The rematch - CSCC vs Gold Match Report
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Michael Doig's inspired spell of 8-0-21-4 wrapped CCCC-Gold to 90 all out.
COLORADO SPRINGS -- The eagerly awaited rematch between Colorado Springs CC (CSCC) and Coal Creek CC Gold (Gold) finally took place Saturday, July 9th, 2005. The uneducated reader would not be privy to the first round result, I'll direct such people to the Round 1 Match Report. In a nutshell, a controversial finish to a very cold opening day meant the game was officially called off before it's completion. A rematch would be scheduled somewhere further into the season. That rematch was Saturday.
History shows that CSCC, formerly known as One World CC (OWCC), had not beaten Gold since the season of 2000. The late 90's had been some of the glory days for the OWCC lads, a championship here, an unbeaten season there. All accumulating dust in the collective memories of but a few. In the successful 1999 campaign against Gold, OWCC managed 2 close victories by the total margin of 14 runs. Another 4 run margin was followed in 2000, again in favour of the OWCC boys. A slightly larger margin followed the very next round, before Gold finally exacted revenge in the 2001 season. Yes, you guessed it, it was a close one. Gold won by 6 runs.
Ever since then it is fair to say Gold has held the ace card when playing OWCC. Those glorious days of gritty, hard fought and close matches were fading into distant memory. For the next 4 seasons Gold maintained a perfect record against the boys from OWCC.
There were whispers of change midway through the 2004 season, as prolific all-rounder Ashok Lakshmanan and newcomer Michael Doig reduced the perenially strong Gold lineup to tatters. A resurgance from Shaukat Jani and Rohit Madhok helped the Gold score along to respectability. In reply OWCC were truly never in the hunt, although a promising 7th wicket partnership ignited hope for a time, but quenched quickly at the fall of the next wicket.
In the Semi Final of the 2004 season a partnership of 182 between centurion Rajesh Mosur and Rohit Madhok seemed to have spelled certain doom upon the visiting OWCC as they rattled along to a score of 255 in their allotted overs. Periods of the OWCC innings looked promising, at one point 64/1 and another a 47 run 7th wicket partnership, but they were to fall short by 41 runs. And thus completed the perfect 4 seasons for Gold.
On this warmer day Govind Unkalkar called right for Gold and elected to bat. The two Rajesh's, Mosur and Solanki, began proceedings for the batting side. The former fresh from a well made 53 the week before, the latter a bit of a surprise but one who had safely negated the most in-form new ball bowler Vaibhav Madhok 2 weeks prior. For CSCC Kervyn Dimney and Michael Doig opened the attack.
Doig struck with only his third ball as Solanki, believing the ball would swing away, attempted an extravagent heave only to find the ball seam back between bat and body and uproot the leg stump from the turf below. The score, 2/1. Vijay Venkatesh was next in, a man who has shown much promise this season. With the spate of low scores across the league, it is a tough season to debut in as a batsman. Bowlers are loving it. Venkatesh did not last long as he was trapped in front by a quicker one from Doig for 2 runs, and the score was 10/2. With the 2nd drop Rohit Madhok entering, surely visions drifted back to the previous season encounters where he had starred more with the bat than ball.
A couple played and missed outside off drew a few ooh's and aah's, before Madhok found the middle of his bat on a couple defensive prods. However Doig's joy against Gold top order batsman continued as Madhok mistimed a shot over mid on and found the safe hands of a racing Keshav Murthy. Doig had taken the first 3 wickets again to leave Gold reeling at 13/3. The year before he had taken the first 3 to leave Gold at 12/3. It doesn't take a superstitious reader to marvel at the likeness of the two games. Aravind Gupta joined Mosur and the pair safely made it to the first drinks break.
The game continued in starkly similar resemblance to the same match the year prior. Then, the 4th wicket fell at 31, here it fell at 25. Then, the 5th wicket fell at 45, here it was 38. First, Gupta was bowled by a stunner from Kalpesh Bhakta for 1. The ball was likened to that of Steve Waugh's pearler that beat Brian Lara's blade in the 1996 Wills World Cup Semi Final. Lara and Gupta each shared disbelieving moments fixated to the rattled timber before departing. Second, Sam George was trapped in front by Shadakshari Chikkanna after an enterprising innings of 9. George had obviously been given the green light to attack, and attack he did, for a time. He had been lucky to have survived a spilled sitter from the usually reliable Mukesh Patel, however Patel is sporting a hurt finger of some proportion, and it is understandably well bandaged.
Captain Unkalkar joined Mosur, and when the two are batting it is easy to see there is no lack of communication gap between the two. This reporter would like to someday watch the two bat for an extended period, so long as the opponent is another. The match finally reverted from the tracks of yesteryear, where the Gold middle order had completely owned the middle session and batted into safety. This time around Mosur's out-of-sorts innings came to an end when he was found in front off the bowling of Bhakta. His marathon innings of 69 balls had yielded 8 runs. He was to make amends the following day against Littleton CC. But today the score was 44/6 and ex-captain Swadeep Pagadala was charged with joining the current captain to rescue the operation.
