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Cougars vs Fort Collins
By Michael Doig
Apr 15, 2006
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Ganesh Sharma(FCCC) scored a brilliant 107, but it wasn't enough to help FCCC beat the Cougars 304.

FORT COLLINS -- The new pitch at Lincoln Junior High School was inaugurated in fine fashion with a thumping match between the Cougars Probables and Fort Collins CC here on Saturday. Early rain and gusty winds greeted all players, however it was clear that all were impressed with the quality of the new pitch and the general ground itself. The weather cleared in patches, not once did it dampen spirits in either camp. Having won the toss, Fort Collins invited the Cougars to bat.

A representative from Channel 9 filmed the early tussles between Govind Unkalkar & Pradeep Pagadala of Cougars and Nadem Rafiq & Dipal Patel of Fort Collins. Typical frugal overs became expensive ones as Unkalkar took the attack to Rafiq by thumping three quick boundaries whenever he erred in length. But the dynamic opening combo from the north hit back and forced the batsmen back into their shells. This back and forth tussle saw the score read 30 for no loss after 10 overs. Pagadala was now finding his comfort zone, pulling a short ball to the boundary and suddenly finding the gaps and running plenty of ones. Early on it had been boundaries and two's, or nothing. Suddenly ones were coming which is a clear sign of the batsmen growing in confidence. To combat this, Rajesh Idate and Mike Riley were introduced into the attack, with good effect. Both gave virtually nothing away as the batsmen were forced to adjust to the new line of attack. And so the see-saw opening session came to an end with 43 runs and no wickets on the board. The openers had stuck to their job and played the opening overs with precision.

Immediately after the break the tempo raised, however this shift also caused the first wicket. Unkalkar (25) had set off for a second run after a Patel misfield, but was unable to make his ground. Patel recovered grandly and used the wind at his back to rocket a throw to the keeper and find him just short. The score read 48/1 with Ananth Kota joining Pagadala in the middle. Kota was absolutely in his element, driving powerfully off the front foot causing the scoreboard to tick over. Pagadala raised his tempo also, finding the boundary a second time. They were sharing a very promising partnership of 34 in just 6 overs before running between the wickets disaster struck again. A slight mixup was followed by Pagadala (26) losing his footing and collapsing to the ground. He desperately tried to get back into his crease but his body wouldn't let him. The second wicket had fallen at 78 and again a runout was the culprit.

Rajesh Mosur entered the middle as Khaleel Razzak was brought into the attack. Initially Kota went after him, crushing two wonderful boundaries and taking 10 off his first over. Mosur also started quickly, picking up a boundary and a double in successive balls. But Idate and Riley then forced the run rate to crawl again as runs became hard to find. Sensing this, Kota decided to hit out and in one such case tried to clear mid off but failed. Ravi Sajjan and Brendan Allen collided in almost sickening fashion, Ravi held on to the catch while Allen cut open his hand. A simple catch turned into a classic, and Kota (29) was gone having looked so good. 94/3 was the score in the 26th over.

Vamshi Kyatham joined Mosur and the two forged an important middle overs partnership. Early on the goings were slow as the pair only managed just under 3 an over, in hindsight it was an all important stepping stone in an eventual impending total. The score read 119/3 in 34 overs at the second break. Mosur had now seen enough balls to start finding 1's and 2's off nearly every ball, Kyatham found his switch in gears with a thumping boundary. He started destroying it all while Mosur continued to work the ball effortlessly. Kyatham scorched past his half century with a six and a boundary, but really turned it on right after passing the milestone. The three balls faced after read four, six, six and Kyatham seemed to be enjoying himself. With 10 overs remaining both batsmen were called in to retire to give the rest a bat. Kyatham (69*) and Mosur (27*) shared a terrific 91 run partnership that set the stage for an amazing final onslaught.

Kit Diasabeygunawardena and Michael Doig walked to the middle with 250 plus the goal. Kit (0) unfortunately received a margin waist high full toss first ball and miscued it straight to Razzak off Patel's bowling. 186/4 and the most destructive batsmen in the CCL was gone. Perhaps the sights of 250 were to be lowered, Doig decided otherwise. His second ball full and on his pads went over midwicket for six. And so he continued with Kervyn Dimney to flay the hapless bowlers everywhere. Ravi Sajjan was introduced as the quick men were going for too many. Doig smashed him for 26 runs in one over, racing along at an incredible pace. Dimney punched balls into gaps and ran hard for one's and two's. Doig went on to record a half century in 17 balls, smashing sixes and fours and continuing his rich vein of form. Here again the batsmen were called in, Doig (51*) and Dimney (13*) taking a breather as the score soared towards 300.

Afan Sheriff and Rajesh Solanki were given the last few overs to bat, stealing a few one's and two's before Solanki (1) played on to Idate. It was just reward for a very good spell in a big total. Dimney was offered another crack and didn't disappoint, smashing Rafiq for a huge straight six. Dimney (23*) and Sheriff (3*) took the score past the magical mark and finished at 304/5. What a way to inaugurate a new ground. Idate (9-1-40-1) and Riley (9-0-34-0) were probably the most impressive of the bowlers.

Chasing 305 could only be done one way, and that was with a good start. Jarrar Jaffari induced the edge of Rafiq's bat in successive deliveries only to watch them both go down. Rafiq plays one style, if he gets going 405 isn't enough. Two lives did not become three as he mishit a shorter one and succeeded only in finding Swadeep Pagadala at mid off. This was a huge wicket and might have caused FCCC to feel hope was lost. Not a chance as Ravi Sajjan joined with Ganesh Sharma and remained positive in their approach. Jaffari and Sheriff beat the bat often in a testing opening spell that didn't see any more wickets. Both batsmen struggled against raw pace from both openers, the thwap into the keepers glove evidence of the pace and bounce both were generating. It was classic fast bowling.

