Concordia eased to a 5 wicket victory after the bowlers wrapped up VRA for a paltry 101 all out in 31 overs, in a rain-curtailed 37 overs-a-side game. After a shaky start to the chase, Shukla and Siddarth finished the game with 16 overs to spare, ending with 18* and 31*. Gul and Waziri started proceedings for VRA, with Gul picking up 2 wickets in the first over of the chase with Srisai and Hari getting out for a duck. Agam, at the other end, after blasting the first 2 balls for boundaries, fell for 9 in the fourth over to a ball that kept low. Tiggy at 4 and Shukla at 5 eased some of the pressure off by playing out a threatening spell of fast bowling by the young Gul. Tiggy unfortunately got out LBW for 5 to Waziri in the 8th over with the score reading 31 for 4. Vikram, in at number 5 played a few exquisite shots amidst watchful defending. Gul finished with figures of 2 for 12 in 6, and Waziri with 2 for 26 in 5. After this, runs started coming more freely, with Shukla and Vikram taking charge. Vikram got out for 24 after mistiming a lofted drive. This brought in Sid to the crease with the score reading 68 for 5. Sid and Shukla took Concordia to the finish line in the 21st over, thanks to some reckless short-pitched bowling and horrible catching. (Their chants of ‘you are not playing in Concordia/home/Delft’ did not bode well with their fielding display as VRA couldn’t hold on to a single catch, which included some sitters, in their home ground)
Earlier in the day, the rain gods decided to play spoilsport, as both the teams were greeted with heavy rains for around half an hour just before the start of play. After a couple of inspections, the match finally started, with each side playing 37 overs instead of the allotted 40 per side. VRA had won the toss and decided to bat first, even before it had started raining. The rains made VRA rue their decision even more, as they were batting first in a rain-hit slow and soggy wicket. Siddharth and Srijith started proceedings as usual for Concordia. Alvi and Wylie, the opening batsmen of VRA found the going tough with the ball not coming on to the bat easily. Alvi, the uglier batsmen of the two, was blessed with lots of luck, as a lot of skiers fell in no mans land. Bot the opening bowlers were denied with the breakthrough, Sid being denied of an edge to the keeper and Sri, an LBW that looked plumb in front. After 9 wicketless overs, Shukla and Antony replaced them and were met with immediate success, the first wicket of Alvi falling in the 13th over to Antony with the score at 41. Antony was bowling with deadly precision, the ball skidding and moving off the wicket, whereas Shukla was being his wily self, varying the pace and deceiving the batsmen with speed and spin. At the end of the 21st over, the score read 61 for 6, with Antony and Shukla ripping through the middle order. The highlight was Antony getting 3 batsmen clean bowled during his match-winning spell of 4 for 17. Shukla finished with a couple of wickets to his name. Srini mama and Srijith bundled up the tail, with Prashanth ending with 3 wickets and Srijith with 1. A couple of overs in between by Tiggy went unnoticed by either teams. Apart from the openers (one of whom played till the 25th over and made 23) and the number 10 (who hit one "out-of-the-park”), no-one else reached double figures and they were all out for 101 in the 31st over. Unfortunately for them, the total was way below par for Gul and co. to make a game out of it.
One win in the 3 remaining games to be played this season would guarantee a top-2 finish for Concordia, giving them a much-deserved promotion.
1. The beautiful VRA ground.
2. Antony ripping through the middle order ably supported by Shukla.
3. Good skier caught by Srijith and Vikrams keeping
4. Guls opening over and the opening spell.
5. Shukla/Chatur/Sid seeing the team home
Image: Gul steaming in left-arm-over to SriSai, who got out this very ball.