It was a hot sunny day but a cloud cover was expected in the evening. Naman won the toss and elected to bat. We were keen and eager to play after our victory last week and looking forward to playing on the new hybrid grass turf.
Unfortunately, Jenagan had to drop out last minute due to an eye infection and luckily for us, Sarath, filled in for him. Atif joined us this week from the seconds and warned us about the low bounce on this particular wicket. He said, that ECC’s home pitch was very similar in bounce and turn to the pitch we were about to play.
Abbas and Darryn opened for us. They managed to survive the first few overs with frequent shouts for LBW. They managed to keep the scoreboard ticking at a decent rate. The ball was staying much lower than what we were used to whilst playing in our indoor mats or our usual ‘home’ pitch at the second field for VCC. Our two openers began to settle and the runs flowed until the seventh over when Darryn was caught brilliantly at first slip having scored 14. 35 for 1.
Naman came in and as always, was very watchful early on in his innings. He was bowled by a beauty of a ball by their left-handed spinner in the 13th over having scored 10. Abbas too perished to the left-hander two overs later having just hit a glorious 6. He accumulated 35 runs. The score stood at 66 for 3.
Our middle order collapsed dramatically. We lost 4 quick wickets all to their spinning duo. In all honesty, it was not due to their skill, but to our lack of sensible shot selection. With the score at 89 for 7, we looked in a very sorry position with only half the allocated overs bowled.
Both Sono and Atif steadied the ship. They played with great composure and punished any loose balls. Sono was given out LBW, having amassed 25 valuable runs. Vishal came in and supported Atif until the latter tried to accelerate the run rate. Atif (35), was bowled by Sahu, the left-handed spinner. Sarath was the last man out, LBW to Sahu. It was a shame that we did not utilise our full overs. The final score for VCC3 was 159 in 35.3 overs. This was defendable with our strong bowling lineup.
After lunch, (thanks Vishal), Sono spearheaded our attack. He claimed his first wicket with his third ball. Sono bowled with pace and accuracy and was well supported by Atif at the other end. The pressure resulted in the second wicket for Sono, thanks to a sharp catch by Tanveer in the seventh over. Score: 22 for 2. Pranav joined the attack and managed to get our third wicket by varying his pace and fooling the batsman into lobbying a catch to Naman. (40 for 3 after 12 overs).
The next pair batted sensibly and began to rotate the strike taking quick singles/twos and pouncing on loose deliveries. No matter which bowler we tried, they seem to have an answer. Some questionable umpiring decisions definitely did not go our way which helped their cause. DJ finally broke the partnership in the 24thover with their score on 100. Unfortunately, their in-form batsman (A. Singh) was still there and he was striking at almost a run a ball and was being well supported by their new batsman.
Mr Singh was run out in the 30th over by Tanveer and Sono (stand-in wicket-keeper) with the score on 144. ECC surpassed our score with six overs to spare. Good figures for Sono (4-2-9-2) and Pranav (4-1-12-1). All felt the disappointment for Atif and Sarath, considering they bowled so well but were unlucky not to come away with a wicket or two.
On the day they played better than us in all areas of the game. It was a disappointing loss that could so easily have been avoided had we batted a little more sensibly. Abbas suffered a finger injury whilst wicketkeeping and we wish him a speedy recovery. Next week we need to bounce back stronger and learn from our shortcomings.