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VCC improves game after game in first round of Flamingotournament

Last Sunday VCC U15- 1 began their Flamingo Youth Indoor Tournament campaign of 2020. With Ahan, Aldino, Danial, (Haris), Jacobus, Nirav, Sachall and Tanush the team is a nice mix. There are some boys who have already played the U15 final last year and there are a couple of boys who are new to the U15 level. In Tanush we have a player who is new to the club and only met some of his teammates when they got onto the field together.

ACC – VCC 1                     2-0
The first opponent of the tournament was the same as last year’s last opponent in the outdoor season, when lost to them in the semi-final: ACC.
We lost the toss and were asked to bat first. And straight away it was clear that everybody still needed to get used to each other and to the indoor format. For those who aren’t familiar with the rules of indoor cricket, runs are predominantly scored by sharp running (you only need to run the distance of half a pitch to complete a run) and by hitting the ball into the wall. Every time you hit the ball into a sidewall or into the wall behind the wicketkeeper you get a bonus run on top of the completed runs. When you hit the wall behind the bowler you even get 2 extra runs. However those walls are less convenient when you take the aerial route as you can be caught when the ball ricochets back off the wall.
When we were batting we struggled to score runs as the calling and running was a bit too cautious and we weren’t taking the quick runs on offer, had too many dot balls and when we got balls that we could hit we got overexcited, tried to hit too hard and ended up hitting in the air. Outdoor that is fine, when you get a bad ball put it away over the infield and you get at least a couple, if not a boundary. Indoor those shots cost you 3 runs (the penalty for losing a wicket).
Despite a very decent effort in the field (some fantastic run outs and almost all catches were taken) it was not enough to win the game.

VCC 1 – Olympia             2-0
Luckily there was not much time to feel bad about the lost game as Olympia was ready to take us on in the 2nd match of the day. After another lost toss we started batting again. Jacobus and Aldino started off rather sedate but in the 2nd over runs started to flow and after a nice little partnership both got out for scores of 13 and 15 respectively. Olympia’s bowling was pretty good and although they took some wickets, the scoring rate never really dropped. So without knowing the exact score the boys were confident that they should be able to defend this total.
Fielding again was good quality and although the coach saw enough room for improvement in the bowling, Olympia was never getting much momentum in their chase. However they were not losing wickets either. Sachall took a neat caught & bowled from the first ball he bowled, one of only 3 wickets we managed to take. As we found out in the first match it was pretty hard to play without a specialist wicketkeeper (now we were keeping wicket without gloves). Their top scoring batsman finished unbeaten on 20 runs, but it had taken him almost the whole inning to do so. So after the last ball was bowled the boys were pretty confident they had secured the first win of the tournament and got off the field pretty happy. Big was the shock when we heard that it had been a much closer game then we thought: VCC wins by only 3 runs!
VCC 1                  79 (70 + 3×3 = 79)
Olympia             76 (55 + 7×3 = 76)

VCC 1 – Qui Vive              2-0
Last match had been a real wakeup call. So it was time to be clear about what we wanted to get out of this tournament. We could go on like this and clown around a bit, which is all well and good when you are winning anyways. But it is clear that we won’t ‘just’ win if we continue like this. So do we want to have fun and giggles and not care about the result? Or do we want to compete and be a bit more serious about it all and see how far we can come?
The boys answered that question on the field. Because against Qui Vive we played by far our best match of the day. Through Dutch Lions and other training groups a few of the boys know each other quite well, so they knew what they were op against.
This time we won the toss and we opted to field first. And right from the start the batsmen were under pressure and wickets fell regularly (a particular highlight was a catch behind the wicket by Jacobus of a quick Nirav delivery) and that helped keeping the scoring rate in check. Fortunately there is still room to improve, but all in all it was a fine fielding inning.
However the biggest improvement was seen in the batting. Qui Vive has a good attack, yet from the first ball Qui Vive was put under pressure by clever batting and sharp running. The experienced boys (lead by Nirav) set the tone and the ‘newbies’ effortlessly joined in. With as an absolute highlight a six that was run when the created pressure lead to panic, frustration and ultimately several overthrows.
In the end a very comfortable victory for VCC.

VCC 1 – HBS                     2-0
In the last fixture of the HBS was our opponent. HBS started batting and they struggled to score any runs against our attack. Decent bowling and good support in the field resulted in 20(!) dot balls. In the end HBS scored 32 runs with the bat and we were kind enough to gift them another 16 runs in extras, to make the target 48. We only managed to take 2 wickets, Danial knocked the stumps over once and the other wicket came through a run out.
Our batting inning got off to a disastrous start… Danial (3) was the first to go in the 2nd over which was bowled by Lotte, very next ball Nirav played down the wrong line and was beaten by another not particularly quick but very accurate banana-like outswinger. If that was not enough Ahan (6 no) had to retire hurt after he maybe too enthusiastically chased a delivery going down the leg side and twisted his ankle. Fortunately once again Aldino (20) and Sachall (17) build a very good partnership. After Tanush (3) had become the 4th victim of Lotte, Danial (6 off 4 balls) and Nirav (9 off 4 balls) ensured there was a nice finish to the inning.
Again a comfortable victory that looks closer than it should have been because of the runs we gifted HBS with 16 extras and 15 runs through wickets lost.
VCC 1    64 + 8(extras)     = 72 + 6   = 78
HBS       32 + 16(extras) = 48 + 15 = 63

All in all an interesting first day of the tournament. The way things are shaping up it looks like the field might be even more competitive than recent years. Next week we play another title contender in VOC. However arguably the most anticipated match is the one against the other VCC team. The Golden Boys of VCC. A young team so full of talent it almost explodes and has conveniently maneuvered itself into an underdog position by taking the name VCC 2. VCC 1 better be ready…