1e klasse Ghausia 1 vs Concordia 1 (July 1st)

The 10th game for Concordia EK was played against the top team of the league and fellow contenders for the title, Ghausia and that too at their home ground which resulted in a highly unlikely 145 run victory for Concordia (considering the ease with which Ghausia has been brushing aside opponents). The two sides had met earlier in the league resulting in Ghausia beating Concordia comfortably by 6 wickets and that too at Concordia's home ground. Our top order and lower order showed incredible batsmanship and application to negate Ghausia's bowling discipline which was followed by another of Srijith's special bowling spells (he is making it a habit this season) resulting in us winning the game.

On a really hot day with temperatures hovering around 27-28 degrees Concordia lost the toss and were asked to bat first (which was a blessing in disguise because the Concordia captain for the first time in the season was unsure about what to do first)

1st Innings - It was actually an innings of two halves

1st half - 22 overs -177/2 (Beautiful batsmanship)

Ghausia's coach cum player from Pakistan (Mudassar Riaz) started proceedings and his third ball was a searing bouncer which took Agam's helmet off while he was shying away. What followed was Agam doing what he does best, what no opener in the league could do with that ferocity and audacity. Agam scored 46 of the next 19 balls which included two 80+ meter sixes of the fast bowler of consecutive balls. Concordia was off to a flier. Shukla had the best seat in the house and played a couple of delightful flicks of Mudassar and Concordia was motoring along at 10 runs an over. Mudassar's first spell was 3 overs 35 for no wickets ! Shukla and Agam got out against the run of play in successive overs and the scoreboard read 8 overs 76 for 2. Concordia had their best batting pair in the middle and they both didn’t disappoint. Charan and Vikram played some exquisite strokes, irrespective of who was bowling and never let the run rate dip below 8 during their stay. They matched each other stroke to stroke and briefly it seemed like an exhibition match and not a pseudo knock-out match (thanks nakul for the term). They shared a 100 run partnership but more importantly there were no edges or chances given by either of them and all looked good and in control. Charan's six over cover, and Vikram's sweep shots of the spinner were the highlights. Both batsmen got to their 50s with boundaries and both looked good to convert this 50 into a big 100.

2nd half- 24 overs- 56/8 (a big collapse followed by application of the highest quality)

Mudassar came for a return spell and wanted to avenge for the initial bashing he got at the hands of Agam. And he did ! Charan got out first, caught by keeper and Vikram got a perfect yorker to leave his stumps in a disarray. Charan scored 50 and Vikram scored his best knock of the season, a well-made 62.  Hari joined Tiggy in the middle following Vikram's dismissal and got out facing his 3rd or 4th ball with the ball flicking the bails. In came Vishal, who had his pads on since the 2nd over considering the captain thought in case of an early collapse Vishal had the technical nous to deal with good fast bowling! Tiggy got out in the next over, failing to connect with a flick/defence off Mudassar. Mudassar had 10 balls to go in his spell and the way he was bowling it seemed he would take a wicket any ball. In walked Sid at number 8 and the first ball beat him even before the bat could come down (in his own words: bat do din baad neeche aya ball ke jane ke baad :P), second ball somehow he managed to get a leg bye and get to the other end to watch Vishal play out the last 2 balls relatively easily.  Next over Sid got adjudged LBW, a bad decision considering there was an inside edge. Manu walked in at 9 and was facing Mudassar who was bowling his last over. After missing a couple of balls, he started doing what he has done this season; walking down the track and trying to sweep or cross bat a fast bowler ! Weird, right? But seems to be working wonders for him this season :P He scored a boundary (a flick) and got 5 wides before getting out lbw to the perfect toe crusher ! Srijith was the next man in and along-with Vishal, showed great composure and technique to bat close to 90 balls (15 overs) together scoring at a snail's pace but it was the need of the hour. Srijith did what he isn't used to doing, blocking balls out and not trying to smash them ! Srijith scored a valuable 7 runs but played out 29 balls for those 7 runs before getting out trying to clear deep midwicket of the spinner (?). Sartaj was the last man in and blocked one ball before he thought 233 was enough and tried to smash the bowler but got out caught at long on. Vishal remained 22 not out of 67 balls, showed great technique and temperament, did not get fazed by anything that was thrown at him

Mixed feelings at the lunch break, 233 was a good score, but after 177 for 2, hmmm not really !
 

2nd Innings - 22.3 overs 88/10 (Srijith did another Srijith) 

Srijith started proceedings and the man was on a mission to get his bearings right at the ground where he was smashed last year, also had a tiff with the captain on the field :P He wanted to make ammends and yes he did. He got the first wicket with Charan taking an easy catch in the slips. From the other end Sid took the wicket of Muneeb (the guy who scored 64* of the most lucky and edgy runs in the defeat to Ghausia at home) caught at point by Shukla.  Shukla kept reminding the batsmen of the scoreboard pressure, and was backed up by Sartaj paji on the leg side who kept asking the batsmen is the ball coming too fast :P Srijith and the wicketkeeper/slips has been the love story of the season so far, more than 50 % of his dismissals have been either caught by keeper or someone in the slip cordon. Shows the discipline and the consistency with which he has asked questions of the batsmen. Srijith buried the game in his 5th over by taking the coach and captain of successive balls. They were identical dismissals, both balls bowled in the channel of uncertainty and taking the faintest of edges to be gobbled up by Manu. Concordia was romping to victory and Srijith had a 5fer inside 10 overs of Ghausia's batting. The scoreboard read 30-6. There was no coming back from this. Sid on the other end was feeling tired after his 6 over spell and was replaced by Shukla. Shukla went for a few runs of his two overs, which included some nice shots, some mishits, some erratic bowling. Srijith bowled 10 overs on the trot and his spell read 10-0-39-7. And this is the best team in the league. Hats off to Srijith, to raise his game every time a tougher opponent appears. Charan and Shukla took a wicket apiece to wrap up the innings and the difference in the end was 145 runs. A thumping win at a ground where the first team underperformed last year !

Highlights:
- Agam's Blitzkrieg at the top
- Solid partnership between Charan and Vikram, beautiful half centuries !
- Mudassar taking a terrific 5 wicket haul and beating people by sheer pace
- A determined and gritty performance by Vishal, showing what he can bring to the team
- A very positive energy on the field
- Srijith (7 wickets), nothing more to be said

Concordia is joint top of the table with Ghausia, and if the league were to end now would be promoted to Hoofdklasse (superior net run rate) But that is not how it works, there are 8 games to go. 8 !!

Focus on one game at a time, not think too far ahead, stay together, fight together and win together !
That will be the key to promotion !

Special thanks to Vidwath and Hari to lend the players that were needed and asked for from their teams. I know it's difficult, but it’s the club that should matter and come first.. The first team has a serious chance now of winning the league and if the need arises we will knock at your door again….

Cheers,
Sid

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