In short, Commonwealth-A Cricket Club (Comm-A CC) beat the previously undefeated and table-topper Challengers Cricket Club (Challengers-CC), handing them their first defeat of the season. The drama left over from the previous encounter where Challengers-CC was victorious, was not lost on Comm-A CC. The top-order collapse and futile efforts of the middle-order resulted in a 13-run loss to the Challengers-CC.
Another day, another game, and home ground advantage – would anything be different for the Comm-A CC? Unfortunately, history repeated itself in the first session, as Comm-A CC opted to bat and found themselves in familiar territory when they lost four top-order batsmen for a measly 45 runs.
With the buoyant Challengers-CC sniffing blood, Munnawar Abbasi and Shreenath Rajagopalan started the slow rebuilding of the inning and all appeared calm as progress was made run by run. Just when things were settling down, Munnawar, on 34, got out, and Kiran Nataraj walked in. Kiran and Shreenath not only rebuilt the inning, but added 137 runs in 24 overs, pushing the total beyond 220. While Kiran forced the pace with some breathtaking shots, Shreenath played a sheet-anchor role. Kiran’s innings was undone on 69 by a brilliant stumping by the wicket-keeper Sharath, down the leg-side, however the damage was done.
At the end, Shreenath and Abdul Wahab (23 runs) put on a blistering display of hitting and Comm-A CC finished with 264 runs on the board. Shreenath fell in the penultimate over on 92, to a brilliant catch, missing his century by a handful of runs. Top wicket-takers from Challengers-CC were Praveen and Vishad with 4, and 2 wickets each.
On a beautiful sunny day and a very dry outfield, along with a wicket that offered true bounce, 264 was a par score. This was not lost on Comm-A CC bowlers and also the rest of the team. Challengers-CC’s opening batmen Nishanth and Vishad, started well. While wickets were falling at regular intervals on one end, Nishanth dropped anchor and appeared dangerous as the match progressed, with an ensuing see-saw battle.
Comm-A CC’s sloppy fielding and missed catches did not wrest the game away, and each team nosed ahead at different times in the innings. Nishanth was finally out on 84 to a brilliant catch at point by Babar Abbasi. At this time, seven wickets were down and Ravi Singh and Chiran Balasubramanian were at the crease and batting sensibly, progressing towards the target at a steady pace. Chiran trying to force the pace, hit a ball a mile high in the sky toward long-on, where Anil made a skier catch look so darn easy, that made us all wonder what the problem was with the rest of the team holding on to catches.
The last man standing, Ravi Singh, overcame exhaustion and heat and remained unbeaten on 44, and almost provided the last ditch effort in seeking victory for the Challengers-CC. In the end, a mad scramble for a single and Harpal falling short of his crease sealed the win for Comm-A CC by 29 runs.
Commonwealth skipper used his experience to juggle the bowlers around intelligently on a hot day; Adil Sardar, Munnawar, Shreenath, Mauzzam Raja, and Abdul Wahab shared the bowling honors equally.
MVP of the game was Shreenath Rajagopalan with 92 Runs and 2 Wickets.