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Ammar Khan's Match Report- Dulles Vs VIKINGS- Quarter Final game (Premier Division) August 24th 2013
August 29, 2013
12:12 pm
shrithik
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Forum Posts: 40
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May 15, 2012
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Quarter Final Match Report between Dulles CC and Vikings CC

Picture this. Two sides that are evenly matched play each other in the first round playoff game. The unpredictable DC metro weather, as if on cue, produces one of the more awesome days in recent memory. Two sides that are highly opinionated about each other and know the few strengths and many weaknesses of the opposition. There is good reason for that too, afterall, this is their third meeting this year. In the first highly charged encounter, Vikings CC were saved by bad light and severe storms while in the second, Dulles CC batted Vikings CC out of the game. Could anyone then, blame the pundits of Challengers CC to give the edge to Dulles CC? The only silver lining for Vikings CC was an anonymous oddsmaker’s prediction that Vikings will put up a fight, before eventually losing, ofcourse.

So the stage was set. It was winner takes all while the loser goes home and enjoys a few weekends of family time and PS3 and BBQ and relaxation and peace. The pre match hype had obviously been overshadowed by the other big game happening between Titans CC and Virginia CC. There was so much supposed mutual facebook respect between Dulles CC and Vikings CC that all sparks and attempts at igniting a fire came from others interested in this game. Some people backed Dulles CC’s obviously superior batting to win the game while others theorized a mysterious “K” factor to do the trick for Vikings. So after all was typed and done, came the game day. Saturday the 24th of August 2013. *drum roll*

Both teams arrived at Hyattsville with typical enthusiasm and excitement. It was highly refreshing to see that some players from Vikings CC actually reached on time! Clearly their day had started well. You could almost immediately tell this was a playoff game as one team even had a 12th man serving as a designated scorer. Dulles CC with typical efficiency got the ground ready in no time much to the pleasure of umpires George and Shahid Munir, both of whom had also reached on time and in proper umpiring attire, floppy hat and all. While Vikings CC aimlessly practiced high catches and Dulles CC relaxed after preparing the pitch and field, Nail and Zaid tossed the coin. Vikings won the toss (what were the odds of that?) and decided to bat on what looked like a gorgeous batting mat.

Dulles CC’s plan of steamrolling Vikings early would’ve received a boost when Zaid, sprinting in, delivered a nice outswinger on the second ball of the innings which the Vikings opener Fahad edged to the keeper. First blood Dulles CC! Now if they could only get the other opener out. Srikanth K. of Challengers CC had predicted that Waleed will score runs in the big game and the gun player did not disappoint. Vikings players know Waleed is a different animal when he is sick because he talks less, runs even lesser and scores runs. Quickly. From three boundaries in the second over to a massive six over long on the next over to a six over cover, Waleed was at his sickly best. Nail on the other hand must’ve wished he wore a helmet as a few balls fizzed past him. With fast bowlers going for plenty, Dulles CC was forced to bring on a spinner and in a smart move they brought in the leg spinner in hopes of a slog against the line. They succeeded in getting a slog across the line but unfortunately the ball had gone sailing over the midwicket boundary. That man Waleed was on a different level today. Even his edges were going between the slip and the keeper. It was truly a frantic scene as Vikings players were trying to calm him down and asking Nail to keep matters under control. Nail responded by taking the batting powerplay and letting Waleed go! Eventually everybody gave up and just sat back and watched the fireworks. In the first 10 overs, Vikings had counterattacked to 72 for the loss of 1 wicket. Waleed had scored 61 of those runs. Dulles CC were stunned by this onslaught.

But like a quality team they are, they used the water break to refocus and plan again to get back in the game. Couple of overs after the break, Sai got the break for Dulles CC when he found the edge of Nail’s bat which thudded into his pads and he was given out LBW. As Nail walked back, Dulles celebrated and planned to unleash their spin trio to a fragile Vikings middle order. Ammar joined Waleed for a few overs as field was spread out (for Waleed). There were a lot of compliments passed by a generous Dulles CC side in this period, such as, comparing Ammar’s 7th consecutive dot ball to Misbah-ism. Waleed’s play and a miss to whole team depending on one person’s batting. This is what playoff games are like. Such generosity and praise can only come in a crunch game and pressure situation. Soon, Waleed swung at one too many and was caught behind. Dulles CC sensed blood and kept up with their attacking fields. Imran Amin joined Ammar and they continued their partnership till past the second water break. Both batsmen looked for quick singles but hit an odd boundary here and there. Bilal Razzaq in particular was bowling the best he had against Vikings, getting a lot of drift and flighting the ball nicely. Even then there were too many deep fielders and singles continued to flow. When Imran Amin was caught at the long on boundary Dulles CC hit a purple patch. With the run rate slowing down, Vikings lost some quick wickets. Ammar held one end and let the others play around him but Dulles CC were not worried for any score under 220 and let their feelings be known through remarks on the field. Towards the end of the innings the usual rush for runs took place with Ammar hitting a few boundaries taking the score to 204. Both teams seemed satisfied with this outcome. Vikings had never scored more than 170 since the first game of the season, so it was a big improvement and Dulles CC would’ve fancied their chances at easily batting themselves to victory in this one.

