Olten 207-9ao (40.0 overs) beat Winterthur 193ao (38.0 overs) by 14 runs
Obergösgen, 9th April 2017
by Selva G. Ganesh
Mo almost pulls off a heist at Obergösgen. Mohamed, with the company of dodged lower order, dragged the team almost over the line, last Sunday in the friendly game against Olten CC. Olten CC's player of the day, Gauri, held his nerve in the penultimate over and castled Mohamed to leave WCC short of what could have been an incredible heist.
WCC had slid to 79 for 5, after the top order had flopped, when Mohammed joined Ruan in the chase and the score line soon became 81 for 6 with Ruan, unfortunately, being run out. WCC went into drinks break at 87 for 6, when Sahan launched his second ball over long off.
After the drinks break, Sahan was out soon bowled around his legs as he shuffled little too much. From then on Mohamed took it upon himself to guide the chase with only the lower order for his company. He swept and slog swept his way, on a slow spongy wicket, towards the target. Suhash played a useful hand in a 30-run partnership before perishing to a leading edge. Niloj joined Mohamed and started scoring freely, as he sent the ball over the boundary twice in two overs. Niloj was impressive as he played straight and chose the right ball to attack. He was out against the run of play, caught at midwicket to a ball that stopped on him.
What followed was the most impressive phase of the chase. With the last man, Shijo, in, Mohamed played out 13 straight dot balls, including a maiden. Mohamed slowed the game down, calmed nerves and encouraged Shijo to block as they took the game deep. The pair played out their better bowlers1 as Olten pushed to close out the game early. Cricket games need not, always, be won with sixes and fours! With 42 to win 0f 30 balls, Mohamed farmed the strike and opened his shoulder to slog sweep repeatedly for runs. Shijo played with a cool head and the pair had brought the equation down to 14 off the last two overs, when Gauri killed the game.
It was a glorious day to start another game for the season and WCC arrived to a lot of sunshine at Obergösgen. With some of the teammates visiting the ground for the first time, the ground surely did surprise them and more so when the 30 (!) yard circle was put up to facilitate the power play. After the warm up and the customary talk, WCC lost the toss and were asked to field first.
With power play rules and considering the odd shape of the ground, WCC started with only one fielder outside the circle. Niloj and Shijo started the day with fiery spell of fast bowling that hustled the Olten top order.Niloj struck in the very first over and delivered an impressive opening spell of 5 overs conceding only 12 runs in the power play. He would then return in death overs to clean up the tail to finish the day with three wickets. Olten top order responded with some lusty blows over the top and clearing the boundary a couple of times. Shijo accounted for another Olten batsman, Ruben, which was as much Kasun's wicket as it was Shijo's to stem the flow of runs. Kasun intercepted bullet of a drive to take a sharp catch at short extra cover. (That took some catching!).
Shahid, Olten's skipper, played sensibly and tried to build a partnership other batsmen around him. He would occasionally walk down the pitch to launch the balls straight over the boundary. Sahan, bowling first change, struggled for his line and conceded few extras before settling into a line during his four over spell. Jagadh, as impressive as ever, bowled a tight length to price out another Olten batman. He was unlucky2 not have added at least two other wickets against his name. He finished his spell with 5-0-12-1. Shijowas brought back for the second spell to take out Shahid and he responded in the second ball to send him back. Clean bowled! ("Apparently a ball that would work every 9 balls" – Any clue!?)Very next ball, he should have had Gauri caught behind, only to be turned down by the umpires. A nick3 that was impossible to miss! One of the many incidents to go to the postscript. Gauri would go on to make an impressive half century. Shijowould finish another high quality fast bowling spell that read 4-0-6-1.
After Shahid dismissal and a drinks break, WCC turned to the part timers to try out different combinations and work out options for the season. Amin bowled a good line of medium pace and stuck in his first over. Ruan struggled with his line, but foxed the batsmen with well guised slower deliveries quite a few times. Suhash bowled a steady spell, even slipping in a wicket maiden. KasunMuralitharan was unlucky –had a catch dropped and could have taken out the batsman, at boundary, thrice inhis first over. Dipi bowled at death with good pace - bowling a maiden and a scorching Yorker to send stumps for a walk. Olten CC were all out for 207 in 39.4 overs.
WCC began their innings, knowing well that they have a decent batting line up that would chase down the score, if they bat out the allocated 40 overs. Kasun and Ruan began the innings well. They played cautiously against the disciplined Olten attack. Kasun struggled to adapt to the slow wicket and just when he looked settled for long innings, he was tricked by an enticing sucker delivery from Sheeraz ,that followed six consecutive wides, to be caught at slips by Jaso for 5. Selva didn’t hang around too long and was caught at cover for two of Sheeraz, trying to clear infield. Praf started his innings with a scorching cover drive and looked comfortable in the middle. His innings was cut short at seven by a stunning catch at midwicket. Jagadhwas caught behind for one. Dipi announced his arrival with a monstrous hit over cover for a six. Next ball he tried another one over long on which he could not connect. Jaso then bowled what any half decent bowler would do – slower full delivery on the stumps. Dipi tried another monstrous hit over long on – he missed and Jaso hit! Dipiscore card read 6.W and WCC 79 for 5.
Amongst all of the top order struggling for runs, Ruan stood apart and stood tall. He played a mature innings and held the innings together at one end. His footwork was impressive and leant into the ball nicely.He was clearly the best batsman of the day. He skipped down the wicket occasionally to take chances and cleared the infield to keep the score moving. He lofted a six over the straight boundary off Jaso. There was no other way he could have got out, except when Mohamed called him for a non-existing single, to leave him well short of his crease. WCC 81 for 6 and Mo took over.