HOPE AND PASSION:
Morning of Sunday 17th April 2016 starts for most of us around 8:30 AM with a lovely sunshine out side in Belgium (not too much rarety nowdays) promising for a great start to 12 stars campaign in BCT T20 as they are promised with their first challenge of the Season against a formidable side MCCB at 12 Stars lush green ground Bilande. Every one is excited to know how they will support our team of 12 stars for a match that is about to begin at 11 AM. It is a T 20 match and every one knows they have to be switched ON from the start. Plans of transportation has been shared and calls are being made in order to make sure the plan to reach the ground is achieved as per time. Temperature is around 10 ~ 12 degrees with forecast of showers around mid-day and slight after. No one wants these showers but instead a sunshine with pleasure of leather and bat competition. Captain Aniruddha is excited to begin the campign so dearly that he is the first to reach the ground in order to help setup and inspect the ground conditions. He knows he has two players who he wants to Debut in this match. He has high hopes and mountain of support from all his team members coming from friendlies played. He knows what he has to do.
FRESH PITCH AND GRASS GREETS US:
Team reaches the ground around 10 Am. All are greeting each other with shine in their eyes. Discussion has started with topic of Anshul hitting a big Six in a friendly match a day before. Smiles all around following laughter that six was hit on leg side (short boundary) for Anshul (who ofcourse should not agree to it). There is a bit chill in the air as vast land of bilande makes the mercury drop a degree or two. Still all gather around the ground, forming small teams and start there run around the ground for warm up sessions. Sprint in their legs is prominent.
MATCH AND PURPOSE:
It is time as Umpires call captains for toss. Luck starts to spread its wings in favor of 12 stars as Captain Aniruddha wins the toss and elects to field. Wise decision as this ground is well known to him. All of playing and non playing members of 12 stars gather up in circle with Captain to usher his game plan and wise words. Wise words they are, don’t look to your lost attempt in field but to seek the new one by making it possible again and again. Decision is made who to start with as Rohan takes up the new ball looking oozing with his good form towards his out swingers and pace. First over is delivered almost making a statement from 12 stars how they will move into the match. 2 runs given from the bat as quite passed outside edge in a very close manner. Ani takes the attack towards the team in second over from other end. Result and intentions are the same as first over as only 2 runs given. MCCB starts to feel pressure. First Wicket is lost by MCCB as Gannesh takes a low flying catch at mid on of Aniruddha’s bowling in 4th over of the match. Hameed from MCCB is the first victim after scoring 1 run. Pressure starts to mount as Rohan keeps passing the outside edges of batsmen. Up till now only one boundary has been scored. Batsmen are getting them selves in pressure and have started rotating sides in hap hazard manner creating chances for run outs. However the partnership seems to be building up. The first change comes from Rohan end as Ayyapan takes the ball for his short of length out swingers. Second wicket is achieved with a bowled. The score is lingering around 30 runs mark. Captain goes for further entrapment of MCCB and bring in Manoj. Things start to take turn more bad for MCCB as there is a wicket on Manoj’s first ball. Run rate has started to slide down hill. Another change at far end with Manoj is made and now the wickets have started to fall in frequent manner. The wicket column has reached to 7 with an exceptional run out from a throw by Bhushan from long off to keeper Ani finding batsman second run short. How so ever, MCCB plays out their quota of 20 overs scoring 99 runs with 100 runs as target. AND NOW IT STARTS TO HAIL POUR!! Every one tries to take cover and waits for the promise of sunshine as these seem passing showers. Prayers are answered with Ayyapun shouts of counting. 12 stars makes effort to clear out water and prevails in bringing conditions back to status of playing.
Gannesh and Rahul are hungry to get on the pitch and looking forward to begin the second innings. Qudrutullah starts as first bowler from MCCB with nice pace and carry. Rahul and Gannesh are looking to assess the conditions as there is not too much of hurry and they can afford the time to settle in. Willow is now starting to hit the leather where intended in second over. Ganesh is looking to master his cut shots where Rahul is enjoying few pulls and drives. 12 stars in feeling very comfortable in chase as 50 runs partnership is achieved in first 9 overs. MCCB introduces their first spinner Babar as leg spinner. He claims the first blood as Rahul intends to play a lovely upper drive over short cover but miss timing results in a catch. Well played and dominated 30 in result for Rahul who looks in a very good touch. Sandeep Raina, another debut-ant joins Gannesh as number 3. Some beautiful stroke making is witness from his bat as well. Gannesh is pushing Raina for all he can run and is finding him up to his match. Great running between is witnessed. MCCB is able to pull the chase till 18th over. Raina falters at 13 when 12 stars need only 3 runs to win. Bhushan join in and caters for remaining runs with single blow in 19th over to take 12 stars over the line and bring their first victory. Beer time!!. However, looking at the match, it was a smooth sail but 12 stars can do a bit towards to fielding as this chase-able score might have landed in between 70 till 80. We know, it was our first match and we will make difference in next coming ones for as we have Champions heart!.
- Nauman Afridi