Pagadala's attitude appeared similar to George's, as his first ball was smashed hard and slightly to the right of Keshav at mid off. He unfortunately spilled the rocket, and Gold players breathed a collective sigh of relief. In fact, this reporter could not hear Gold players at all during this phase of the game. Unkalkar was his typical beligerant self, you would never ask him to go in and up the tempo of a game, as he is going to do that anyway. He smashed the only boundary of the innings, a short ball that disappeared to the square leg vicinity. Once Unkalkar added those runs to take the team total past 50, Pagadala perished to his 2nd delivery by edging Chikkanna to 1st slip where Robert Lezama juggled it but held on. 51/7 became 56/8 as Chikkanna followed up by bowling Naim Hakim for a duck. From here the innings could easily have ended very quickly after that, but Unkalkar, Surya Tummala and Prakash Jain valiantly fought all the way to the final ball. Unkalkar led from the front with 20 before edging to first slip, Tummala remained unbeaten on 12 and Jain was runnout from the final ball for 6. For CSCC Doig took 4 wickets, Chikkanna 3 and Bhakta 2.
Chasing a sub 100 score is never easy against the Gold lineup. Gold is renowned for defending any score, fighting tooth and nail until the very end. There are certainly a number of battle scarred teams going about the league wondering how they could not pull off victory against this unit. So with this knowledge in the backs of their minds, CSCC began their innings with the New Mexico lads Bhakta and Patel. Gold opened with leading wicket taker Unkalkar and Madhok.
It took absolutely no time for Madhok to strike, trapping Patel in front the very first ball he faced. When defending a small score it is so vital to take a very early wicket. Gold did this, and for the second time that day the scoreboard read 2/1. The next man Anant Kota joined Bhakta, making his CCL debut. Anant is a new resident to Colorado, if he was wondering why the scores have been so low this year he soon found out why. Both Unkalkar and Madhok found good purchase on the pitch, as had Doig and Dimney earlier, however the breakthrough just wasn't coming. Bhakta took special liking to Madhok's bowling and by using the ariel route found a number of two's and three's. The breakthrough, if you may call it that, came via unorthodox means as Kota pulled up with a strained leg muscle, which forced him from the ground. Dashing replacement Vicky Chugh joined Bhakta, both teams knowing all well that a quickfire 15 or 20 from Chugh would likely seal the match.
Unkalkar had other ideas. Deceiving Chugh with a slightly slower but fuller one, Chugh swiped across the line and missed. The ball hit his pads and the finger went up. He lasted but three balls and only scored a single, and now the scorecard read 18/2. CSCC captain Dimney joined Bhakta, however it was to be a short partnership. Five runs later Bhakta misjudged a slightly short one from Unkalkar and played on. The score was 23/3 and Gold players were as animated as ever. They had three crucial wickets, but this one was the prize. Kota rejoined the action in the middle, his leg still obviously hindering him. Together with Dimney they survived through the drinks break and continued on past the 50.
The score of 51 proved to be a bad omen for 3 batsman this day, earlier Pagadala had perished there, now both Dimney and Kota were back in the pavilion on the same score. First Pagadala took revenge for his dismissal there by enducing Dimney to hole out by sweeping into the deep for 9. Mosur, rightfully one of the top 3 fielders in the league, made absolutely no mistake as he first ran and then perfectly judged the bullet from Dimney. The next over Unkalkar bowled Kota and the nerves rang high within the CSCC camp. Kota played a very important innings of 22 on debut, however would be disappointed he didn't go further on his first big day out.
Robert Lezama and Raymond Mascarenhas were asked to bring it home, however with the score on 62 Lezama made a mess of his furniture with a messy attempt at a pull shot from the bowling of Hakim. The game was very much on, Chikkanna joining Mascarenhas, the players in the pavilion fixated to the action and updating the scoreboard after every run. Chikkanna and Raymond playing with cool heads, absolutely nothing given away thus causing the scoring to trickle. Nonetheless, the score was reaching the requirement.
For an added twist, a climax of excitement, Madhok enduced the edge of Mascarenhas when the scores were level and found Solanki in the slips. Solanki pouched the low but tough offering forcing Doig to trek to the middle to finish formalities. Madhok steamed in however offered one down the leg side which Doig gleefully flicked to fine leg for the needed run.
CSCC had won with 3 wickets and 4.3 overs to spare. It was a deserving and important win as the middle of the season is a tough one for CSCC. For Gold, they were now facing the fact that they had lost 3 straight and were desperate to turn things around. They would get their chance the following day in Littleton.
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