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2015 Premier Playoffs: SDCC2 v/s Vijayta

November 20, 2015

Below is the brief report between SDCC2 (#2) v/s Vijayta (#1) premier playoff game at Wong ground on November 14, 2015.

Brief Report:

SDCC2 won the toss and elected to bat.

SDCC2 – 167/10 in 35 overs (Hrishi 48, Sridhar 35, Gaurav 26, Jogi 25)


Vijayta – 163/8 in 35 overs (Jatin 2/17, Raju P 2/24, Pratik 2/31, Jogi 1/30, Raju P 3 catches, Akash, Jogi and Pratik 1 each, Hrishi 1 stumping, Jogi 1 run out)

by 4 runs.

Scorecard can be found on the URL below:


Match Report:

Author: Sridhar Ranganathan

As soon as the playoff final was in the horizon, the team got together across several practice sessions as often as we could. The daylight savings time change was quite the challenge, but somehow some players got some practice. The spirits were high primarily because the team that we were about to face had already been conquered in the regular season game.

The morning was bright, crisp and cold. The drive was pleasant. The team arrived about 30 minutes before the game, everyone warmed up to the occasion and a sense of relaxed spirit pervaded throughout. We had gone through the routine enough number of times and it was beginning to show up as an automatic stimulus of sorts.

Vishal called the toss right and he made the decision well. He informed the team in the huddle that he made the decision to bat first because he wanted to put the runs on the board and hence, the pressure to chase would be on Vijayta. Throughout this season, the team has stood behind him and this game was no different. The goals were set, the roles were known. The players just had to play their part.

Akash and Sridhar opened the batting for San Diego. Mehul Dave and Nisarg Patel opened the bowling for Vijayta and as usual, they gave nothing away. At first, the San Diego openers were circumspect and then Akash played a beautiful cover drive to open the account of boundaries. Subsequently, a bad ball from Nisarg was dragged over mid-on for another boundary from Sridhar. Things were beginning to settle. As a jolt, Akash played an uppish drive straight to a well-positioned short-cover fielder. Sharvesh joined in and began to push Sridhar along to trickle singles and twos. The pair batted beautifully – playing out the good and dangerous balls, running hard between the wickets and stringing together a good 40-run partnership. Sridhar was the next to go for 35(45), edging one to slip. Gaurav Khillon then took over from this point onwards. His was a typical innings punctuated well with late chops towards third-man and aggressive running between the wickets. Sharvesh’s false shot led to the loss of his wicket. Jatin too couldn’t last long in the middle. At 74/4, the game was evenly poised and needed someone to play a gutsy knock to tilt the balance in San Diego’s favor. Hrishi was the man that did it once again. He walked in and nonchalantly played a cover drive off his first ball. That not only put the pressure on the opposition but also loosened the grip they had by virtue of attacking field positions (silly point and short-leg). They had to spread the field around. Gaurav was unfortunate to get out LBW (26 off 34 balls) but his was a very important innings fighting it out there for the team. The game-changing moment was perhaps the partnership of Joginder Sehgal and Hrishi. In about 5 overs (from 25th to 30th), they amassed a 50-run partnership. Both of them were severe on bad balls, but also not shy of flaunting one and all with their wide-array of strokeplay and excellent running between the wickets. At the end of the day, their partnership probably made a huge difference to the outcome of the game and definitely put us 20-25 runs ahead of what we would have settled for in the middle of our innings. Hrishi finished with an aggressive 48 (37) and Jogi with 25 (21). San Diego scored 167 all out in their allocated 35 overs which was a fighting total but definitely 15-20 runs short.

