Asad has already let the cat out of the bag, but yes, victory is ours,
proceed to the Grand Final and the A-division next year. Promotion was our
biggest goal for the year, so we should be able to just go out and have
fun in the final. If we play relaxed and error free we should win the big
shiny trophy. Any volunteers to house a 3 ft tall plastic
black/gold/purple monstrosity should we win the final?
In a most extraordinary turn of events we were inserted to bat by the
opposition for the second week running, a decision they were soon to
regret. Gillen and I opened and set the tone with quick singles to push
them onto the defensive from about the second over. Gillen however got
either a great ball or very bad luck - the off spinner who opened moved
one the other way to pitch on off and hit Gillen's off stump. I asked the
bowler, but he didn't seem to offer any explanation, so my feeling is that
it hit something under the mat... As it was Kabir came in and is in great
form. He and I put on 97 at better than a run a ball, and after scoring my
first 50 for Columbia I was caught at long-on with the score at 131/2 off
21 overs, with Kabir already on 50. Faisal was also in great touch and the
two of them put on 130 together scoring even quicker. A reverse sweep from
Faisal was executed to perfection, and at this point Sussex looked the old
team that they are, and their confidence was so dented that none of them
could even pick up a ball cleanly. Kabir was finally out for 109, the
third league centurion of the year, 3 more bats. Robyn came in at 240/3 to
accelerate the scoring! Faisal was out in the penultimate over for an
excellent 78, and Robyn scored 33* off 20 balls to take us to 308/4 from
the 40 overs. Wonderful stuff - 53/1 after 10 overs, 125/1 off 20, 188/2
off 30, 308 off 40 - I cannot imagine a better constructed innings. Why,
oh why did they put us in?
Needing 7.5 per over, Sussex were clearly going to have to hit alot
boundaries - they would never remotely approach our speed between the
wickets (they did not run a 3, we ran 8 3s and an all run 4). However,
they did start reasonably well taking 75 from the first 10 for one wicket
(Haseeb and Dhruv not in their best form - next week will be different),
but there were alot of balls in the air, so it was a matter of defending
the boundaries and waiting for the ball to be hit to us. Unfortunately we
had dropped 4 catches by 15 over drinks, and they were 113/2. The captain
was not impressed. We must hold those catches to win the final. Of course
the spinners did the job as usual, Kabir taking 2 good catches at long-off
as expected. Prabhu took 4 and Faisal 2 to destroy any chances of a run
chase. The tail went fairly meekly and we dismissed them for 217 to win by
91 runs. Grand Final, A-division, here we come.
CUCC 308/4 (Kabir 109, Faisal 78, Ed 56)
Sussex 217 all out (Prabhu 4/40, Faisal 2/47, Ed 2/36)
MoM Kabir, 109 + 2 vital catches
The good news is that we made it through to the semi-final, beating
by 125 runs. The only down side was a slight altercation after Gillen took
a fantastic catch that they disputed simply beacause they had lost the
game at that point. They threatened to leave the pitch, and a stream of
spectators poured onto the pitch in aggressive mood. The fact that both
umpires gave the batsman out didn't seem to affect them. Idiots. Why people can't show a little dignity after a dismissal is beyond me.
Bizzarrely we were inserted by the opposition, the only time this season
think. I can only imagine that this reflects their lack of confidence in
Sridhar and I put on 55 off the first 10 overs running the singles
aggressivley, then I knicked one behind for 22 to bring in Gillen.
Excellent catches accounted for Sridhar (36) and Gillen (11), but Kabir
and Andrew settled in well to get us up to about 150 off 28. Andrew (16)
was fired out again LBW by Sanko, at least the 3rd time this season.
Faisal (16) was also the recipient of a dodgy LBW with a bottom edge, but
whilst trying to sweep off middle stump. Kabir top scored with 79, Robyn
hit some balls hard with 22, and Dhruv did well to get us up to 249 all
out (Madhura run out without facing for a diamond duck).
Dhruv is back, which is good news for the semi-final. He got the opener
second ball (apparently a good batsman), then the other opener in the next
over, and the #4 next ball LBW. #5 survived the hat-trick ball, just, but
Dhruv made him look terrible as he couldn't get a bat on most deliveries.
Eventually Dhruv got his man to finish with an excellent 4-37 from his 8
overs. Madhura and Sridhar had been economical enough at the other end.
