Hari stars in Concordia’s 77-run victory
Concordia managed to comprehensively beat Punjab 4 in a crucial encounter which was a fitting reply to the loss that they had suffered earlier in the tournament. The in-form batsman Hari carried on from where he had left off in the previous game and the opening batsman Arun and middle order batsman Prashant gave a solid foundation for the team to build a competitive total of 236. The opening bowler Aayush and the leggie Prashant chipped in with 3 wickets each to seal the deal and give Concordia that all important win.
Apart from the coin not falling in Dada’s favour, everything else went according to plan for Concordia. When the visitors won the toss, they had initially chosen to bat first but changed their mind (as Faizal shouted “Dada bowling” from outside the boundary and confused the visitor captain) and decided to put the home team into bat as the two captains made their way back to the dressing rooms.
It was one of the best days for a game of cricket with the sun shining all day long. It was time for the Concordia openers to show what this champion team is made of. Arun and Rajeev started off on a cautious note seeing off the swing bowling of the opening bowlers of Punjab. After a couple of close shouts against Rajeev, he was given out of a nick to the keeper. However the decision was a bit harsh considering the fact that the ball might have touched the mat before being collected by the keeper. The scoreboard read 12 for 1 after 4 overs. Then in came the in-form batsman Hari. With a lot of expectations on his shoulders, he delivered the goods yet again. He took complete charge of the innings and dictated the Punjab bowling on his own terms. Not only did he impress all of us with his stylish cover drives but also his trademark back foot punches onto the leg side were worth admiring. Keeping a calm head and executing his shots to perfection, Hari paced his innings brilliantly. On the other end, Arun was complementing Hari perfectly with his sweetly-timed shots. The pair put on a massive partnership of 135 runs between them to take Concordia to a position of strength. After being hammered so much, there was some sort of relief for the visitors in the 28th over as Arun got out for a well deserved 48. With the stage perfectly set, in came Prashant to join Hari at the middle. Both batsmen kept milking the bowlers and the scoreboard kept ticking along for a couple of overs before Hari was adjudged LBW of the bowling of G.Singh (decision given in the right spirit of the game as it was plumb). Hari walked back after a brilliant knock of 80. It was now time for the star batsman of Concordia to take guard. As always, Sajju did not waste much time before he got his first boundary. Meanwhile Prashant was looking good for another big innings as he cleared the boundary over mid-on for a superb six. High on confidence, both Sajju and Prashant had a brilliant coordination between them showcasing their athleticism while running the hard doubles. At the 33 over mark, both of them decided to have a crack at the Punjab bowlers in an attempt to accelerate the innings. The run rate climbed up suddenly with 33 runs being scored within a span of 4 overs (33rd to 36th). When it was just starting to look like Concordia would bat the visitors out of the game, unfortunately Sajju got out to Hamza Din. Aiming for a good strong finish towards the end, the captain decided to walk in and support Prashant to get the team up to a formidable total. Dada supported well and Prashant finished with a mature innings of 46*. He showed that no bowling attack is good enough to go past Concordia’s middle order that is as tough as ‘Steel’. Aayush was all padded up with some hope that he could get a single chance to bat. But he was not destined to get his chance this time around (Better luck next time). As the home team finished their innings on a high, they looked more confident of the two teams at the halfway stage.
Having to chase such a daunting target, the Punjab batsmen needed to go at around 6 runs per over right from the start. There was a slight change in plan as Hari decided to put on the keeping gloves instead of our regular keeper Rajeev. Looking fully determined as a unit, Concordia walked into the field with Dada passing on his inspirational messages and letting his team mates know about his plans for approaching the second half of the game at the team huddle. Pallav and Aayush started off pretty well keeping the Punjab batsmen quiet without giving away many runs. Aayush struck in his second over with a perfectly in-swinging delivery that went on to hit the stumps to send one of their openers back into the shed. The opening bowlers bowled well in tandem and the scoreboard read 35 for 1 after 10 overs. The required run rate was climbing up and pressure was starting to build on the visitors. After the 10 over mark, Ashim was brought on from one end and the offie Nakul from the other end. Ashim opened his account in the wickets column (his first of this season) as he sent the off stump for a roll. He was rewarded for his disciplined line and length bowling. From the other end, Nakul proved to be a touch expensive conceding 20 runs in his first two overs. At that stage, Dada surprised us by bringing on Rajeev who hadn’t bowled a single ball so far in the league. This move was a success as Bahubali proved to be the most economical bowler conceding just a single of his one over. At this stage, Dada decided to turn to his ace leg spinner Prashant to baffle the Punjab batsmen with his craft and guile. The leggie was getting good bounce and turn and he made good use of the conditions to trap the Punjab batsmen with his variations. One of the deliveries turned viciously and Hari was lightening quick behind the stumps to take off the bails as the batsman was clearly outside his crease (Rajeev was mighty impressed with Hari’s stumping). Ashim and Prashant finished with impressive figures of 2 for 26 and 3 for 39 in their quota of 8 overs. As the wickets kept coming and the runs dried up, Nakul was brought back into the attack and he was successful in luring the batsman to reach out to the delivery that turned quite a bit and Hari did the rest by taking the bails off in a flash. Dada decided to go for the kill as he brought back his opening bowlers to wrap up the tail. Pallav and Aayush did not disappoint their captain as they kept the Punjab batsmen at bay and did not allow any big boundary shots. Aayush was the pick of the bowlers at the end of his spell as he finished with his best figures of the season so far (3 for 20 in his 6.4 overs).
This win was a crucial one and escalated the confidence of the home team and imbibed a feeling that the team was peaking at the right time.
I hope we keep winning like this!!
· Hari’s fluent and elegant innings of 80.
· Significant contributions from Arun and Prashant with the bat
· Sajju’s late innings flourish as always
· Aayush’s best figures of this season picking up 3 wickets for just 20 runs in 6.4 overs
· Hari’s brilliant keeping which impressed Bahubali
· Last but not the least, Dada with his captaincy was spot on with his on-field decisions.