Better than the world record chase
The second game against them was in the MOCL start. This time too we batted first and we lost because of our misfieldings. There was this opener from India who is fatter than Inzamam and plays cross bat. We somehow made him go for his half century and that proved costly. Bukari was out the first ball he faced which was a record for our team UKCC coz he never got out in the first ball.
The third game was the worst. It was in our division 1 game against them. By this time we had developed into a great team. We had good totals and great bowling too. We were pretty confident to finish this losing spree against KCC once and for all. Unfortunately we were over confident. KCC dint have Malik play this game. But they brought in the fast bowler Aditya. This guy looks walks, bats, runs, and bowls and does everything exactly like Agarkar. The one major difference between him and Agarkar is that Agarkar is the “Lord of the Rings” (too many ‘0’s) whereas this guy is good with his batting. We were around 50 odd for 3 at the end of 14 overs. But we were all out for 86 at the end of 27 overs. He bowled great. We lost that game heavily. After this game our performance in the forthcoming games too receded.
Fortunately our previous wins made us have a better run rate. We lost against GDCC through Duckworth Lewis system. Yet we made into the semis coz of our run rate. We had to play against KCC.
Now here comes the fun part. We started to have longer sessions in our practices for the game against KCC. We had decided to stick on to one team. No more changes in the 13. Whoever comes to the practice gets a chance in the game. Keeping the fact that we had lost thrice with KCC we decided to practice hard.
The day came. We had to go to Cincinnati for the semis against KCC. This time there were two neutral umpires. We won the toss and keeping the fact that we lost heavily against KCC in the previous game we decided to chase. The weather was good. Sunny and also blessing. Nitin and Malik were the openers. They played real sensible this time. They were 50 for no loss at the end of first break (12 overs). Then they decided to go for the kill. Nitin scored 26 runs in a single over against Laka. That’s how the flooding of runs started. Nitin was dropped of a tough catch by Mohit in deep cover. Rohan dropped twice of Malik in Long off. Nitin and Malik had their half centuries. Finally we had a break through using the sole weak point of Nitin. His cover drive failed and it was a low fast catch by our Captain Dinesh Pupalla. The score was 148 for 1. Then came in the slogging middle order. Malik scored 86, Bukari 30 odd and the first down guy 30 odd. Naved came in at the last overs and scored 40 runs from 15 balls. Our bowling was haywire. The final bowling figures were Dinesh Pupalla gave 43 runs. Prageeth, Rohan and Akshar gave 50. Laka 38 in 2 overs. Dinesh reddy and Sreeram gave 12 and 28. Manju was the one bowler who had decent figures. But he had cramps all over his right leg. Oh I forgot to mention, the hard and long practice sessions this time screwed up the team big time with loads of injuries. Prageeth and Rohan had back pain. Manju and Dinesh Pupalla had a bad foot. Laka had a fever. Akshar was sleepless. The one guy who looked really fit was Ashwin our Wicket keeper. I saved a couple of runs by diving to my left at the end overs and 2 boundaries by sliding towards the rope. I was fielding at point. Though I saved runs I wasn’t happy with the teams bowling. It was horrible. These guys had bats like springs. They hit the ball slightly and it was enough to take the ball out of the ropes. They had 13 sixes and 16 boudaries.
Though we gave up lots of runs in the first session we were pretty confident that we can chase the total. It was Prageeth and Dinesh who went in as openers. Prageeth was seeing the ball like an UFO. He was hitting fours and also was rotating strike. Dinesh too started good. He never went for 3 runs. But this time he took all the risk. He mistimed the shot and the fielder in Long off some how got hold of the ball. Manju came in. We requested Bukari a by runner since he saw the state of Manju while he bowled. But Bukari said that he wont give a by runner and that Manju should feel the game. These two guys made some good runs mostly by running hard and taking risks. Prageeth still saw the ball well and was going for it like hell. But a miscall and misunderstanding between Manju and Prageeth costed Prageeth’s wicket. Bukari again the fielder who had a direct hit from covers.