Power went in to drinks at 15 overs at 77/4. The next 2 guys were the
only ones to demonstrate any batting ability, taking the score up over
100. Faisal then came on to clean up the tail. The #6 who had scored 20 at
better than a run a ball smacked Faisal out to deep square, but straight
to Gillen who took a good catch down by his knees, rolled over, held up
the ball and threw it into the air. The catch was clean as a whistle, and
the batsman was walking off the field, knowing he was out, but several of
the stupid, possibly drunken, spectators tried to claim that the catch was
not taken cleanly. Tempers frayed, there was much shouting and pushing,
mainly surrounding Madhura who happened to be nearest the benches. After
both batsmen walked off with the threat of not continuing, eventually
they realised that 140 runs behind, if they didn't carry on their season
was over. The other batsman must have been flustered because he was
stumped 2 balls later. They had nothing left after that, but Gillen took
another Spectacular catch off Prabhu's bowling. Running around from long
off he dived full length and stuck out his right hand and plucked it an
inch off the ground. All out 124 with Faisal taking another five-fer bag.
CUCC 249 all out (Kabir 79)
Power 124 all out (Faisal 5-20 Dhruv 4-37)
Rayco duly routed. The thing that annoys me is people who don't know the laws of the game that they are playing. The thing that really annoys me is when they umpire at square leg and justify the fact that they do not give out a batsman by saying thay don't know the law. Matters are made worse when they, their teammates, and their supporters all try and argue the case with the umpire when they are absolutely wrong, and won't even accept the umpires decision.
Rayco 180 all out
Sunday was a mundane 9 wicket victory vs Khyber - probably 2nd from
bottom in the B division table.
Good bowling from Haseeb 2/30 Faisal 2/15 and Prabhu. Kabir 2/2 Edwards 3/25, an excellent run out by Faisal. 102
Sridhar 65 not out including six 4s in one over (that was their best bowler), Andrew 30 out trying to hit a 6 to win the
game, Gillen 4 off one ball to win the game (what was it Bradman used to say about keeping the ball on the ground?).
Finished before 4pm, not very useful practice before the Rayco game, but good to see Haseeb back to better form - 2
gloved behind off QUICK balls.
Kyber 102 all out
CUCC 103/1 (Sridhar 65*)
This is a new strip at Soundview, and clearly needs a little work -
there are about 40 trees within the boundary, one
at backward square on the single! However, most of them are only just inside to be fair and they didn't come into
play much; one catch to Robyn was deflected away, and a full blooded hook by Faisal came to rest about 20 yards
from the bat...
None of this however contributed to our second loss of the season. Hopefully we can get our acts together for the
playoffs and get back the desire we had in early season.
Sussex won the toss and decided to bat, and we got the early breakthrough we wanted - the first ball from Dhruv was
edged and Sridhar took a fairly straight forward catch at first slip. Still nothing is easy at slip and that makes it 2 in a
few weeks for Sridhar which is great. I think with 10 catches Sridhar may be making a good run at the fielding
trophy. He lived up to that with 2 more great catches, the second running back from 1st slip in Haseeb's next over to
leave them at 1/2, and another running catch at deep midwicket. This was to be a false dawn for several reasons.
Several of their batsmen were late, so that while 1/2 is great, it didn't really mean as much as we thought, and again
maybe complacency was an issue. Also we didn't hold all of our catches, 2 pretty simple ones going down which
really cost us. With Gillen, Kabir, Robyn, Andrew taking catches along with Sridhar's 3 we did hold on to quite a
few, but we must eliminate the simple errors. The boundaries were quite short and a few balls went over the top with
their lower order doing some lusty hitting, some thing Columbia has never been able to do - we simply don't have
those kind of players - which hurts us at times. Sridhar, Prabhu, and Faisal all bowled well but couldn't make enough
breakthroughs at vital times. They were all out for 233 with Sridhar deservedly taking the final wicket after 2
dropped catches and 2 through vacant 1st slip, and Edwards 5/54 - his second consecutive Michelle.
In between innings I was stung by a wasp - the swelling is just going down. This turned out to be an omen. The
umpire also had a sting in his finger... Turns out I may be allergic to wasp stings - if I get stung at a match please get
me to hospital ASAP.
With the short boundaries and quick outfield we should have knocked off the runs, but a combination of bad running
and bad umpiring did for us. Sridhar and Andrew started well before a bad call from Sridhar saw Andrew stranded.
Sridhar was batting very well though and moved the score along to 70 with Gillen before Gillen was also run out,
called through for a quick single, with the fielder making a direct hit. Then followed 2 of the worst LBW decisions
I've ever seen. Kabir 2 steps down the track playing to leg, and Uday with a beautiful full stride forward defensive.
