Seamers – 109 ao in 33 lost to Dynamos – 113/4 in 28 overs.
Dynamos were scheduled to play the last game of their season, a rather dismal season to be honest, against Seamers ranked No.3 (?) in the division at home on a warm, but ramping up to be extremely hot sunday. Atif bhai was captaining a side whose other two captains were both on overseas tours! Sanket was sent in for the toss and in spite of losing the toss Dynamos were put into bowl, just like what they wanted. Who would want to bowl second on a day where it was clearly predicted that even if no one batsman was going to make a century, the temperature was going to make one for all of us! Apparently the Seamers captain wanted to test his players endurance in the sun!
On a reasonable outfield both in terms of not too thick a grass cover (thanks to another drought affected Bay Area summer) and not too long boundaries (apparently our league is full of cow cornerers who have been crying foul at our long Ortega boundaries… ), Dynamos opened with Nabeel with his pacy seamers on one side and Ajay D with his wily left arm spinners on the other. It was indeed a tactical decision by the Dynamos captain. Both bowlers for Dynamos started bowling in tandem with beautiful accuracy. Nabeel continuing from his feary spell last week in Tracy, struck in his first over with a nice caught behind from the revelation of the season (at least for Dynamos), ever reliable, Sanket, the keeper. The batsman had no response to Nabeel right from ball one (where he was dropped at Gully). Ajay on the other side was stingy as hell with his bowling only conceding a couple of runs every over till his third where he to struck and you guessed right, it was Sanket again with his swift glove work to get a stumping. It was an excellent display of the spinner and the keeper working in tandem to get a wicket! The no.4 batsman for Seamers was so tall that some of the Dynamos were betting they would find at least one coconut if they could climb to his head (it was that hot guys, really), seemed to know only one way to bat, that is to whack right from ball one. He did succeed hitting a couple of boundaries of Nabeel, but that was too much for Nabeel not to hit back. The next ball came in sharp with extra pace around waist high to the batsman who ended up forcefully pulling the ball a couple of feet away from Asif at midwicket. Asif took a blinder to his left to get the whacker out to get Nabeel his well deserved second wicket. Dynamos now unfortunately had to wait till drinks for any chance of re-hydration!
After having the seamers four down in four overs, Deepak replaced Nabeel on one end and Santosh replaced Ajay on the other. Both of them bowled economically beating the batsmen repeatedly but it was Santosh who bowled a peach of a delivery to uproot the stumps to earn Dynamos their fifth wicket. The ball swung in the air jagged of the pitch and the batsman had no clue as it did all this at a good pace. With Seamers five down, Santosh continued his over and in the last ball the new batsman nudged the ball to midwicket to Deepak and took a start for a quick single, only to be sent back by his partner. But before he could get back, his stumps had been uprooted by a direct hit from midwicket, getting Seamers six down in 15 overs for a very few runs. Asif and Ajay were brought in to bowl in tandem spin at both ends and Ajay continued a wonderful spell of 9-1-22-2, hardly giving any runs from one side. Asif with his well flighted leg rippers had the Seamers middle order stimied and got a wicket with an in dipper. In all this blood bath the No. 5 batsman for Seamers was standing strong on one side as batsmen came and went back on the other. Dynamos captain, Atif who had just started bowling from one end, in another tactical move, brought in Jag to bowl his seamers. It seemed like Atif had everything planned out as Jag struck in his first over, that too by getting the well set no. 5 batsman, that too by cleaning not one but two of his stumps with an in swinging yorker. Atif bhai with his bowling got a wicket, as Deepak at short cover took a one handed blinder of a full fledged lofted drive. Deepak came back in to finish off the last wicket of the Seamers with another caught behind by Sanket (four dismissals total). Seamers were all out for 108. An all round tidy bowling performance supported well by the captain and the keeper and the fielders. The only negative was the number of wides Dynamos had conceded, but since the bowlers were attacking every ball, sometimes they erred too much of the leg side, but since Dynamos keeper was diving around all over the place behind the stumps and was stopping the ball, it was ok (though there was some violence threatened by the keeper at some of the bowlers, who had to appease him after the game with a cold beer!)
Chasing a low total in Ortega is always tricky as Comets had defended two or three low totals last season at Ortega. So Dynamos though confident were cautious. Sanket and Raj B opened for Dynamos. Sanket was unfortunately out to short pacy delivery by the opening Seamers bowler in the very first over, bringing the explosive Jag in to join Raj B. What followed was an exceptional bowling performance from the Seamers’ seam bowlers. They bowled with good pace and bounce with immaculate accuracy. Both the batsmen got hit multiple times by the ball that kept seaming and seering around. But what was more exceptional was how Jag and Raj B tackled this good bowling. They played with common sense, defending the good balls, rotating the strike and occasionally, just for fun, hitting some monstrous sixers. One of Raj’s sixer almost cleared the baseball fence near the Dynamos dugout! Though defense is not a word that Jag ever knew existed in any language, Dynamos were in awe at his resilience to stay in the crease till the end. Raj B after a matured innings got out to a soft dismissal, a leading edge, caught and bowled ending a fifty run partnership for the second wicket with Dynamos almost halfway there. Jag continued on as the Saideep joined him in the middle. If it was wonderful to see maturity in the second wicket partnership it was even more impressive during the third wicket partnership. After a somewhat shaky start, Saideep looked in prime touch as he continued what Raj B had left off, fending off some really good deliveries and rotating the strike often. Jag having spent a lot of time in the crease, started unravelling some of his classic boundaries but unfortunately got out to a good ball after making a nice forty. Saideep and Jwal had a small partnership before Saideep was bowled of another good ball. Dynamos captain Atif bhai walked in and walked out, no he did not get out, he just finished the game that quick. Scoring 19 runs in no time with a boundary and a humongous six. Jwal remained not out and helped Dynamos to another victory, a clinical victory indeed in just 28 overs with six wickets in hand.
Though Dynamos had lost at least three or four very close games earlier in the season, the few victories towards the end of the season have indeed boosted their morale. The team spirit and chemistry were clearly abundant in the last few games on the field. It looks like it takes a while to build a new team with new members, but once its built its like OPPOSITE of Jag’s bats, it never breaks… Hmmm… who would have thought that cricket was a team game!