[door Mudi Rakha] The Sunday morning had barely begun when our good ol’ Nagesh was disdainfully thwacked for a forgetful 19 in his first welcome over (surprisingly he went on to bowl 2 more and was gracefully relegated to sniff the boundary lines for the remainder of the match). Bloemendaal, in the meantime, carried on with their festivities with traditional pomp and oomph. They even fell 5 short of their seasonal average of 330. Although, I wouldn’t blame you if you felt like throwing up at this moment, but honestly. It wasn’t all that bad as it sounds. We bowled well in patches, especially Devanshu, Abid Malik, Arsalan and the skipper Mudi himself. Let’s put it this way, we were not completely brainless in the mayhem, but it wasn’t also exactly cricket that Bloemendaal was playing. It was something else - something between home advantage, ambush warfare and mindless hitting (in that order). They momentarily allowed us a breather, for a ball or two, before continuing the assault all morning.
We heard about it and read about it and we finally saw the 300+ score that Bloemendaal so religiously been putting up this season. Third in a row!!!. This is just the start of the season and this was our second match we are yet to face them on 2 more occasions this summer. We are sure we will catch them next time. Well that’s the flip side. The good news is going to pour in abundance.
Where do we begin…
At half-time ACC3 knew that climbing the Bloemendaal hill of 325 was going to be daunting. We even strategized on empty stomachs (well most of us). Now what happened between 4 PM and the eventual 55 run defeat was that the XI men from ACC showed up in packs and showed an eye for an eye and a brick for a brick. They laid the morning demons to rest and started with a flourish. Throwing kitchen sinks is not new to Immy which he adequately glorified with those 2 almighty sixes. At no point did we let-up, as boundaries flowed from the bats of Arsalan and Immy. Bloemendaal got a lucky breakthrough now and then, but when our No. 5 Abid joined the ranks there was more embarrassment for Bloemendaal to follow. Some fantastic batting under pressure between Abid and Immy ensured a check on the rising run rate. It was nice for once to see Bloemendaal on the backfoot with defensive bowling.
While Immy was just looking to switch gears, Abid had lost his wicket for a well-made quickfire 36. After that the run rate started to increase. At one point ACC were 2 down for 112 after 20 overs and just when it was looking like the match was slipping away, Devanshu had other ideas. His exciting, chance-less and more than a-run-a-ball half century closed the gap. There were genuine contributions from others, like our yong talent Sajjad made a quick 18 but importantly the fact that we didn’t throw the towel early showed a great shift in the culture that relies more on a never-give-in attitude. Sometimes that helps more than just throwing up inside and burp it out before giving up.
What happened on Sunday was character extra-ordinaire shown by the written-off XI from ACC3. I’ll add that to my list of trophies. You should too, because next time around we are batting first.