When Sridhar holed out to deep square we were in serious trouble at 110/5. However, most teams don't have a Robyn
and a Fasial at 6 and 7, and they kept us up with the rate playing good strokes. We needed about 70 off 10 with 5
wickets left and even from there should have made a better effort, but it was not to be. Robyn was undone by low
bounce, but wasn't really in position, Faisal was caught between the trees at deep midwicket going for the boundary
we needed of every over, and Prabhu was surprised by a snorter which nearly knocked him off his feet, to be
stumped. The tail of Haseeb, Edwards and Dhruv (with a pulled muscle) couldn't take us through and we ended up
about 35 short.
Mental mistakes in the field and batting combined with bad umpiring at both ends (a stumping and a run out were not
given from square leg) cost us dear. Also batsmen making 30-40 need to go on more often to 80-100.
Sussex 233 all out (Edwards 5/54 Sridhar 3 catches)
CUCC 200 all out (Sridhar 53, Faisal 40)
Yousaf Memorial (aka Hello Pakistan) have not improved with their name
change. I was a little worried when we went into the game without Gillen,
Faisal, Prabhu, Andrew, especially with our defeat last week, but we were
really in control for the whole game.
I lost the toss for the first time for weeks, so we were condemned to fielding first. Not so bad - it wasn't so hot as recent weeks. there was even some rain in the morning to clear the air (which also meant that we had the bizzarre privalage of being the only game in the whole of VCP - all the other teams cried off at the sight of a few drops at 11:00am). Haseeb and Dhruv bowled better than last week, but still need to find their earlier form for the playoffs. Their opener was a slogger who managed to either just miss the ball completely, or smack a few boundaries before being sent back to the hutch. The No. 3 almost caused a major diplomatic incident as he gloved a great delivery from Dhruv, and Geoff took the catch diving forward. The batsman walked off very slowly, then stopped by the square leg umpire, who proceeded to tell Sanko that Geoof had not taken the catch cleanly - an absolute lie (I was fielding at short leg - clean as a whistle). Sanko made the mistake of hedging, then had to give the batsman not out with the benefit of doubt. Much shouting followed, including (according to the batsmen) some rather colourful language from Uday. Warnings were issued, bats were pointed, there was much pushing and shouting, followed by a pitch invasion from the Yousaf supporters and players. When the match continued Haseeb soon had the guy caught behind to many an enquiry of "did he catch that one?" They didn't have much batting after that and were dismissed for 185, about 100 runs short of a decent score on that pitch. Atif, Sridhar and Madhura all bowled pretty well with no luck - Atif must have bowled 4 consecutive deliveries that missed the stumps by half and inch. Edwards, after a very lean run, had the fortune to bag 5 scalps. Amazing what happens when you bowl straight... Good catches in the deep by Kabir, Haseeb, and Atif.
There must have been something in the air this week, because it was to continue to be Edwards' day. As an emergency opener alongside Sridhar, a partnership of 70 was soon rattled up, well ahead of the scoring rate and we pretty much cruised from there, although Uday was run out, Kabir edged the spinner, and Jay and Dhruv managed to get themselves out. Unfortunately Edwards missed his maiden half century for the club by 3 runs, but Robyn batted beatifully again for 55 not out. I think that makes nearly 200 runs in 4 inns for twice out, a very healthy average, and exactly what is needed in the middle order. Geoff came in to see us home with a confident 25* - a good team performance to win by 4 wickets. It was great to see runs coming from varied sources in the team - we can't rely on Uday, Gillen and Kabir every game. Of course it was also great to see two Englishmen top scoring for Columbia - a rare day indeed (don't even mention the test match).
Yousaf 185 all out (Edwards 5/30)
CUCC 186/6 (Robyn 55* Edwards 47)
Dare I say MoM Edwards? Geoff agreed!
Perhaps it was a little complacency creeping in, but we managed to lose
defending a total of 292 to suffer our first defeat of the season. We did
absolutely nothing wrong batting first to rattle up 292/4 in admittedly
batsman friendly conditions (flat track, quick outfield). Everybody scored
runs: Atul 40, Uday 95, Gillen 60, Kabir 40, Robyn 40*.
