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WCL wide Match Report for August 11-12
August 15, 2012
1:18 pm
challengers
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Match Report: Zolon Challengers V/S Knights @Galway. Report provided by Digant Samant.

Zolon Challengers won the toss, elected to bat first.

Zolon Batting:
Saad and Shaan opened the innings for Zolon. They both started well especially Shaan who went off to a quick start. Saad supported Shaan and kept the scoreboard moving. As Zolon looked convincing early in their innings, Shaan got run out after scoring a quick fire 18 runs on an incorrect call by himself. After 7 overs, Zolon Challengers were 43/1. Digant joined Saad in the 8th over. They both decided not to take unnecessary risks, respect good balls and punish the bad balls. Just after the first break, challengers had a terrific over when Digant hit 26 runs thereby taking the score to 123/1 after 14 overs. Saad then took the initiative and quickly moved onto score his half century with another big over scoring 21 runs with three sixes in it. Challengers' dominance continued as they consistently scored 8 runs per over and a target of 300+ seemed obvious. In order to curb down the run rate and looking for a break through, Knights introduced two new bowlers. This strategy did the trick for them as Saad edged an outswinger straight into the keeper’s gloves thus giving Knights the breakthrough they desired. This ended the 135 run partnership between Saad and Diggy and soon Raghav came to the crease. At this stage challengers were 178 runs with the loss of 2 wickets. Raghav kept rotating the strike and Digant continued his aggression as Challengers went into their second break at 210/2. As game resumed, Knights secured another break through when Digant edged a quicker delivery to the keeper. Digant got out for 94 runs and challengers were positioned at 228/3 after 25 overs. Dharmem stepped in next with Raghav who was on a rampage scoring 20 runs in 5 balls of the next over. Dharmen got unlucky only to find a ball that stayed low and went straight to hit the stumps. Shahan fell next to a leg before decision and Juber joined Raghav. Both Juber and Raghav held tight for the Challengers. Soon after reaching his fifty, Raghav hit a mistimed shot giving a simple catch. Challengers finished their innings with 332/6 on the board with Juber staying not out on 45.

Zolon Bowling:
Challengers started their defense with Bhavik and Dharmen. While Bhavik bowled excellent line and length, Dharmen did get hit for some runs initially as the Knight's batsman decided to take charge over him. Dharmen came back strong at them and took two wickets in the 4th and 6th over putting knights at 30/2 while chasing a big score. Challengers introduced Shaan and Juber as their first and second change which gave them break through periodically. Sharjeel and Harold tried hard for recovery but couldn’t build up a solid partnership. Knights kept on losing wickets and challengers looked forward to a comfortable victory. Ankur brought himself into the attack and claimed 2 quick wickets which put the Knights on the back foot. Nizam further claimed two wickets in his first over and Knights were bowled out for 202 runs.

Overall, Zolon challengers secured a comfortable victory showing sheer dominance in their batting. It is a good time for the batsman to click especially when the playoffs are approaching. Lets finish up the league games unbeaten and enter playoffs on a winning note! Good Luck guys!!

August 17, 2012
10:11 am
challengers
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Urbana vs Hunters @fairfax match report -- provided by Pranjal Sharma

No more jokes about Raman not winning the toss. Until last game against Hunters, the record had been zero toss wins in completed games (admittedly he won the toss in the last game vs Masters, so I had to introduce completed games as a criteria), but the lady luck has smiled finally. Too bad Sunil is not here to make hay while the sun shines. He was the one whose life held no meaning for some time after Raman lost the toss. I'm beginning to think it might be Sunil's presence that cursed the toss; we'll find out soon.

Urbana Innings:
==========
Urbana won the toss (such a good feeling writing that I just had to do it again!) and elected to bat first. Our fearless openers Wahab and Ashwini strolled to the middle. Kiran and Abhilash started the proceedings for Hunters. They bowled with good pace and bounce. Kiran in particular bowled some awesome outswingers that swung quite late, and got wickets. The only problem was that both the opening bowlers gave away a lot of extra by the way of wides that somewhat released some scoring pressure. Urbana seemed to be in rush for some reason and coupled with some great balls, it was soon 55/6 at one point. The innings was tottering, like it has a couple of times before. And yet again it was time for someone to step up to the plate and take responsibility to guide the team that would give it a fighting score to defend. It had to be the captain once again and his apprentice, Ankit Sikka. Raman went in and cut out all risks initially to make sure no more wickets fell. Hunters played their cards well by bowling out their opening bowlers who responded well to knock off Urbana's top order. But the same could not be said of their other bowlers, who bowled well but who we did not find threatening. I believe they really missed Shiraz in this game. Having seen off the opening bowlers without any more damage, Raman started to open up and played some exquisite shots, none better than the two sixes that sailed way beyond the long-on boundary. Raman is in the form of his life and can do no wrong these days. It is these times when one has to dig in and make the opposition pay. Pay they did, the Hunters. A good partnership developed and Urbana were off the hook, to an extent.

When the wickets were falling like 9 pins, I told Ankit Sikka that it is these times when champions are made. Nothing gives you more pleasure than scoring under pressure, and that matures you as a player and gives you confidence to perform when the chips are down. His more famous namesake, Ankit Sehgal, had played one such knock on this same field for Boyds in 2009 against Fairfax where his fabulous unbeaten 80-something guided Boyds home by 1 wicket when it looked a lost cause. The young champion had announced himself to the league. This knock by Ankit Sikka may have lacked the firepower that Ankit Sehgal's knock had, but it was just as gritty and valuable. He played to his strength and did not try to act what he was not. He left the potentially dangerous balls alone, placed the ball skillfully, ran hard, and made sure he did not give any chances. After Raman's departure, he ensured the good work was not laid to waste. He played well with Kashif and Winston and had valuable partnerships. Kashif and Winston ran hard, and hit some good shots. Kashif also helped himself to a six when the fielder at long on (I'll let him remain anonymous here :-)) could not balance himself and carried the ball beyond the boundary. I cannot remember one single shot from Ankit that stood out in his innings, yet given his experience playing in this league and the situation of the match when he came out to bat, it was such a special knock. He helped Urbana to 170 runs, which gave the bowlers something to defend. Well done Ankit Sikka, hope you play many more such knocks.

Hunters Innings:
==========
Kiran and Nikhil opened for Hunters. Prabhu drew the first blood getting Nikhil caught behind down the leg side. Girish joined Kiran and Hunters started taking control of the match. Kiran seemed to be overly aggressive and hit a few good shots for fours and sixes. He jump started Hunters innings and it was soon clear to Urbana that wickets were the need of the hour. Raman brought himself on and he struck right away with a teasing lenght ball by having Kiran caught at point off a miscued heave that went nowhere. Murli was sent back the next ball trapped in front of the wicket. Pranjal from the other end foxed Balaji before Madhu, Bhaskar, and Haroon played well to stabilize the innings. Urbana dropped a few catches along the way to help their cause, but it is to their credit that they stuck to their task and ground out some runs. The problem was that they were losing wickets and then blocking everything to not lose more. Urbana bowling was accurate and it created pressure on the batsmen who found run scoring very hard. Once Pranjal and Raman bowled out, Wahab and Udit took over. Wahab bowled a great spell and ended up with a couple of wickets. Udit bowled with pace and eventually yorked Shreyan to hand Urbana a 40 run win.

One more game to go before the playoffs and we would want to sign off on a winning note. Go Urbana!

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