With a required rate of little less than 5 RPO, Vijayta not only had to score at a decent pace but also had to ensure wickets were held for a finish. Timil and Nisarg Patel opened the bat. Evidently, their plan was to play Vishal out as he was the nagging type of bowler with a plenty of wickets already in his kit bag and attack the bowlers from the other end. In doing so, the pair was beginning to enjoy a lot of success. Vishal bowled 4-0-5-0 in his first spell but Vijayta were still at 27/0 in 7 overs. There was a drop catch at point off Gaurav first ball of his spell.(8th over). Looking for the first breakthrough, Vishal turned to Raju from the other end as pressure started to build on San Diego. San Diego did show some signs of mediocrity on the field. Even an energy bunny like Pratik on his average day, couldn’t live up to the standards he has set for himself on the field. Eventually, we got some much needed adrenaline at the sight of Raju P taking a superb return catch off his own bowling. Nisarg drove full-blooded straight back at him, but Raju was equally competent to hang on to it. We got the much-needed breakthrough. But the worst was yet to come. Mehul Dave walked in and spent no time in setting himself in. When he was under 10, San Diego again let him off the hook by dropping at mid off. Raju bowled his heart out in the first spell with fielders not showing their support to him. Mehul kept himself and his partner busy that runs started flowing like a river. San Diego could find no way to break through this partnership and rightly so as our fielding went from bad to worse. Bowling change again worked in San Diego favor when Vishal brought back Jogi for his second spell. It needed our best fielder in the team to pounce and hold on to a diving catch. That is none other than Akash. He ran in, judged the ball perfectly and eventually hung on to a stunning catch to dismiss Mehul Dave who tried to pull Jogi towards deep mid-wicket. With a new sense of urgency, Vishal brought in well thought out bowling changes that ensured we made dent after dents in their batting. None of the well-known Patels (Mrunal, Kartik and Vimal) could survive. Mrunal went out to a quick stumping by Hrishi off Pratik’s bowling. Kartik could only manage to give Jogi a skier at square leg. And Jogi was again at the thick of the action with a sharp runout opportunity to dismiss Vimal. Dhaval and Timil began to build a partnership when Vishal brought back Raju again for his final spell. It paid off immediately as Raju got Dhaval with a slower ball beauty where he took the return catch.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Timil Patel was batting like a dream. He used his feet beautifully against the spinners. Subash Jayaraman (@thecricketcouch) put it more eloquently in his article – Timil’s innings was “workmanlike”. He was threatening to take the game away from San Diego. With run-a-ball needed in the last 5 overs, Timil had no problems scoring 6 runs every over. He took the singles whenever available but also ensured the bad balls were put away for boundaries. He had a huge stroke of luck when the substitute fielder, Karthik Ramesh, soiled a chance at long off.

But San Diego held on to its nerves. It came down to the wire. 6 runs needed off 6 balls and 2 wickets remaining with Timil holding the strike. Vishal, Gaurav, Hrishi and Jatin (the senior members of the team) hold a solemn conference before the last over. It was heartening to see both Gaurav and Jatin willing to take on the challenge for the team. Eventually, Vishal threw the ball to Jatin. The resolve in Jatin’s eyes was a spectacle. The goal was to bowl at the batsmen’s body and not give away easy singles. Breakthrough came off the very first ball. Timil tried to square drive Jatin but the extra bounce that was on offer from one end had Timil play it in the air. Pratik had to quickly move towards his right and held on to the catch – perhaps, the catch that mattered the most in 2015 season. Timil was gone but not before he made a fighting 66 (81). With just the last wicket remaining, Jatin was smart to use the angles across the left-hander to deliver two valuable dot balls. A few moments later, 5 runs were needed off the last ball. Jatin again produced a beauty of a delivery and all the batsman could manage was a lofted shot towards cover. Raju wouldn’t miss dollies as easy as those. Vijayta was tamed once again. Déjà vu.

SDCC has won the Div 1 playoff championship after 11 years. Everyone on the field were jubilant with this win as it took lot of discipline, dedication and determination from everyone to achieve it.

A sight to watch – TEAM Huddle after the game and HIP HIP HURRAY’S with every player hugging each other.

Man of the Match: Hrishikesh Unni for his brilliant 48 and an awesome stumping & Raju Palagummi for his spectacular spell and 3 catches.

Special mention: Kartik and Vivek showed up as 12th and 13th players for the team that was very much appreciated by all and lifted the team spirit in a positive direction. Also kudos to Ritu and Harman to keep cheering for the team!

San Diego are the “2015 SCCA Premier Playoff Champions”!!! 

Go SDCC!!!

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