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Men In Blue CC vs City Lions CC


Set in the backdrop of a windy and humid day, the Men In Blue started off on a good note with, Sanjeev Tiwari, the Captain, winning the toss and electing to bat first, and with a clear intent of setting up a competitive target for the challengers City Lions CC at Vidreres Cricket Ground located in Girona. 


Naresh Kumar and Karuppasamy Soundarapandian, opening the batting for Men In Blue, started the contest with confidence and provided a good start in the absence of the regular openers Shankar and Snehith. Both the opening batters looked confident and well set already in the first over, where Soundarapandian went on to find the ropes thrice, with 2 crafted boundaries and 1 well structured maximum to conclude the first over of the game with 17 runs. The Men In Blue faced their first setback by losing Naresh in the second over of the game, halting the opening partnership stand at 18 runs. Next in, is the trusted and consistent Shubhdeep Deb at number 3. 


In the third over, Soundarapandian who looked destructive fell short of his luck as he edged the ball and a brilliant running catch from the opposition fielder saw him return to the dugout with 14 runs to his account. The Men In blue now eagerly needed a partnership and to this resolve they sent in their most experienced wicket-keeper batsman Prasanna Jathan at number 4. A seasoned veteran player in the team who understands the game situation, has a range of shot selections and can find his way through without taking risks. 


Both the batters, playing their usual quality shots and taking the game to the opposition made it to the first drinks break in the 10th over. Men In Blue stands at 56/2 after 10. 


After the drinks break, the Men In Blue faced another setback in the 12th over of the game, their experienced batter Prasanna fell to a good fielding effort and departed the crease back to the dugout with 18 runs to his account. 


Ram Kranthi in his first game of the season, finds himself walking to the middle at number 5 as he is promoted up the order. The Captain has entrusted him with his faith and confided in his batting potential to help build a partnership with Shubhdeep who has been playing brilliantly at the other end. Both the batters Shubhdeep and Ram slowly started to thrive under the pressure. Using their skills and agility to navigate through the field and scoring boundaries on a consistent basis they pushed the opposition in a corner. At the second drinks break, both the batters took to the game like a fish takes to water, well settled and well poised to take on the next 10 overs. Men In Blue were at 126/3 in 20 overs. 


During the last 10 overs, the batters crossed the fence over 16 times while maintaining a healthy flow of runs from both ends. The consolidated effort of both the batters with playing an effective mix of calculated and aggressive shots and a well paced innings helped them put up an unbeaten 180* run partnership for the 5th wicket. This is the highest batting partnership for Men In Blue for any wicket in all forms of the game. A brilliant 101* from Shubhdeep and 82* from Ram Kranthi saw the Men In Blue post a mammoth total of 243/3 after the end of 30 overs of play. 


The Men In Blue have been set up to a competitive and fighting total, exactly what the Captain asked for, the batsmen have done their job, and now it is over to the bowlers to win the game for Men In Blue, and to remain unbeaten in the league. A win here will allow the Men In Blue to hold their position at the top of the group table. All to play for, all to win.


A daunting task for the City Lions CC to chase. At the helm of the attack from Men In Blue is, the Sahyadri Express, Abhishek Borikar. With wind running down his long hair locks, Abhishek runs down the pitch. With his ability to swing the new ball, he can test any batter to their limits. The City Lions CC batters played with caution, end of the first over and City Lions CC were 5 for no loss. 


Laxminarayan, a senior and experienced player for the Men In Blue is ready to share the new ball with Abhishek. After a 4 over spell by Abhishek and Laxminarayan, the City Lions CC were ahead of the bowlers by quickly scoring 30 runs without any risks thus far. To effect a change and to break this growing partnership, the Captain introduces Soundarapandian and Naresh to the bowling attack. Entering the attack in the 5th and the 6th over respectively, both players did not take long before finding a wicket each in their respective second overs. Soundarapandian in the 8th over, hit the deck hard and fast and was successful in hitting the top of the off-stump to dismiss the opening batter for the City Lions CC. Shortly after, Naresh set up the second wicket in the 9th over, through constant variations that unsettled the batter to play a shot which found the captain of the Men In Blue, who made no mistake in taking a brilliant catch. City Lions were 52/2 after the end of 9th over. 


