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Zolon Challengers vs Sri Lankan match report -- Semi finals @ Metro
September 10, 2012
11:01 am
anurag
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Forum Posts: 112
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May 15, 2012
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It was good to see everyone get to the ground on time. Thanks everyone for that! The wicket was wet and the umpires, rightly, decided to wait for the game to start. We rolled the wicket and got the moisture out as much as possible. Sri Lankans won the toss and elected to field. Our game plan was to not worry about a target. We just wanted to bat 40 overs and then leave to our bowlers to defend whatever we can get. The first goal was not to lose early wickets. We actually succeeded in this. In fact, at the 13 over break, we were 51/0. Things were looking good. Both Saad and Anurag had played well and scored at a healthy rate. Unfortunately for us, things quickly went down hill after 14 overs. First, Saad got out in the 15th over, bowled by Cheruka. He scored 13. This was followed by Anurag getting out next over when he got out caught. Anurag scored 31. In the same over, Raghav got out bowled when he tried to hit a fullish ball but missed it completely. All of a sudden, from 51/0 we were 55/3. Two overs later, Digant was out lbw. Two overs later, Julius got out caught. It was astonishing to see our wickets fall like this. We were now 63/5 and had given the advantage back to Sri Lankans. Fahed and Ashwin restored some sanity and changed the momentum as they batted defensively and made sure no more wickets fall. These guys must have batted around 10 overs together, even though they scored only 15-20 or so runs. Atleast they had stemmed the tide. Around the 30th over, Ashwin got out. Although Ashwin only scored 7 runs, his staying at the crease was valuable. He did his job of supporting Fahed. Ankur went in next and these two guys were now required to not only preserve their wicket but also score some runs. We needed to have some score that we could defend. Both of them started to take the singles and an odd-double and we were slowly inching towards a 120+ target. At the end of 36 overs, our score was around 115+ and we had 4 wickets in hand. Ankur was out next (bowled) but not until he had given the team a target to bowl to. We were at 120+ at this time., Fahed was still there and was well set. He made sure that the remaining overs were played and a score was put in place. Fahed stayed until the end and we ended up with 142/9 in our 40 overs. Fahed played an excellent innings and remained not out at 38. We believed we had a target we had a chance to defend -- if we bowled well.

Sri Lankans started aggressively and it paid off for them in the first over as they got 10 runs. In act, after 1.4 overs, they were at 14/0. However, this is when we got our first breakthrough when Cheruka was out caught at slips on a ball he edged. Sri Lankans were 14/1 after 2. Juber came in from the other end and within 3 balls claimed the new batsman that had come in. The pressure was beginning to build on the Sri Lankans. The Dangerous Anoushka and another good batsman were on the crease. These guys have the ability to score and they did get a few shots off. At 35/2 Sri Lankans seemed to have recovered. However, we never gave up trying. We kept putting maximum effort., We got the next break when we got one of the set batsman bowled . We followed this up by claiming Rasan's wicket -- also bowled. The pressure was back on the Lankans. However, Anoushka was still there. Anurag got into the act when he got Manjula out playing across the line and getting caught in front of middle stump for an lbw. The momentum was ours and Sri Lankans were now deeply concerned. They were now 5 down for around 40 odd runs. We followed this up by getting Anoushka out bowled on a very good delivery. This was a very good ball and completely fooled Anoushka. The next 10+ overs looked like a test match. At the break, Sri Lankans required 72 runs in 74 balls with 4 wickets in hand. A tough ask but with two batsmen still remaining (who could hit) we did not want to relax. We got the breakthrough when we got the set batsman out trying to hit a 6 only to mis-time it for a catch at point. We were slowly inching towards victory. In came Hasika with the intent to score runs. He got off a couple of shots and it was obvious that he was planning on hitting every possible ball. Anurag came in to the attack and got him stumped when he tried to step out to hit him over mid-wicket. We wrapped things up in the next two overs by claiming the remaining wickets.
We had gotten the entire Sri Lankan team out for 80 runs in 32 overs. Everyone bowled well and fielded well. It was a true team effort. Ours is a very mature team on the field. Nobody panicked when we lost wickets and nobody panicked when the Sri Lankans got a few shots off. Our lower middle order put us in a place where we could defend the total and then our bowlers all bowled well to keep the pressure on and got them all out. All the spectators at the ground were really impressed with our efforts.

The game had a finals feel to it. The Sri Lankans came in with lots of supporters, who entertained the crowd well. They had a DJ system and tents and it created a special environemnt for all. We also want to thank the D1 players who came out to watch the game. It means a lot to the playing teams when you guys, come out to watch. The Sri Lankan supporters were extremely sporting. Even though their team lost, they kept on partying after the game and did their best to lift the spirts of their team. Wel done everyone!

There were lots of familiar faces in the crowd and everyone was entertained. Although a low scoring game, it did not lack drama or intensity. The spectators would attest to this that they thoroughly enjoyed the game.

On to Elite, who were equally impressive in their win. It doesn't get easy for us as we have our work cut out against a formidable opponent.

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