Report by Vijay Sundaresan
Asteroids Vs UC Warriors at Ortega
UC Warriors: 223/9 (Naren P (51), Srikanth B (31), Shafiq K (25); Ajay (7-1-21-3), Narsi (10-1-39-3, Kiran (10-0-42-2))
Asteroids: 181/9 (Vijay P (57), Vijay G (27), Athul (26); UC Warriors: Jayvel (8-1-20-2), Naren P (9-1-31-2))
MOM: Naren P
MVP: Vijay P
Toss: UC Warriors won the toss and elected to bat.
UC Warriors Innings:
After 4 straight losses, Asteroids were desperate to break the barrier and every player was focused on getting the ‘W’. On a thicker than the usual Ortega, Asteroids started bowling with Sathy and Nitin. Warriors’ opening batsmen, Naren P and Ajay V saw off the opening bowlers without taking much risk. Sathy and Nitin were followed by Vijay G and Kiran B. The batsmen by this time were well set and content on waiting for some width to free their arms and taking calculated risks. Warriors finished the first session at 72 for no loss in 17 overs. It looked like they were set for a big total of 270+.
With some smart bowling changes from Srikanth and sharp bowling and fielding, Asteroids fought back. Ajay removed both the openers in the 20th and 22nd overs and a quick runout pushed Warriors back to building mode. After some tight bowling from Vijay G and Kiran B, Narsi struck twice removing Srinivas and Jayvel in the same over. Warriors finished the session at 121 for 5 in 34 overs.
In the third session, Warriors tried to fightback with some power hitting which unsettled Asteroids’ bowlers. But the bowlers and the fielders held their nerve to take wickets at regular intervals. Warriors finished at 223 for 9 in 50 overs.
The total was 40-50 runs more than where they could have been had we taken some catches, but it was definitely 40-50 less than where they could have been based on the first session.
Asteroids started the chase with Raj S and Vijay G. Raj S fell quickly in the 3rd over. Srikanth and Vijay G tried to build a partnership. A good delivery saw Srikanth walking back in the 9th over. Vijay S tried to up the tempo, but got out trying to hit one too many shots. Vijay G who was going strong fell in the same over hitting out to the same fielder in deep square leg. At the end of the first session, Asteroids had successfully dug a hole for themselves and were at 51 for 4 in 17 overs.
Sathy and Athul started the fightback with careful shots and quick rotation of strike. After a steady knock, Sathy got out in the 25th over trying to hit a boundary over long on. Athul got out 2 overs later after making a solid 26.
Vijay P joined Narsi in the middle. Vijay P, returning after a long break, was jumping at every opportunity to score while patiently playing the good balls and waiting for the bad ones. Narsi on the other end was steady rotating the strike and watching Vijay P dispatch every bad ball to the boundary. At the end of second session, Asteroids were at 130 for 6 in 34 overs, similar to where Warriors were at the end of their second session.
An extremely bad decision lead to Narsi walking back after a 50 run partnership with Vijay P. Narsi clearly hit the ball onto his pads but was judged LBW. Nitin joined Vijay P in the middle and continued to rotate the strike while Vijay P continued his masterclass. After an excellent 50, Vijay P got out trying to park one in the fine leg boundary. Asteroids were at 167 for 8 in 41 overs.
With required rate steadily rising, Nitin tried to increase the tempo, but got out. Asteroids were at 170 for 9 in 43 overs.
Ajay and Kiran B continued the fight. However, with tight bowling from Warriors and lack of any more wickets, Asteroids finished at 181 for 9 in 50 overs.
Positives: Good fightback during bowling and batting. Vijay P’s return!
Negatives: Asteroids digging too many holes for themselves in bowling, fielding and batting. Need to focus all through the game.