Blazers begin to show their teeth – Almost topple Davis

Match Report by Jimmy

Blazers 145 all out (Natty 60)
Davis 146/8 (Vijay 4 wickets)

It’s been a rough start of the season for Sunnyvale and for Blazers in particular. Trying to chase victories with very little luck. On Sunday though, we came very…very close.

It was great to see Rutvij Bhise back in Sunnyvale colors after a while. Suits him well.

Tejas won the toss for the first time this year and put us in to bat. Jimmy and Natty started in their usual fashion. Playing cautiously optimistic and putting the lose ball away to the boundary.

But the experienced Davis camp didn’t give too many lose deliveries. They started with spin from one end and bowled excellent line and length. Natty was looking in prime form with perfect footwork and shot selection. Jimmy also was playing his usual game and was able to find the fence early.

The pace however got the better of Jimmy as West Indian quickie Rudy snuck one through and uprooted the stumps. Arun A was promoted to #3 given his recent form but feel early to a questionable decision of caught behind. It was a half hearted appeal by the keeper but the umpire decided to send Arun back.

It was time to hunker down and Sparry along with Natty did just that. Both did a great job of playing out Rudy who was looking dangerous with his pace and bounce on a pitch that supported the bowling.

We kept playing our game and by drinks, we were sitting nicely at 40/2. A decent start at Ortega with crucial wickets in hand.

The trend continued till the 24th over when Sparry fell to a soft dismissal – a full toss straight into the hands of short cover. Sathy went in to join the party. Davis was very disciplined with their bowling giving us very little room. They were spin heavy and some of their bowlers were putting crazy revolutions on the ball. We were also up to task and scored the bulk of our runs in 1s and 2s.

A bowling change brought in Davion (west Indian) who is also Sathy’s buddy from Texas. It allowed Sathy to open up his shoulders as he dislodged the ball for a maximum over long on. Natty on the other end was looking more and more fluid.

At drinks, we were 95/3. This was our best session and seemed like the platform was set for a final onslaught.

The final session however wouldn’t deliver all that we had hoped. Sathy was out caught in the 36th over. Anoop went in with some resolve and was able to middle the ball from the get go. However, Natty was given run out when he was clearly in by a foot. That began the change the of momentum.

By this time Davis was getting chippy. Specifically Davion who kept on bothering our youngsters. At one point while he was bowling to Anirudh, the attempted to deliver the ball even before the batsman was ready. Along with that, he kept chatting to try and get into our heads. Sadly some of it got the better of us. Gadde played a couple of great shots but held out at extra cover. Rutvij and Mayank showed good resolve but we ended up all out for 145 in the 46th over.

After lunch, the boys took the field feeling positive. Actually…feeling confident about our chances. Wins have eluded us till date but today, we felt it was in our grasp.

Standing in our way was our very own Vibhav wearing Davis colors. He opened bat and we expected him to be his usual solid self. His opening partner though was shaky from the get go. Gadde sent him back with a superb C&B on the 2nd ball. Davis was 0/1. This was the first time this season that Blazers had the benefit of an early breakthrough and the energy level crept up.

This brought in Davion who had a long day ahead of him. Given his attitude towards us in the first innings, the boys were pumped. There was a lot of banter on the pitch. The difference was that our boys were classy about it. Nothing was directed at the batsman, nothing was made personal and no profanity was used. But still…we began to make our way into the heads of the opponents. It’s an art that is perfected over time 😃

Newcomer Mayank was given the responsibility of the new ball and he did very well to keep the batsmen in check. Hunting in pairs is so critical. Both Gadde and Mayank put the ball in the right spots giving the batsmen no room. Aside from one shot that Davion played for six over mid-on, he was pretty much quiet.

The first missed opportunity for us was when a riser from Mayank caught Davion off-guard and he edged it to the slip cordon. Unfortunately, we didn’t hold on to that catch. Runs were hard to come by though and the pressure was on. As it happens every so often, the pressure of dot balls creates opportunities. In an attempt to sneak in a quick run, the batsmen weren’t on the same page and found themselves both in the same crease. We had our second wicket!

Unfortunately, it was Vibhav’s demise. In a very clear and selfish move, Davion decided to sacrifice Vibhav’s wicket and ran into the crease before Vibhav could make his ground. Clearly it was Vibhav’s call (he said no) but his partner was not on the same page and decided to carry on at Vibhav’s expense.

It was bitter-sweet for us. We had gotten another wicket but this turn of events was hard to swallow as it was one of our own.

In the 11th over, Gadde struck again sending back Jay. On the very next ball, big hitter Saleem edged a short one straight into Anoops’ gloves.

As the game went on, we brought in Rutvij and Sathy to continue the attack. They didn’t disappoint. The Sunnyvale bowling attack was coming forth at full force and all Davis could do was figure out a way to cope.

In the last over before drinks (17th), Sathy bagged another wicket. After 17 overs, Davis was looking shaky at 60/5.

The energy level in our camp was high. We knew that this game could be ours if we played well. On the second ball after drinks, Sathy struck again sending the other west Indian Rudy back on the first ball.

60/6 – We were getting closer.

It was obvious that Davion was the only one in the Davis batting order who was playing well. He played smart. In every over, he would look for an early boundary and then get off strike. A simple 2 ball/5 run strategy would end up paying dividends for Davis.

He did give us one more opportunity at long off but we didn’t hold on to it.

Our bowling made the remaining batting order look very ordinary though. They just couldn’t find way to score runs. All we had to do was keep Davion off strike, keep bowling dot ball and the pressure would do the rest.

We did well and picked up another key wicket at 107/7. Natty was brought into the attack and quickly had Davion (95) trapped LBW.

At the 2nd drinks break, Davis was in trouble at 126/8. Two more wickets and we would bring home our first win.

The day however would not end in our favor. We tried hard…very hard…bowling back to back Maidens..hustling between overs and attacking the ball. But at the end of the day, we just didn’t have enough runs on the board. Another 20-30 runs and this would be a very different result. Davis won with 2 wickets in hand.

Of all the games this season however, this was one game where we felt good about ourselves and our performance. The early breakthrough and picking up wickets at regular intervals did bring us close to victory.

It’s obvious that Elite division is a different ball game and it’s taken us a few games to get accustomed to this level of cricket. But with every game, we see improvement. Davis was the winner of Elite division last year. Coming this close to a defeating them speaks volumes for our team and how far we have come.

Wins are around the corner for us. The boys are working very hard between games to improve performance and it’s beginning to show. Stay tuned for news where we begin dominating other teams.

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