10th over, Soundarapandian back into the attack in the first ball of 10th over, deceives yet another batsman with a slower ball hitting the woodwork, as he claims his second wicket. As the bowling unit started taking control of the game, the fielders also swept into the action. The 10th over saw a brilliant display of fielding effort, a direct hit at the keepers end all the way from long-off saw the batter walking back to the dugout, Men In Blue’s youngster Nikhil flexing his arm and punching the air in elation. End of the 10th over, City Lions CC were 60/4, and it was time to take drinks and think of the next 20 overs and 6 batters to come. 


Hydrated and feeling refreshed, the team walks back to their fielding marks and are ready for the next hour and a half of action. Considering the condition of the ball and the movement it had to offer, the Captain brings back Abhishek into the attack, and Abhishek delivers by picking up the 5th wicket with a brilliant delivery, beating the batsman and knocking the stumps in the 13th over. The following over saw another brilliant delivery from Naresh hitting the stumps as the 6th wicket fell for the City Lions CC at the score of 93. 


The 15th and 16th over saw the introduction of a prodigal and an experienced bowler, Nikhil and Rinku Sihol. Rinku Sihol, in his second over set the batsman up with a slower delivery, which caught the outside edge only to fly behind to the short third man where substitute fielder Harihar took a flying catch to get Rinku his first wicket and Men In Blue their 7th wicket. City Lions CC were 125/7 and the game now within reach of the Men In Blue bowling unit.


However, the batters of City Lions CC were not ready to give up so easily. The next 10 overs tested the wits, skills and patience of the Men In Blue bowlers. The City Lions CC put up a fighting 8th wicket stand with an intent to change the outcome and the fate of the match. As the bowlers struggled to find a wicket and break the partnership, the batsmen continued to keep scoring runs around the park putting pressure back on the fielding side. City Lions CC have managed to pull themselves out of the hole, and they needed 20 runs off the last 2 overs. Malik Ali batting at number 8 was probably playing the innings of his career for this team, by scoring 92 runs off mere 55 balls. 


The asking rate of 10 per over in 29th over did not look daunting anymore and the batters with a 100 run partnership under their belt felt comfortable to bring this home for City Lions CC. The Captain tossed the ball over to the experienced Rinku Sihol. Rinku showed his bowling brilliance and game presence by giving only 5 runs in the 29th over. 15 runs separate the two sides with one last over to bowl. 


The Captain looks to his bowling unit and places his trust in the experience of Laxminarayan, who had an off day so far with the ball, giving away 36 runs in his last 3 overs. With 3 wickets in hand and a batsman batting at 95 runs off 60 balls, the City Lions fancied their chances, but there was Laxminarayan in their path. Laxminarayan broke the 100 run partnership with his second ball off the over, and knocked the leg stump out of the park. New batter at the crease, and 15 to get off 4 balls. The batter desperately looked for a single to put the in-form Malik Ali on strike but Laxminarayan strikes the stumps again, 2 in 2 for Laxminarayan, and he is on a hat-trick. 15 needed off 3 balls, and Men In Blue needed 1 wicket to get on top of the league table. A leg bye and a dot ball sealed the fate of the game in the favour of Men In Blue. The match is concluded as Pratik throws the ball to Prasanna who quickly takes the bails off to dismiss the last City Lions batter when trying to chase a single. The City Lions are all sent back to their dugout after 30 overs and 230 runs, falling short by 13 runs to the victorious Men In Blue.


The Men In Blue, were elated with their victory and embraced their emotions, huddled together to appreciate and applaud the efforts from all the 3 departments – batting, bowling and fielding, with special mentions for the match winners in Shubhdeep, Ram, Soundarapandian, Laxminarayan and Rinku Sihol. Shubhdeep Deb was the Man of the Match for his outstanding and unbeaten 101*. 


With a brilliant performance, valuable experience and new learnings, the Men In Blue found themselves on top of the league table and humbly returned to their dugout before they venture out on their next league game. 


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One thought on “Men In Blue CC vs City Lions CC

  1. One of the best matches played so far this year in the legue….
    Shub & Ram amazing overall play buddies….the whole time you guys were batting our dug out was full of exicted faces, cheers and lot of agrression to having it played till end…
    Big thanks and hats off to Rinkuji and Laxmi ji for stealing the game in last two overs of yours….nothing can match that!!!

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