To their credit, after chasing leather for 40 overs in the hot sun, they batted pretty well, and had a much better depth of batting lineup than we have seen for a while. Our opening bowlers lacked the discipline and penetration of recent weeks, and the field placings may have been a little aggressive to start with (we were defending 292 after all), so they got off to a flyer. Unfortunately they just carried on, even with the field set back, and although we took wickets at a steady rate, the tailenders that I was expecting to appear after No. 6 never materialsed. Even the number 10 played some good looking shots - unheard of in this league. Quite a few hard chances were dropped including a mix up at square leg with 3 fielders going for the same ball, but I thnk that reflected the general lack of concentration from the team. Sanko (the umpire) was disgusted with us (rightly so) as we lost with 8 balls to go
CUCC 292/4 (Uday 95, Gillen 60)
Alot of shouting, alot of arguing, alot of lazy fat bastardness, followed by alot of rain, and alot of bad cricket in the friendly game that followed all adds up to a no result and the points split. We beat them in the 25 over friendly on a wet mat by 110 runs (they had 4 run outs in their innings) which I think proves a point. We were 75/1 off 16 when the thunderstorms came.
Excuse the typos - my hand is still ringing from the catch...
The bizarre fixture scheduling continued with the rubber game of the season series against Long Island. We won the toss twice after pointing out which side of the 1 Franc coin was in fact heads (the first bugger in 2 years to call tails), a fact greeted with jubilation and wild dancing on a hot day. We would bat.
The outfield was like lightning and the track was great for batting,
so a score of at least 275 was the initial target. Rarely has Columbia
fielded a top 6 of this strength all the way down the order. It must have
been devastating for LI to get Gillen and Faisal to see Kabir and Uday
(125 against them last week) walk in.
Sridhar carried on from where he left off and Atul looked stylish again. Unfortunately Sridhar smacked a long hop to cover, and Atul was undone for the second time by a yorker. But it was clear that alot of runs would be scored, anything past a fielder was gone, and we were already scoring at over 5 an over. Faisal looked to be returning to early season form with some cracking cover drives and Gillen failed to get to 50. They both perished caught in the same over, but this brought Kabir and Uday together. They cracked the ball around, and we were soon applauding the 300! Prabhu took us though to the close with Haseeb the only batsman not to score (1 ball faced). 331/6. Geoff was batting at No. 10.
Now came the exciting batting! After their opener was run out 2nd ball (crazy calling), the left handed No. 3 came in smashing the ball all over the ground. He had a great eye and smacked anything slightly off the stumps, but it is soul destroying for the bowlers to see edges go for 4 or even 6 over point. He was applauded for his 50 in the 4th over off 15 balls! The field spread. Edwards had 0/35 from 2 overs followed by a wicket maiden (not bowled to the left hander...). Spin was introduced and did not tame the fiend, but the ball was in the air alot. Finally he clubbed a Faisal full toss to Edwards at long on which barely got above head high. Fortunately the catch was held at the cost of a small amount of pain, and essentially the game was won. LI seem to be unable to play Fasial and he was denied a second 5-fer bag of the season by Madhura's dropped catch. The fielding award is "drifting away like a dandelion clock in the wind" according to Gillen (the main contender). Prabhu, perhaps unlucky not to get a wicket, was replaced by Haseeb who was now bowling with pretty good pace. No. 8 was bowled, then the new batsman played an expansive drive to a half volley. A flashing edge was flying towards 1st slip, and though Geoff did his best to get in the way, Sridhar calmly pouched a great catch at 1st slip, the first genuine slip catch in the league side for 2 years.
CUCC 331/6 ( Atul 30 Faisal 65 Gillen 40 Uday 80 Kabir 50)
LICC 180 all out (Faisal 4/55 Haseeb 3/35 Edwards 3-1-35-1)
We returned to the scene of our most famous triumph of last year hoping
keep up the momentum for the year, and for a decent game of cricket. They
had only lost one game (maybe) and their asphalt track may cause some
problems. Of course crushing the bat wielding shouters of Long Island
would also be welcome. They were duly crushed.
