Round 9 – A Clinical Win

The second one-dayer between SSSCI Storm and Wenty Leagues was played at our home ground – Hazel Ryan Oval. Storm had two changes to their squad – Varaprasad and Sivakumar coming in for the injured Hemanth and Avinash.

Opening Partnership
Storm won the toss, and opted to bat as decided. The idea was to pile on as many runs as possible and bundle out the opposition as quickly as possible. With the regular opener Avi injured in a freak domestic accident, Padma Siva took up the challenge to open the innings along with the other regular, Roshit. It was perhaps the hottest day of summer in Western Sydney. The openers were very cautious in their approach did not try anything fancy. The wayward bowling by the opposition contributed to the total as there were too many wide deliveries being bowled. Padma Siva and Roshit added 43 valuable runs for the first wicket, the second best opening partnership for them this season. Padma Siva, trying to work one on the on side, top edged a simple catch to the waiting palms at square leg. With that the first session was called off.

Ram was to go in next. As soon as play commenced after the break, the devil of the break got into act and claimed Roshit’s wicket. A silly lofted shot that was going nowhere was taken by the bowler himself. From 43/ 0 to 43/ 2. Suraj walked in next to join Ram in the middle. Unfortunately Ram nicked a rising delivery to the keeper and was gone too soon. Murugs joined Suraj in the middle and they both assessed the need of the situation and did not try anything fancy. Suraj was very cautious in his shot selection and was letting go the good deliveries. Alas, a terrible mix-up in the middle consumed his wicket and he was caught short of his ground at the non-striker’s end. Perhaps the only way to get him out. Vinod Reddy walked in next to join Murugs in the middle. Vinod Reddy gloved a delivery directed to his chest to the keeper and the umpire nodded in favor of the yelling bowler, ending Vinod Reddy’s short stay in the middle. Saravanan joined Murugs in the middle at a crucial period and what happened next was a lesson on how to build an innings.

Mighty Partnership
Sarav and Murugs saw through the rest of the session without any damage and did not give any chance for the opposition. The next session started on a sedate note, with Murugs and Sarav rotating the strike at given opportunities. Murugs took the opportunity to score boundaries whenever there was a loose delivery. Sarav, on the other hand was developing roots at the wicket giving nothing away to the bowlers. Before anyone could know, the pair had put on 50 runs for the wicket and the scoreboard was ticking at a good rate. Both Sarav and Murugs were particularly severe on the opposition’s only spinner. Sarav danced down the track and deposited a full toss over square leg for a maximum. Murugs, as he has been throughout the season was very fluent and quickly went past his fifty. Scoring at will in all directions, he had five hits to the boundary and one over it. His lofted boundary over the infield was a treat to watch in particular. Even the best bowler was not spared, as he was effortlessly picked and smacked to the square leg boundary, perhaps the shot of the match. Going for an adventurous swing, Sarav lost his timber to a well-directed straighter delivery. 34 valuable runs contributing to a mammoth partnership of 85 solid runs. A job well done! And at a time when the team needed the most.

Final Score
Vinod walked in next and the cow corner was emptied to accommodate his potential hits. But that was for another day, as he top edged a good length delivery many miles up in the air. It went so high that the fielder backed out, but still managed to get his wicket. How? Another mix-up. Murugs thought there was two, Vinod didn’t. A rare event between the two. Rajiv walked in next to join Murugs. Murugs was caught soon after for a well-made 63. Leading from the front, Murugs stood up for his team and lead them to a respectable total. What a performer! Perhaps a defining innings in his career. Varaprasad walked in next and was gone immediately trying for a non-existent run. Yuvi joined Rajiv in the middle and with the right intentions to add as much runs as possible Rajiv hit out, but unfortunately found the fielder. Storm finishing at 171 with 5 balls to spare.

Initial Attack
With 171 on the board, and considering the strong bowling line up Storm boasted of, it looked like Storm had this one. But, they were very aware of the fact that Wenty Leagues had scored 180+ in their previous outing. Unwilling to give any kind of advantage to the opponents, Storm opened with their tried and tested opening pair – Varaprasad and Yuvi. Prasad came steaming in giving no room for the batsmen, except maybe the one odd short ball which was lofted over cover point for a boundary. Yuvi was making the ball dance at the other end, with the batsmen barely making any contact with the ball. Trying to invent shots, the batsman came down the wicket to cover the swing and loft it over the infield, but was caught smartly at short extra cover by Murugs. A perfect trap! Ram was introduced shortly and the pace that he generated was unplayable. Ram contributed in sending the other opener back as he caught the edge of the bat. Suraj was quick to leap on to the flying delivery. Another great catch by Suraj in the slip cordon. Two wickets down in no time. Rajiv came in to bowl his quick ones. Rajiv maintained an attacking line, but was unlucky as the balls that were hit in the air did not find any fielders.

Sharp Bowling and Sharper Fielding
The bowlers kept a very tight line giving nothing away. Ram was responsible for the next wicket as well inducing the batsman to go big but eventually skying it, which was well caught by Rajiv at covers. The opposition skipper walked in next. Siva was introduced in the attack just before the break and bowled a consistent nagging line to claim the priced wicket of the left hander. It was a typical off-spinner’s wicket, with the ball pitching on middle and off and forcing the batsman to commit the error. The ball took the edge and flew to Suraj who was waiting in the slip cordon. Terrific bowling by Siva! Post the break, Yuvi came in to rattle the opposition by taking three quick wickets. The first one came in to catch the opposition skipper plumb in front. The second one was lucky or rather controversial as the ball seemed to brush the thigh pad of the batsman on the way to Padma Siva’s waiting gloves. A loud appeal raised the umpire’s finger and jubilation followed. An attacking field was placed for the next man in and it worked. A low cover drive was smartly plucked inches before it hit the ground by Roshit standing at short covers. Storm’s dominance prevailed for the remainder of the game. The fielding was top notch from Storm, as no extra runs were being leaked.

Final Blow
There was a bit of resistance by the next pair. They did not try anything fancy and were trying to negotiate the good deliveries and score off the bad ones. Murugs came to break that. The batsman hit one straight up in the air, comfortably collected by Roshit at mid-on. Murugs almost got another one but a simple skier was put down by Roshit at long on. But Siva ensured there was not going to be any surprises by cleaning him up. A well-directed low full toss slow in the air cleaned him up. The last pair was conservative in their approach, perhaps opting to play out the entire 40 overs. But it wasn’t going to be the case, as Vinod Reddy came in to bowl. A low full toss was scooped by the batsman to Suraj at mid-on. With that, Storm comfortably pocketed the match and by a comfortable margin of 69 runs.

A Good Game
A good start in the beginning and an even greater partnership in the middle ensured Storm had a good total to put pressure from ball one. The fielding unit came to party by not conceding anything on the field, except for the one drop chance. The bowling unit breathed fire and demolished the opposition with razor sharp accuracy.

Summary Scorecard

Player of the match – Sarav (for his match defining partnership with Murugs)