Sajjan hit out and struck a boundary before getting tied down a bit by Doig who was bowling first change. Kit stood up to the stumps which was a great move as the batsman started to get impatient and finally succommed to another big stroke and lost his middle stump. At 23/2 Dipal Patel joined Sharma for easily the best partnership of the match. Ganesh was quite watchful early on, playing the ball on its merits and waiting for the loose stuff. And it came. Every time the ball dropped short or width was offered, he cut hard in his signature way and generally found the boundary. He rode a small amount of fortune early, as two direct hit runout opportunities were missed which would have signalled his end. He battled through this and went on and on with Patel in a defying 118 run stand.

Patel played in much the same vein, plenty of dots balls were forced on him but every time he was able to free his arms he did. He viciously pulled anything short, anything just short of a length was hit over midwicket or square leg. Solanki, Dimney, Pagadala and Keshav Murthy were all introduced but none were able to break through. Solanki started in unusually expensive fashion, two shortish balls were both dispatched as Sharma moved along very nicely. He strolled past his fifty and decided today was the day that he would go on and get the big one. Patel (46) was probably looking the more dangerous at the time as he raced towards his own half century. But Jaffari came back into the attack, a shorter and quicker one forced a mishit and for the second time Pagadala accepted the catch off Jaffari's bowling. Idate (1) then quickly fell plumb LBW to Jaffari and suddenly Jaffari had 3 hard earned wickets and the FCCC cause was starting to falter.

Mike Riley joined Sharma and assited him in a quick 30 run partnership. Sharma was now unstoppable as loose balls were given full treatment, Riley (10) had blocked his accepted few before also pulling two loose balls to the boundary. But he was to fall quickly thereafter, with no choice but to keep up with the tempo required tried to hit Solanki over the top but only found Dimney at mid off. Razzak (1) was then runout in another horrible mixup and Dion (1) was somewhat controversially bowled as the bails had been removed from play earlier due to the strong winds. Keeper seemed confident, bowler half confident, batsman and square leg umpire not confident, but straight umpire was confident and he had to go. It seems the ball nicked the top of off stump, but he was none to pleased with the decision.

At 184/7 there didn't seem much gas left in the tank, but there was enough to cross the team 200 and more importantly for Sharma (107) to record his own magnificent century, his first in the CCL, and claims his first ever in competition. He truly made a good case for opening bat in an innings glazed with 11 boundaries and 2 sixes. As he hit out he picked out Kyatham who took a very good reflex catch and gave Doig his second wicket. Newcomer Bhanu (9) chipped in with a few before skying one to Mosur patrolling the midwicket boundary. Allen (18) and Raju (2*) then kept the Cougars out there a little longer than expected. Allen cleared the boundary once, and with no choice but to continue hitting out found himself stumped from Murthy's bowling, giving him a pair in a hard days work. In the end Fort Collins were brave in their 68 run defeat. Jaffari was the pick of the bowling with 3 wickets, Doig, Solanki and Murthy eached finished with a pair.

What a day for high scoring cricket, in all 40 boundaries and 11 sixes were hit. Batsmen enjoyed the slight slope on one side, the wind (from one end) and the early season low-cut dry grass. Hopefully it can give us all the confidence to dispel the Colorado low scoring myth.


Cougars                                  R   B  4  6
Govind runout (Dipal) 25 50 4 -
Pradeep runout (Ganesh) 26 70 2 -
Ananth c Ravi b Khaleel 29 36 3 -
Mosur retired 27 46 2 -
Vamshi K retired 69 47 4 3
Michael retired 51 18 3 4
Kit c Khaleel b Dipal 0 1 - -
Kervyn notout 23 17 - 1
Solanki b Idate 1 2 - -
Afan notout 3 3 - -
Extras (b1, lb3, w45, nb1) 50
Total (5 wickets, 50 overs) 304

FOW: 44, 78, 94, 187, 270

Bowling O M R W
Nadeem 10 1 50 - (w 3)
Dipal 10 2 49 1 (w 4)
Idate 9 1 40 1 (w 5, nb 1)
Mike R 9 - 34 - (w 2)
Khaleel 8 - 62 1 (w 11)
Brendan 2 - 32 - (w 18)
Ravi 2 - 37 - (w 2)

Fort Collins R B 4 6
Nadeem c Swadeep b Jarrar 1 6 - -
Ganesh c Vamshi b Michael 107 113 11 2
Ravi b Michael 9 24 1 -
Dipal c Swadeep b Jarrar 46 69 7 -
Idate lbw Jarrar 1 5 - -
Mike R c Kervyn b Solanki 10 10 2 -
Khaleel runout (Pradeep) 1 11 - -
Dion b Solanki 1 6 - -
Bhanu c Mosur b Keshav 9 18 - -
Brendan st Pradeep b Keshav 18 19 1 1
Raju notout 2 4 - -
Extras (b5, lb5, w20, nb1) 31
Total (10 wickets, 46.3 overs) 236

FOW: 5, 23, 141, 143, 173,
178, 184, 213, 217, 236

Bowling O M R W
Jarrar 8 - 29 3 (w 1)
Afan 8 - 39 - (w 6, nb 1)
Michael 6 1 23 2 (w 7)
Solanki 10 1 50 2 (w 2)
Kervyn 4 - 35 - (w 4)
Swadeep 6 - 24 -
Keshav 4.3 - 28 2

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