It was a good toss to win on a hot day, but the sea breeze at least
feeling pleasant enough. Their opening bowler is reasonably quick and on
this bouncy track bowls as well as most in our division. However, Uday and
Atul (making his debut in place of The Slug) started stylishly. Runs were
coming at a good rate until Atul was undone by a good yorker for a well
constructed 15. Gillen and Uday continued the good work - I don't think
the run rate was ever below 5/over after the first 4 overs. Gillen
actually beat Uday to his 50 including a large smote over backward square
for 6. Uday was soon hitting top gear too, and accelerated to his first
ton for the club, the first 100 of the year in the club I think. By the
time Gillen was given caught behind down the leg side off the pads for 77,
there were only 10 overs left and 200 on the board. Kabir got another
dodgy LBW, Sridhar and Faisal pushed the score along with Uday, and Prabhu
Dhruv and Geoff took us to 270/7 at stumps. The outfield was large and
pretty quick so it was not a huge score. One more Lara tree trunk in the
coffers for next year - well batted Uday (something like 300 runs in 5
Dhruv was not feeling well (he didn't mention this to the skipper until
after his spell, an admirable policy), and Haseeb was returning from
Pakistan, so it was not our best opening spell of the year. Fortunately,
Haseeb picked up one of the openers from a leading edge off a full toss,
then Dhruv bowled the other opener who was their only half decent looking
batsman. Having been hit for 3 fours in the over, Dhruv triumphantly
pointed him back to the pavillion with a "try hitting that one you
****er". Good to see fire in the belly of the opener. No.s 3 and 4 offered
contrasting styles - #3 kept running down the pitch and slogging over
midwicket, #4 (Green Helmet) barely moved and seemed to feel an odd sense
of victory whilst batting out maidens (they needed 8/over at this stage so
this may not have been a winning policy). Prabhu eventually got #s 3, 5
and 6, with Edwards highly unpenatrative at the other end. Geoff completed
2 (maybe 3 ) stumpings, smartly whipping off the bails (stumps ending up 5
yards away), although with the batsmen yards down the pitch they won't be
his toughest ever. Sridhar and Faisal duly wraped up the tail, Green Helmet
scoring a scorching 20 from 25 overs, and we beat the beach traffic home.
Another excellent all round team performance.
CUCC 270/7 (Uday 120, Gillen 77)
LICC 130 all out (Prabhu 3/30 Faisal 3/8)
Another league game, another weak opposition, another
win. The B division this year was supposed to be a step up, or at least
a more consistent decent standard. Not so, at least so far. We must guard
against complacency of course - for some reason we have done far worse
in the second half of the league season for the last 3 years.
Perhaps we are actually playing better this year. Dhruv and Haseeb have bowled exceptionally well, and Uday, Kabir and Gillen have all scored good runs. All we can do is keep winning. The 2 teams in the final will be promoted.
And so to the game, with a brief mention of the excellent Aus win, although I think even the Aussies were expecting more from a talented Pakistan side. Still, they look good for the future, if they find a captain to take over after Wasim.
We started at 2:00 so the game was reduced to 35 overs. Fortunately I won the toss and chose to bat. Uday and Andrew shared an excellent opening partnership with Uday scoring 31, extras 1 before Andrew got one through point for his scoring shot of the day. The score had reached 40 before Andrew snicked a leg glance which the keeper made good ground to for a good catch. Most times you'll get away with that. Uday was growing in confidence with shots all around the wicket, and he and Gillen moved the score along briskly to about 80/1 at 15 over drinks. The run rate continued to improve as their bowlers tired and their ground fielding fell apart. Wickets were falling, but Uday held everything togther with a great 77. Sridhar, Robyn, and Prabhu all made contributions, and a 20 partnership from the last 2 overs between Dhruv and Edwards saw us to a pretty decent 214 from the 35 overs.
I would not have been supremely confident that we would defend that score on a quick outfield, and a good track, if we had been playing last years Suprwings team. However, with the way they bowled and fielded, it was clear that they were not the same team.
Dhruv is quite the strike bowler this year and again took 3 wickets in his opening spell. The inswing to the right handers clearly has them rattled, and Dhruv has hit the stumps alot more this year than last which probably reflects a better length he is bowling. Against the left handers (there were 5 in the suprwings team) there were so many balls going past the outside edge it was rediculous. At least 10 in 5 overs. Two bowled by Dhruv, and 2 catches by Kabir, combined with 2 run outs, one from Dhruv, and from Edwards, and the game was effectively over.
Both of the run out batsmen were involved in the very unsporting running 2 when a throw had hit the non-striker trying to make his ground. Unsporting and clearly bad karma - one was run out by Edwards from short leg whilst standing a foot out of his crease, the other at the non-strikers end by a fingertip touch from Dhruv.
One unfortunate Spurwing managed to get his face in the way of a lifter from Edwards putting his tooth through his lip, and blood all over the mat. Messy bugger. He did come back as last man which is pretty gutsy. At the cost of a few sixes to the short boundary, Madhura, Prabhu, Sridhar and Andrew tidied up the tail with a wicket apiece, Geoff with a smart stumping off Andrew.
And so, sadly, this did not turn out to be the grudge match we were hoping for in order to gain revenge for the 2 defeats last year. Apparently 3 of their best players have left the club.
CUCC 214/8 (Uday 77)
Spurwings 104 all out (Dhruv 3/10)
I'm writing this report so promptly on Monday morning not because I
especially diligent but for fear that all memory of this game would
evaporate (mercifully) if I left it too long.