Laka went in with the fever. He had just one thing in his mind. He gave 26 runs in a single over and so wanted to play good. He being the Emperor of Offside had some delicate shots and cuts and went to his 20s soon. One mistimed shot and that costed his wicket. At the end of the first drinks session we were 55 for 3 in 12 overs. After drinks weather changed to cloudy. Fearing Duckworth Lewis system Bukari brought himself and Naved spinner to bowl the 8 overs for D & L to work. Ashwin was the supporter for Manju at that time. This gave Ashwin to settle down pretty good. Manju because of his cramps was runout at the 20th over. Before this Prageeth said that if they don’t give a by runner for Manju then they are gonna lose this game coz of their Karma.
Mohit was sent in when it was 80 odd for 4 with Ashwin in the crease. After the second drinks break the equation was 13 runs per over for 11 overs. This was when the fun began.
Ashwin had his first six in his life. It was a sweep shot of Naved. Then that over himself and Mohit scored 18 runs. 10 overs and 118 runs. The pair hit 14 runs. On the pavilion we were turning into jumping jacks. Laka was hitting the cooler with sticks. Some of us were hitting bottles. Prageeth doing the typical srilankan dance. Capi yelling Bahut Aala (urdu for good shot taken from KCC team). The next 5 overs we saw a flury of runs from our batsmen on the crease. Majority of the runs came from the on side. The opponent team had 5 players covering the on side with 4 on the ropes. We started to see the tension among ourselves and the fury among the two captains in KCC. Bukari and Malik were fighting over everything ranging from fielding and who’s supposed to bowl.
Ashwin got out by a nick to the keeper. When he was out the equation was 5 overs 48 runs. He made 46 in 34 balls. That was a great performance. We dint even think about counting Mohit’s score.
Priyan was sent in. This guy is a very sensible player who keeps his head cool in most situations. He is a very sluggish runner coz of his Punjabi food made by bhabiji with loads of ghee. Mohit was still hitting the ball like hell whereas Priyan doing his job great by giving the strike to Mohit. There was even a time in which Priyan had to defend the ball so that Mohit can bat next over. This ended because of Priyans sluggishness in running. He was run out.
The equation 8 balls 11 runs. Single by Akshar. Last over 10 runs required. We are not supposed to make it to the finals even if we drew the game. Single by Akshar. 4 by Mohit, 6 of four required. Dot ball. 6 of 3. Four by Mohit coz of an edge behind the keeper. 2 of 2. Mohit lost his confidence in going for a couple and so went for a lofted shot. Went towards long on in a projectile way. It had the power to go near the ropes. The fielder was Bukari there. It was slightly higher to his right shoulder. He watched where the ropes were. We were holding our hearts in our mouths. Bukari went for the ball. It hit his hands and whoop……. The ball popped out of his hands and fell outside the ropes. A six and UKCC won. We ran like being chased by a wild bull and jumped over Mohit. His face filled with angry accomplishment. Mohit scored 136 of 64 balls. That was humungus.
After the spectacular celebration we were given the color shirts and pants for the finals. We are going to play the finals in front of a crowd of 250 in a country where cricket is a game unknown. Its going to be telecasted live to the Dayton public and the game is going to be presided over by Chanderpaul and is gonna be re telecasted in ESPN3. After the winning run around the ground we made some heavy comments about the opponents such as did u “feel the game” when they said it to Manju when he got out coz of his cramps.
We had a short party in Buffalo Wild Wings. Some of the team had beer and the rest had great food. We rode in Prageeth’s van and chatted about the game during the entire trip back to Lexington. The next day all we saw in our yahoo mails were congratulations from ex team members from the yahoo groups. The partying mood still goes in. We are going to play against GDCC in finals on the 9th of September.
The main logo in our yahoo groups now is Letz kick some GDCC ass and bring the cup home.