2e klasse A - Concordia 2A vs VVV (June 23td)

The 8th game for Concordia 2A was played at home against the league topper VVV which we lost in an eventful match. Remembering the horrible first game 2A team started their season against VVV, the team was charged-up to do well in this pseudo-knockout game to go top of the table. Our middle order batting showed resilience and good application but unfortunately were let down in bowling and fielding. On a typical part-sunny/cloudy day, Concordia used up all its luck for the day by winning the toss and choosing to bat first.

1st Innings - Concordia bat (196/6 in 40 overs)

VVV started well with tight spell from their opening bowlers and struck immediately getting rid of Rakesh with some extra bounce and Hari with an out-swinger. Bala and Reddy tried to consolidate and stabilize the situation but soon enough Reddy was given LBW, lets say in this case 'Umpire's call' on leg stump. The score was 13/3 when Sartaj Paaji walked in and smashed the first ball out of the park. Paaji and Bala put up a 30 odd run partnership before Bala was bowled last ball before the drinks break (46/4 in 15 overs). With another 20-odd partnership with Aayush, Sartaj paaji departed trying to up the ante caught at long-on. 2A at 58/5 in 22 overs. Situation intensifies! The opposition already dreaming to get us all-out for less than 120. In the next 18 overs, we witnessed some matured and sensible batting display from Mr. Finisher Aayush and well supported from the other end by Jeeven bro. This 140 run partnership comprised of strike rotation, excellent running between wickets to get 2's & 3's and hitting bad balls to boundaries. VVV was getting irritated and we knew anything close to 200 would be a fighting total. Aayush (76*) scored his 4th fifty of the season with some brilliant drives and remained not out. Jeevi getting his maiden fifty (66) for Concordia highlighted with some onslaught on leg side and a reverse sweep/hit in the death overs but was unfortunately run out trying to steal another run in the last over.

2nd Innings - Concordia bowl (VVV 198/5 in 38.2 overs) 

The momentum of the match had shifted towards Concordia as we finished the 1st innings on a good note. Knowing that we are short of an opening bowler with a sub-par total on our field, we needed to make early breakthroughs in the VVV top order and also keep run rate in control. Hari decided to start with Aayush and off-seam bowling (half of the team still don't know if its off-spin or seam :P) of Sartaj Paaji. Aayush bowled good lines creating half chances for the first wicket but it was Paaji who got rid of the first opener. A juicy half-tracker outside off was hit flat to deep cover and to everyone's surprise (including myself), yours truly caught that one with a sigh of relief. Aayush's precious overs were required in the death and VVV were not able to play spin reasonably well. Hari used Bala, Gurcharan, Paaji and myself very well in middle overs. Guru bhai and Paaji bowled some tight overs in middle restricting the flow of runs. But one thing we needed the most was wickets luck, which as you may remember was all used up. Couple of stumpings, a clear edge to keeper and a plumb LBW are some of the clear 'out' decisions that were ruled against us clearly favoring batting team's position. Even though VVV did not lose wicket according to their umpiring standards, the run rate was still in control at the 2nd drinks break VVV requiring 60 runs in last 10 overs. Paaji got us back in the game with two quick wickets in the very first over after the break. Bat thrown out of frustration on field and helmet kicked, we knew VVV was under pressure. A consolation stumping was eventually given out after Reddy literally showed the leg umpire where the backfoot was. Our bowlers gave their best effort to defend the score but were let down by giving away crucial runs in outfield. VVV hurried to the target in last 5 overs, using open areas and misfields, to retain the top spot in the league table.

In the end, we played good (probably not our best) and fair cricket to give us every possible chance to win the match. Scorecard link.

Likes
- Solid 6th wicket partnership of ~140 runs between Aayush and Bro.
- All-round performance from Paaji & Aayush with bat and ball.
- Ability and belief of the team to get us out from 'shitty' situations

Dislikes
- Too many extras (26) considering the total on board & most of the overs were bowled by slow bowlers.
- Lack of partnerships  top of the order, probably cost us 30-40 runs more on target.
- Misfields at crucial moments in the match.
- Contributions required from others to make half chances into a winning cause.
- Absence of club umpire (just to justify the loss :P)

With 6 more games left for the season, let us give complete team effort in the remaining fixtures and you never know, some times luck works in mysterious ways :)

Cheers,
Nakul

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