Our opposition, the Friendship cricket team, was neither
particularly friendly nor a cricket team by any reasonable standard of
that description. Indeed, they were, aside from one good cricketer, as
pathetic a rabble as it's been my misfortune to encounter in five years of
cricket in New York.
Losing the toss was my one contribution to the day's proceeding.
The oh-so "friendly" opposition captain walked away without so much as a
word, and treated my inquiry about his intentions as an imposition.
Predictably they chose to bat (in the loose sense of the word). The tone
of the day was set when Dhruv beat the friendly left hand opener eight
times in two overs (I counted), then grabbed a spectacular one handed
return catch from the other - a true Inspector Gadget leap skywards which,
it can safely be said, no-one else in the club would have got near.
The highlight of the day followed when the friendly no.3, who
began well with some solid defense and a good-looking clip of his toes
through mid-wicket, faced the rampant Groovster. In true Glenn McGrath
fashion, Dhruv set the little fellow up with a nasty lifter off his gloves
followed by a glorious inswinging yorker which took the leg stump. A
beautiful piece of bowling - who says brains and fast bowling don't mix?!
(well, I do actually)
The less said about the rest of the day the better. Madhura bowled
steadily and Prabhu cast his customary spell over the lower order. Some
excitement suggested itself when Geoff was denied a stumping and two
catches in quick succession and began stamping about in mid-pitch
and waving his gloves in the air. This unusual display was soon over,
however, whereupon Geoff lapsed into his habitual muttering and kicking of
the VCP dirt.
The final ignominy came when Prabhu bowled the friendly no.10
BETWEEN his legs. Walking off the field, Madhura and I agreed to retire
from the game if ever either of us were dismissed in that fashion.
Uday and Andrew batted with true professionalism against the
rabble's opening attack, putting on a cool 70. Inder, perhaps giddy at his
surprise elevation to no.3, missed a straight one second ball. We lost a
few more meaningless wickets before Prabhu, his usual circumspection
diminished by the consumption of several beers, spanked a couple of his
trademark square cuts to the boundary and the agony was over.
In the last 4 weeks the league team has had a rain out followed by
matches in which the opposition has scored 77, 57 and 113 respectively.
There is some danger of our going soft. We face our arch nemesis Spur
Wings next week and I would ask members of the league team to shrug off
perfectly natural feelings of complacency and prepare for some more
challenging cricket. We MUST beat Spur Wings.
The Pathetic Rabble 113 (Dhruv 3/24, Prabhu 4/39)
CUCC Juggernaut 4/116 (Andrew 50 ret., Uday 33)
Columbia win by six wickets
p.s. Congratulations to Andrew Sewell on his maiden half-century for
club. An attractive, chanceless knock.
Gillen (Thanks for Coming) Wood
Lesly's idea of interleague play didn't quite pan
out the way I had hoped. After a potential tie against a premier division
team slipped away, I accepted a game against what I was led to believe
was A division opposition - Majestics. Of course if the schedule not had
us playing a team we had already beaten none of this would have been necessary.
After learning that they were a C division team, discernable from their opening attack, they were duly routed. Uday opened the batting and scored a steady 50, his first for the club. Gillen scored a majestic 78 off about 45 balls (we moved from 100 to 150 in 17 balls...). Kabir, Dhruv and Haseeb all chipped in to a total of 269.
From the moment their opener argued that the first ball of their innings had gone for 4 byes simply because he hadn't run, and didn't want to look stupid (thereby making himself look a complete idiot), they were never going to get close. Dhruv then bowled Stupid for a duck and had everybody in trouble. For the second week running Haseeb bowled much better after being threatened with removal from the attack, and has taken 7/22 in 16 overs in the last 2 games! Asad was a little stuttery, but took 2 wickets, Edwards was economical (for a change). At the 20 over water break they were 50/5.
The introduction of leg spin changed things dramatically. After being smacked for 4 third ball, Prabhu then took 4/2 in 9 balls. From 50/5 to 57 allout. Sanko, the umpire, suggested that we ask them to follow on as they were 212 behind.
Their most talkative batsman had gold teeth that stuck out at all sorts of weird angles, and thought that batting out maidens was great batting. The No. 11 was about 5 foot 2 inches tall, and 100 lbs, but insisted on using a 3lb 4oz bat with the result that he couldn't even catch up with Prabhu's slower ball. I pointed out the incongruity to him, but he proudly told me that if he ever managed to hit a ball it would stay hit. Fair enough (ask Madhura about the Yale game last year).
