Blazing in the middle
So my team Colorado Springs finished 2nd overall in the league due to points, or lack thereof. We finished with a stunning 10-2 record, equal to the champs Fort Collins, also equal with 1 win a-piece against each other. But they had the points.
We marched into Round 1 of the playoffs against a somewhat stronger CCCC-Green team. 2nd vs 7th, but you wouldn’t know it. I think they struggled with availabilities much of the season. We started well enough, about 1 down for 40 odd at the first drinks break. Surprise was Aravind Giri who was getting runs at the top. He even put away a couple boundaries, very unlike him! Kalpesh was batting good, but he is a bloody awesome batsman and we’re getting used to it.
But then things went wrong. Aravind out. Kalpesh out. Raymond out. Ritesh out. Ritesh was looking really good, he had smashed 46* (32) the weekend before on arguably the biggest ground in the league. Today he pulled up with a muscle strain in his leg, it seemed to shake him. He was bowled immediately after that.
So here I am, score 74/5, joining Kervyn to try and rescue the innings. We were in a really dangerous position. While we have batters going down to 11, we were the last two to really put up significant scores this year. I am sure the rest would have, but it’s hard when you come in with 2 overs to go and score any more than 10 or 15.
I’ve changed as a batsman. Initially I was tentative and watchful, I was scared to get out. Problem was, on many occasions, I got out. The 37* against DSCC earlier this year changed me. I followed it up with 26* (10) to secure the miracle finish against CCCC-Gold.
Then I scored 58* (57), my first fifty, when we were gone at 28/6. Kalpesh scored 97 while I pretty much watched during out 101 run partnership. When he left I took over. Tonking the leagues best around the park and over it does good things to a man’s confidence.
Back to today, I was seeing the ball clearly immediately. It didn’t matter that the opening bowlers were brought in to get me out. It didn’t matter that I averaged 10.33 against these guys. I am a different player. 2nd ball, BANG, straight over the bowlers head for four. I saw that coming as if I had already faced 50 deliveries. Just before the 2nd drinks break I hit successive fours to really turn the session back our way. First ball was short into my rib area, I swiveled and shot-arm-pulled it for four. I’m starting to play better to short balls. All Aussies should, really…
Next ball full on my pads and the midwicket fence was found. After resumption I flicked another fine for four, and then the beauty, a shorting ball outside off from their quickest was met with a shot on the up over cover. The timing was sweet. I nicked the next ball behind pre-meditating the next one to be straighter. In hindsight I should have hit the exact same shot. But the damage was done, I had scored 36 from 24 with 5 boundaries. Every other time batting with Kervyn he was the aggressor, not today. We shared a 68 run stand in no time and took the score into safety. 142/6. What I am most proud about is the fact I seem to be hitting boundaries to all parts of the ground. Today: straight, square leg, mid wicket, fine leg and deep extra cover. Nice.
Kervyn got out really quick, and we were actually in danger again. But my man Keshav (one of those who bats but doesn’t get much opportunity) finished with 24*, his High Score, to get us to 179/8.
In the field, we knew Green couldn’t get 180 on our ground. I mean, they have talent, but all round, we were too strong this year. For a while they were looking great, only 2 down for about 90 at one stage. Problem was the run rate was too slow and the required rate had sky rocketed. And we proceeded to take the next 6 wickets in no time. Again I was unlucky bowling, today I only had 2 sitters dropped. I mean real sitters. I did get a wicket and we won by 40 odd runs.
Onward to the Sluggers!
So, go read the official match report.