The CouchExpert Staff
18th May, 2013
Match: CECC vs YAHOO!
Venue: CECG, Bangalore
Toss: CECC won the toss and elected to bat.
Team Photo (match day):
CECC won the toss and elected to bat under very humid conditions. The new opening pair of Goutham and Muthu though hardly had to sweat much at all as Yahoo!’s new ball pair of Girish and Kavash, though managed prodigious swing, were too short to be effective. As a result, Goutham and Muthu feasted on cuts as they rattled along at 10 an over across the first 4 overs.
Disaster struck in the 5th over as another short ball from Girish darted into Muthu whose attempted pull found his gloves before smashing into his nose. He suffered a cut on his nose bridge and retired hurt so as to get it checked for severity of the injury.
Jobin joined Goutham and the 50 came up soon after in 5 overs. Goutham though missed a dipping full-toss from leg spinner Nachiketh to be bowled for 25. CECC’s in form batsmen Shoukath and Gautam R though didn’t have a good time with the bat as both were dismissed quite softly. Shoukath drove a half-volley to covers and Gautam lobbed a high full-toss to the square-leg fielder’s waiting hands.
Gokul, playing after 6 games, joined Jobin and the pair kept the scoring ticking quickly with aggressive running between-the-wickets with some wonderful drives, punches, pulls and leg-glances. The languid and fluent Gokul with his free and full arm movements is always a delight to the eye with his elegant manner of batting – high back-lift with a full free swing of the arms with the bat often finishing resting on his back. The economy of his late feet movement makes him a very attractive player to watch when his brings out his drives and leg-glances.
Jobin, on the other hand, seemed to be getting into his stride for the first time since feet corn cut short his very rich vein of form 2 months ago. Today, though, he seemed to be less stuck in the crease as he moved freely and decisively forward and backwards and found his timing and range on both sides of the wicket.
The pair kept the Yahoo! bowlers at bay by looking to go after the bowlers early in the over and managed to tick singles of the remaining deliveries to go at 7 or 8 every over in the middle overs as they set a tremendous launch pad to the big hitters in CECC for later.
Jobin perished for a satisfying 48 and soon Gokul perished for a stylish 38. Gaurav and Ashish brought out the big hits in the end to push the CECC total to a more than competitive 180 that would test Yahoo!.
Gaurav kept the Yahoo! openers pinned with his quick and accurate off-spin in a testing first spell. His around-the-stumps line meant that the batsmen had to be on the watch out for deliveries that were turning in to crash in to the stumps and the ones that went with the arm and skidded along with the angle towards the slips. He gave Nachiketh a particularly working over repeatedly beating him outside off. He was very unlucky not to pick up any wicket in his very impressive first spell.
Goutham kept the batsmen in check with his outswingers. He drew first blood when he had Girish caught at mid-on trying to slog at an outsinger. And when he ran out the captain Kavash in the 9th over Yahoo! were pushed back a long way as the new ball pair had restricted them to 45 for 2 in 9 overs pushing the required run-rate close to 9.
The follow-up to the initial burst was a slight mixed bag as Bhargav found it tough to hit a good line and length straightaway. He however followed it up with two tight overs back-to-back. Gautam R too found his stride only after bowling his first over. With the required runrate mounting all along, Pandian played a handsome innings controlling the middle order and also maneuvering the field with his powerful game.
CECC’s bowling and fielding wilted under the quality of his batsmanship even as he struggled to find support at the other end. Jobin and Dinesh chipped away at the other end as Kaustubh quite astutely worked to starve Pandian of strike. The strategy worked like a charm as wickets tumbled at the other end and the running-between-the-wickets also became wobbly.
As the overs shrank Pandian became more and more restless and his strokeplay became more and more power oriented. CECC’s bowling suffered and consistency in executing their plans eluded them across the length of a full over. The erring in lengths and line kept Yahoo! in hunt as Pandian brought-up his 50.
The tide turned eventually as Gautam executed his plan of bowling full to straight fields as Pandian missed a straight and full delivery to be trapped in front. With the danger man gone, Kaustubh brought in the field to make the lower-order batsmen take risks to score runs and the pressure told on the batsmen as they heaved strokes more in hope than in conviction. Chaotic running and stroke selection ensued and they were eventually bowled out 9 runs short with an over still left to play.
The grit of the team and its desperation to win came through the game as they backed the bowlers and fielders with a less-than-perfect fielding display, but with full marks for effort and commitment. The working in partnerships in executing plans seemed to be on the upward curve.
The grit and putting the team cause above self was best exemplified by Muthu. After suffering a cut on his nose and having the wound cleaned and the nose bridge put back into shape, he came back to keep the wickets (later operated and now in splints). He stood up to the stumps to the medium-pacers, marshalled fielding troops and kept the spirits of the entire team up with a bloodied nose. And yes, he swallowed the two chances that came his way too.
CECC 180/7 in 25 overs (Jobibn 48 (54b, 5X4), Gokul 38 (32b, 3X4), Goutham 25 (16b, 4X4)) defeated YAHOO! 171 all out in 24 overs (Pandian 63, Nachikanth 41, Dinesh 2/27, Jobin 2/28) by 9 runs
Performer of the Match (POTM):Jobin Varghese
Match Result: CECC beat YAHOO! by 9 runs