CUCC 269/9 (Gillen 78, Uday 55)
Majestics 57 all out (Haseeb 3/10, Prabhu 4/6)
After the usual three fixture changes during the
week, we ended up taking the matting out to Flushing to host Pure Unadulterated
Players CC. Fortunately we were many miles from the Pet Parade, and those
of the rat/bat/cat eaten mat will have to wait to play us.
It was a beautiful day for cricket, and, wonders to behold, both teams were ready to play at 1pm. I lost the toss and was asked to go out in the midday sun. Mad dogs would have been proud of us, for we fielded like demons. Three stupendous catches, a run out, and some excellent bowling added up to the best performance in the field I have ever seen from Columbia (not that we can't do better next week, two dropped catches and a fluffed run out were the only blemishes).
Dhruv started down the hill, and after a very wide wide, got us rolling with the first legal ball, a big inswinger that was perhaps a little lucky to be deflected onto the stumps off the openers back foot. No luck 3 balls later with the #3 bowled by a great inswinging yorker. PUPs 1/2 after 1 over. This allowed us to keep the pressure on with a close field all through their innings (rarely have we had two gulleys in the 25th over). Sridhar started up the fairly steep slope, bowling well enough to find a genuine edge through 2nd slip for the first runs off the bat. In his second over the ball looped off a leading edge - Gillen charged from gulley, threw himself full stretch, and managed to scoop up the ball one handed inches from the ground for the first wonderful catch of the day. Haseeb and Atif then bowled well, but without luck, Atif esepcially. Edges were flying, but their No. 5 was driving well through the covers for 3 boundaries.
After I had told Haseeb that his 4th over would be his last, his pace increased notably. Their No. 5 was batting well, and he rocked back to smash a pull. Unfortunately for him, there was a flying Edwards to pluck a one handed catch from the sky at midwicket, to the surprise of many, including himself. At about 40/4 PUPs were down, but Haseeb proceeded to apply the killer touch, taking three more wickets in his spell. One was a great reflex catch by Uday at short extra cover, smashed at him from a full toss. A run out from Madhura to Haseeb, a top edge catch off Madhura's off spin caught at point, and a gloved catch to Sridhar at slip off Edwards completed the rout. PUPs all out 77.
The pitch was not the easiest to bat on with slightly uneven bounce, and the outfield grass was long, but we were never in danger of losing. Unfortunately Uday managed to get a little too far across and lost his leg stump to the opening left armer, and Sridhar hit a full toss straight to midwicket. Gillen and Kabir saw us to within sight of victory before Gillen was bowled attempting the glory slog over the trees, Mushtaq lost his off stump playing defensively, and Kabir retired hurt with a strained hamstring. Geoff and Haseeb put together a magnificent unbroken partnership of 1 off 1 ball to win the game.
PUPs 77 all out (Dhruv 2/10 Haseeb 4/25)
CUCC 78/4 (Gillen 30 Kabir 30no)
I was concerned that some of our own players, notably those of Pakistani extraction would be late on Sunday - there were at least 5 of our team breakfasting on the finest curry in town that morning. Apparently there was relative comfort viewing the 48 inch screen, and alloo parathas washed down with much Pakistani enthusiasm and ultimate victory, suited the mood well.
However, we had the full compliment of players ready to play at 12:50. I was impressed, although Kabir may not have been so impressed with Robyn's driving as he weaved through the Henry Hudson traffic to get there on time...
Unfortunately the opposition were still nowhere to
be seen. They finally turned up at 1:15, whereupon I informed them that
they had forfeited the toss, and we would bat. The umpire told them that
they would receive the number of overs that they had bowled by 4 o'clock,
as per league rules. This news was not well received. There was much shouting.
There were of course excuses:
1) We couldn't find a parking spot ("I don't care")
2) We normally play Guyanese teams that are always late ("we are neither Guyanese nor late")
3) we started at 1:30 last week and played 35 overs ("do you know what the league rules are?")
4) we were here at 12:55!! ("were you here ready to play at 1pm?" "yes",
"were you here at 1pm?" "ermmm... yes"
"were you here at 1pm?" "no")
Had they been bowling for the 20 minutes they spent arguing, they may have bowled their 40 overs by 4pm...