Dulles CC openers came out with a clear purpose of getting some quick runs while the ball was new. In a strange coincidence though, Harris lost his middle stump on the second ball of the innings swinging for the long on boundary against a Nasir Durrani yorker. Vikings CC sensed a chance and kept pushing for more quick wickets. Kartik and Faizan joined forces to move the score along but Faizan, cramping now, edged one to the keeper to leave Dulles at 20 odd for 2 down. Any hopes that Vikings had at this point for running through the innings quickly vanished when Charan started to middle the ball. Together he and Kartik milked the bowling for some easy runs. What was notable was the quick and decisive running between the wickets and one boundary ball almost every over. As Zain Ahmed of Boyds CC had once said, Charan is a busy player and ALWAYS looks for that quick single and double and will catch you sleeping if you aren’t on top of your fielding. He had found a very able partner in Kartik and together they took the quick tap and run to point, bye, leg bye, overthrow to a whole new level. At the end of 10 overs they were 50 odd for 2 down and then at the 20 over mark, Dulles CC were firmly in control with 99 runs on the board with only 2 wickets down. Apart from a few hiccups against Karthik Vaghela and Ammar K. of Vikings CC where a couple edges went past the keeper and there were some ooohs and aahs, Charan and Kartik looked at ease. Typically there were a couple of close catches dropped, but thats club cricket for you.

Heads were dropping in Vikings CC camp and Dulles CC was aware of that. Suddenly the weather seemed hotter, the umpires harsh, the incorrect LBW against Nail as an abomination. Vikings CC headed back after the 20 over mark desperate for a quick wicket or three and Karthik Vaghela delivered by trapping Kartik of Dulles CC LBW sweeping against the spin. In came Deepak, the chief destroyer from the previous game. Immediately Deepak started using his feet against the spinner and milking those singles. Nail in an inspired and un-misbahlike move, made an enterprising change and brought in Jonty Javed Lala who immediately trapped Deepak LBW with his mixture of slow deliveries and slower deliveries. Game was evenly poised and things were heating up. Fielding at square leg this writer heard the umpire say how exciting the game had become and that it’d go to the last over. Players on edge, game evenly balanced, semi final berth on the line and umpires enjoying the game. Only thing missing was the crowd barring a few pseudo gangstah looking bicyclists who’d stop by on their way and wonder aloud, “ey yo, what game are ya’ll playin?’ Unfortunately for that spectator, “ya’ll” were in a dogfight. No time for cricket lessons right now.

Dulles CC is an aggressive bunch of cricketers and true to their reputation, out came to bat Zaid, obviously promoting himself up to take advantage of the batting powerplay and finish the game with Charan. Vikings CC started putting more effort into their bowling but a dropped catch and some cheeky running later, Dulles CC needed 52 runs in the last 10 overs with 6 wickets in hand, charan batting like a dream and 2 powerplay overs to go. Advantage Dulles CC.

In an inspired move, Nail, did not make any speeches in the last water break. His only comment was, “guys, this is the last 10 overs of our season, let’s make them count”. Last throw of the dice, Nasir Durrani brought back into the attack. First ball after the break Charan hit to deep cover and called Zaid for a non existent second run and then sent him back but it was too late as a flat throw from the deep by the sick waleed had accounted for a diving Zaid’s wicket. Vikings CC appealed and appealed but the leg umpire didn’t raise his finger. As it turned out George’s hand was stuck in his pocket and eventually the finger did come up. Earlier when Ammar K was bowling to Charan, a close LBW appeal had resulted in George’s finger going up but just as Vikings CC started celebrating, George quickly announced that the finger was pointing out the reason Charan was not out which was hit outside off! Billy Bowden who?

A few balls and a pulled boundary later Anirudh had edged to the keeper and left the scene too. This was a disastrous start to the last 10 overs for Dulles CC losing 2 wickets in the first over after break but Charan was there. In the next over though Charan went for one cheeky stolen run too many and a direct hit accounted for his wicket. He was clearly not happy to see George’s finger come up (quickly this time). Few pleasentries were exchanged between some players but cool heads from Dulles CC, especially Harris came to the field to calm things down. Dulles were firmly on the backfoot now and Vikings CC pounced on it. They dried up the singles and made Dulles hit the big shots and go for suicidal runs. Soon the move paid off as Faizan was run out by Nail. Dulles CC were crumbling under pressure as even at this point the required run rate was below 6! Bilal Razzaq came in and batted well for a few overs to bring the game closer but after 3 consecutive dot balls from Ammar he had to go for the big shot and edged to short third man making it 9 down. 1 good over would mean Dulles CC would move on and one wicket would mean Vikings CC would take the game. It was that close! An injured Sai, hit a couple of good boundaries and along with Fahad took the score to within touching distance but in the penultimate over holed out to deep midwicket where Imran Amin took a beautiful running catch looking into the sun to spark off wild celebrations! Vikings CC had never been happier to pick up the pitch mat and cones after the game!

Dulles CC played very good cricket but on the day their finishing failed them. Perhaps it was the law of averages, perhaps it was the curse of both Srikanth and Anurag picking them to win this one but they had an excellent season 2013 and can look back proudly on this year’s achievements. Vikings CC lives on for another dogfight with Boyds in a couple of weeks.

At the end of the day, it was a beautiful game of cricket with highs and lows. A game which was very competitive till the very end. The players enjoyed it, the umpires loved it but most importantly that pseudo gangstah bicyclist went home to watch baseball in a whole different light!

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