the strategies work. To get out in the final over is a miserable feeling, but there is something else that tops this misery and Vinod Reddy was going to show PHC what that was. The batsman, slipped and slithered to see off three more deliveries. One final ball remaining for the day – what happened next was incredible to watch. Vinod Reddy and Roshit delayed the final ball of the day on purpose and Vinod was ready to gamble on something different. He bowled a quicker widish full toss which got the edge and flew between Kannan and Ram. Now both are known to be good fielders, perhaps not the quickest fielders. With the outfield slow and noticing Ram not giving a quick chase, there was a yes-no yes-no between the batsmen and when the final no was heard, the batsman at the batting end was well out of his crease. Suraj completed the formalities by collecting the ball cleanly and removing the bails. A wicket of the last ball. How good does that feel? Ask Storm, not so much to PHC I reckon. Terrific comeback by Storm.

The weather played spoilsport in the end and both the teams ended up sharing points and our record of not winning a game in that ground continued for the third season.

Scorecard Summary

Player of the match – Suraj (for his brilliant counter-attacking innings of 51 runs)