So we started at 1:35 with the by now usual Commonwealth league spirit of the game pervading. Their openers bowled pretty straight. Not much movement, but tight. The ball was coming right onto the middle of the bat. Unfortunately for Andrew, the ball hitting the middle of the bat with a loud woody thwack did not save him from the LBW appeal. Gillen's usual "use the bat" retort didn't seem to fit so well here. Another victim of New York umpiring. The pitch was misbehaving a little, but would deteriorate. At about 40/2 after 12 things didn't look great, but Kabir and Gillen got us back on track with some fine shots and aggressive running. They put on 105 together, the first century stand this year I think. Gillen and Robyn perished pushing the scoring rate, and Geoff came in to face the music. He was a little perturbed when 2 balls whistled past his nose, and the next from the same spot got about ankle high to an ant, but he was given generous, if perhaps a little ironic, applause on scoring his first run after 18 dot balls. After Geoff was mercifully put out of his misery, Prabhu and Dhruv batted through to 217/6. Power were remarkably sprightly in the field and had bowled 38 overs by 4pm. Clearly the 20 mins they argued were well spent, goodness know how many they could have bowled if they were actually on time.
And so to the best spell of opening bowling I think I have seen from a Columbia attack. Haseeb was excellent, but Dhruv even better. his 8 overs 2/14 (one 4 off an edge) was a joy to behold, and at that point they needed well over 6 an over already. If you are fan of seeing the bat dominate the ball, you would have been pleased with the introduction of Edwards into the attack. Far more entertaining. Asad replaced Dhruv, and Prabhu myself. They seemed reasonably well placed at about 120/3 needing 7/over but getting them. As usual the subcontinental team had much more success against Prabhu than our Guyanese (or should I say late) friends. An inspired bowling change (against the wishes of the vice skip it should be noted), won us the game. Faisal bowled a little flatter and a little tighter than Prabhu and made vital breakthroughs almost every over to finish with a Michelle, again the first of the year I believe. Their #4 batted well for 70 odd, but tired and we finally bowled them out for about 180.
Other notable New York cricket events: man flying kite obstructs Haseeb from taking a catch (off my bowling of course); ball hits a soccer ball just as Asad is about to field it, batsman think they can now run, almost get runout (would have served them right); umpire signals dismissals with a "punch out" type motion a la baseball umpires; opposition captain comes out to bat wearing a colourful Nike jacket, informs me that we are the strictest team he has ever played when I make him take it off. All in a days cricket at VCP...
Excellent batting from Kabir and Gillen, wonderful bowling from Dhruv, Haseeb and Faisal, with Faisal probably squeaking the man of the match for his match winning spell.
CUCC 217/6 (Gillen 59, Kabir 79)
Power 180 all out (Dhruv 2/14, Faisal 5/35)
On friday it looked as if
the opening game of the league season
might be delayed for yet another week, but we did get to play, though on a
slow and difficult pitch. That said, 400 runs were scored in the afternoon
and the cricket played was of a reasonable standard given the conditions
and our minimum of match practice.
We bowled first and Dhruv showed his strike bowling capability by
moving the ball appreciably and taking 3 wickets in his opening spell.
After that we struggled for wickets, and although Asad, Sridhar and Haseeb
all bowled steadily, our veteran leg-spinning weapon, Prabhu, was
nullified owing to the slowness of the turn. The fielding was good, with
Faisal his usual cat-like self in the covers and Geoff snaring a terrific
one-handed catch in front of first slip (though there wasn't one). Of
course, if Geoff studied his Alan Knott video more attentively, he'd
realize that he's supposed to move his feet and catch those two hands.
All in all, we were satisfied to keep them under two hundred on a
wicket presenting almost as many problems for bowling as for batting.
Sridhar opened the batting with his usual flair, but the technical
deficiencies of our top order batsmen, particular in terms of
footwork and defense to balls on the stumps, were quickly exposed. We were
soon 3/30, then 4/60. Fortune favored us by striking down the opposition
(perhaps the cricket Gods were displeased with what happended recently in
Guyana). Falcons began with ten men, then their first change bowler
crumpled in a heap at the crease and was carried off by a teammate. But
not before I had what I thought was a career moment - deaf to the
cries of agony from the bowler, I tracked down the ball as it trickled
toward mid-wicket and smote it to the boundary - only to be robbed of my
well-deserved four by an umpire with meatloaf for brains who decided that
in a situation where dead ball and four were his only options under the
rules, he would call a no-ball and leave it at that.
The cricket resumed with a noticeable diminishment of good feeling
on Falcons part (I can't think why), but Kabir batted with great purpose
and growing confidence and his partnerships with me and Geoff saw us
through to what was, in the end, a reasonably comfortable victory.
So, a good first-up win, but the fact we struggled for a good deal
of the afternoon is a good indication of the kind of cricket we will face
this year. Moving up a division will mean there are few easy wins to be had.
Falcons 197 all out (Dhruv 3 wickets, Sridhar 2)
Columbia 6/199 (Wood 62, Kabir 42*, Geoff 22*)