Report by Hari Chirra
Result: Asteroids win by 6 wickets and 13 overs
Asteroids won the toss and elected to field
Santa Clara Aces Innings: 132/10 (Krish 31 (69), Vijay Gadde 6.2-0-20-3, Vijay S 4-1-10-2, Narsi 6-1-14-2, Kiran 4-0-23-2, Ajay 6-0-17-1)
Asteroids Innings: 133/4 in 37 overs (Vijay S 57 (111), Vijay G 38 (74), Prumjot 10-2-28-3)
MOM: Vijay S for his unbeaten 50 and 2 wickets
MVP: Vijay Gadde for his steady innings and 3 wkts. And the catching shares the MVP.
1st Session of Innings 1: Asteroids going into second half of the season with enough losses was determined to go victorious at Ortega’s penultimate game. While the intent was clear, execution was slow initially. Both Kiran and Nitin had trouble maintaining their pitch map and enabled Santa Clara openers to cash in. Batsmen were playing optimistic, courtesy: a majestic six over point off Kiran’s bowling. The turn around came in the form of Nitin catching a skier at mid-on. Two balls later, Nitin ran 20 yards from widish mid-on to the back of umpire to take a diving catch giving Kiran his 2 wickets. With both openers ambling back to the pavilion, lefty Sher Ali and Krish steadied the innings. Interim, Narsi the ‘Lord of Winterfell’ (Entourage being Winterfell) choked the batsmen and was unfortunate to see three tough catches die like the hopeful characters in Game of Thrones (gloved between slips, brushed off Ajay’s diving fingers, and falling centimeters short of his own hands). Sher Ali had a reprieve, thanks to the umpire dozing to a Kiran-express toe crusher in front of middle stump, which was a gold standard exemplary LBW. Then, Narsi and Kiran were supported by tight bowling by Ajay and odd no-balls followed up with wicket-taking-free-hits from Sathy. Last ball of the session witnessed a catch from Hari, expressed by team mates – something like this (Gavaskar and his ‘timely’ explanation, Blaarrgh!!!), but since I can’t toot my own horn, felt more like this.
2nd and 3rd Sessions of Innings 1: With momentum shifting towards Asteroids, the second sessions started with the choking of runs by Ajay and Sathy. Quick Gun Vijay Sundaresan flummoxed the settled Krish multiple times and frustrated him to slog one to Mr. Lonely Kiran at deep mid wicket. A few overs later, Gadde swung the ball to top edge Shantanu – caught by Nitin running from point to extra cover shouting ‘multiple mines’ at a rate faster than the cumulative heart beats of his hopeful team mates. There was great intent in our catching clearly dictated by Kiran’s loud ‘mine’ confirming his confidence to even catch Nitin if he falls during the process of taking the catch. Three overs later, captain decided to bring the ‘Lord of Winterfell’ into attack. His Entourage’ish T-20 strategy to shift Gadde from slip to 2nd gully paid immediate dividends, with Gadde taking a forward diving catch, inches off the Ortega cut grass. Very next ball, Narsi strategically set a field to the Nauman who single handedly won against Marin last week with an unbeaten 124. The Lord bowled a full toss opposite to the set field, confused Nauman, played a half hearted off-drive, only to see the ball sail into the hands of Srikant. The Lord was instantly crowned ‘Iron Throne King of Sunnyvale Cricket Club‘
After the break, Asteroids saw Arjun palming an injury, play with 10 men, Sundaresan’s middle stump LBW turned down, LBW of the very next ball, Gadde’s in swinging ball to clip the top of off-stump, and Gadde finishing the innings with ‘on-a-hat-trick’ catch to the keeper. A confidence boosting eventful fielding session marked by a continuous barrage of good bowling ended with Asteroids chasing 133.
1st Session of Innings 2: Gadde and Raj S started positive crashing early on their back foot and tonking Umar Ali’s short balls. Soon, Raj S got out on a pull. Srikant sent in Vijay S on the idea that the lefty-righty combo messes up with Aces’ bowling attitude. Both Vijays played smart cricket, getting the occasional singles, taking comfortable twos against the strong arms of the Santa Clara outfielders, and thrashing a few boundaries.
2nd and 3rd Session of Innings 2: With the score at 88 of 25 overs, a cautious defense from the settled Gadde resulted in a slip catch. An over later, Srikant did a Nauman and nudged a full toss to mid wicket. Sathy had some long hits, before toeing another full toss to mid wicket. Asteroids had a shadow of past losses looming over their minds. This created a tense pavilion. But, the pavilion forgot that their next bat was none other than the savior – Iron Throne King Narsi. And the King indeed proved that his form is back. Narsi ‘always sent under pressure’ (requiring 15 runs of 16 overs) continued his T-20 instinct and played positive cricket (17* of 21 balls). He along with the half centurion Vijay Sunderasan brought Asteroids their much awaited first W of the season.
Positives: Good team catching and fielding; Narsi, Gadde, and Vijay S’ form; optimistic belief rather than mere hope among all players; and mental comfort towards non-Ortega games.
Areas of improvement: Line no-balls to be ‘eradicated’, Each individual becoming the Iron Throne Emperor by building mental strength, and middle order batting.