Cougars win one, lose one in Hobbs, NM
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Cougars win one, lose one in Hobbs, NM
HOBBS, NM -- Colorado pulled off a spirited fight back with bat Saturday and ball Sunday to fall just short of going undefeated in Hobbs, New Mexico this past weekend. Travelling somewhat light due to a number of unavailabilities, Colorado dug deep outside it's announced probable list of thirty to put together a fighting eleven for the weekends proceedings. Coming into the team was Raymond Mascarenhas of CSCC and Prashant Jain of Gold.
Colorado's first opponent was the Raider Cricket Club of Lubbock, TX. The game was announced a 25-over affair with RCC choosing to bat after winning the toss. Dipal Patel and Michael Doig opened the bowling, both disappearing for about six an over as RCC's openers Omkar Nafday (14) and Sankar Subramanian (49) started in excellent fashion. Nafday was particularly dangerous as he found the boundary once and cleared it once in the very early stages. It took a brilliant piece of fielding by Jain at square leg to cause a running mix up and get the first breakthrough. Sliding on his knees he intercepted a well timed flick and fired it to the keeper. Unfortunately this was the safe end. Aravind Sampath identified this immediately, tore off the glove and fired it to Doig who gathered nicely on the half volley and effected the run out.
Mike Riley was introduced into the attack after the openers were unsuccessful. He immediately foxed 1st drop Bhavesh (2) into a false stroke and struck the off stump. It was to be Riley's only joy as he would also go for six an over. Twenty-five over cricket will do that to a bowler. Cyrus (13) entered the middle and quickly belted a six himself, no easy feat for this day the boundaries were at least 70 yards away. It took another moment of fielding brilliance to rock this threatening partnership as well. Patel fielded a well struck ball at mid-on and threw down the stumps before the batsman backing up had a chance to return to his crease.
Subramanian was moving along very well, barely troubled and on the brink of his half century. His innings was the foundation of RCC's innings, yet scored at a fair rate of knots. On 49 he decided to bring up his fifty in grand style and leapt down the track to punish off-spinner Swadeep Pagadala. His bullet went straight to Doig at long on who made no mistake in accepting the offer. Moments later Kiran Masapari (1) lost the plot and half pulled, half swiped a skier back in Doig's direction. In the space of a minute Pagadala had pursed his second wicket.
The game was evenly balanced, the middle order would be charged with not falling apart and getting a respectable score. This they achieved. Dakshina DeSilva (12) and Shiva (19) batted well for a time, picking up a six and two boundaries between them with plenty of running between the wickets. Nitin Bharadwaj broke the partnership with a perfect ball that rattled DeSilva's timber, Doig returned and followed in the same fashion by knocking back Shiva's off stump. Hasubhai (19*) gave the middle to lower order impetus with a dashing unbeaten knock, while Mitesh Patel (3) and Shreveen (0) fell in the last over pursuit for quick runs. Mascarenhas was the benefactor who incidentally missed a golden opportunity for a hat-trick when Hasubhai struck the last ball high and deep to long off. Riley misjudged the strength of the shot and was unable to back up far enough. The result was a last ball boundary, passing 150 and the 6 runs per over mark. Standout bowlers were Pagadala (5 overs, 2 for 25) and Bharadwaj (5 overs, 1 for 27), each taking wickets while maintaining a fantastic economy rate of around five. Mascarenhas came in with two expensive death overs, as expected, and picked up those two late wickets.
Chasing a decent score that became a daunting score, Colorado collapsed to 5/55 on the back of some accurate Lubbock bowling. With just 6 on the board Sampath (1) misread the speed of the pitch and played uppishly back at the bowler Shreveen who dived forward to take a great catch. Govind Unkalkar (12) didn't bowl due to a shoulder injury but showed it didn't phase him batting as he attacked the opening bowlers with his natural flair. He quickly pounced on two decent balls, lifting them over the top of the offside for boundaries. He was unsuccessful a third time when he found the fielder at point. Rajesh Mosur (37*) and Gopal Susarla (5) began in the hopes of correcting the two early losses.
Susarla was soon trapped lbw when he played across the line of a straight one and missed. Suddenly disaster was looming as the score read only 25 for the loss of three top order wickets. Bharadwaj (10) joined with Mosur to forge a get-out-of-danger partnership that would realize the teams half century. Mosur rotated the strike as only he is capable of, Bharadwaj was circumspect at first before growing confident. His blast to the deep cover boundary was a treat to watch.
All that changed in the space of a few balls. First Bharadwaj was bowled, then Riley (0) was adjudged lbw on his first ball. Adamant that he caught an inside edge he left the wicket astonished and appalled. Suddenly the score was 5/55 and the RCC players were buoyant. Enter Doig (67*), intent on leaving his mark upon the game, fresh from a stint in Australia where batting #7 he scored a blistering half century in thirty balls. Today he was batting #7 again. Today he would do it a little quicker.
What ensued was an exhilarating partnership that broke the back of the RCC players. Together the rampaging Doig and the never-get-me-out attitude of Mosur completely took the game away and clinched it in a canter. Mosur was most content to play second fiddle, ensuring that no matter what he'd be there until the end. He rotated the strike with divine perfection, Doig pounced on anything remotely loose. Full balls outside off were belted over point or covers for four. Straight balls were slammed back down the ground for four, once almost collecting the umpire along the way. Short balls were pulled to the boundary or well over it. The end came with more than three overs to spare as both remained unbeaten, securing a fantastic win from a possible perilous position. In truth, the lower order boasted proven batting talent in Pagadala, Patel and Mascarenhas.
Special mention must be given to Jain, while not taking a wicket or getting the chance to bat, showed aplomb as a standout in the field. His fielding essentially got the first breakthrough, but it was his constant knee slides that prevented the ball rushing past him on countless occasions. It was true block-it-with-your-body stuff.
Game 1 - 25 over match
Raider CC 9/151 (25) (Shanker 49, Swadeep 2-25, Raymond 2-17) lost to Colorado 5/153 (22.4) (Mike Doig 67*, Mosur 37*, Shrevan 2-22)
On Sunday, with 5 more overs to play with, batsmen struggled to cope with the fierce cross winds blowing from square leg to point. Such was the strength of the cross winds that onside shots in the air would be out of the question. Govind and Mosur threatened to form a great foundation before a rare mix up between the two caused Govind's run out. Swadeep joined Mosur for an enterprising partnership that found the boundary a few times, but once he got out no one else was able to stay around and provide the impetus on the back of Mosur's foundation.
Full report to follow upon reception of the scorecard.
Game 2 - 30 over match
Colorado 7/147 (30) (Mosur 55*, Swadeep 20, Govind 19) lost to Southwest 5/149 (29.3) (Mukesh about 30*, Kalpesh about 20*, Swadeep 3 wkts)
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