CRASHING BACK TO REALITY
Result: 12 Stars Chevaliers lost by 9 wickets to Ostend Zalmi Cricket Club 2 XI
Location : Ostend
Author: Rajnish Ashish Singh
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates
Cricket like lady luck can be very fickle, and in their second game 12 Stars Chevaliers were given a tough lesson, in the nature of both. After an overwhelming victory over Hasselt 2nd XI in their debut match. Confidence and enthusiasm were sky high among the players going into their second match. But in Ostende, Chevaliers quickly came down to earth when they realised how tough Division 6 is going to be.
In the spirit of giving as many members opportunities to play, we had two new members debuting Avinash and Sivabalan, while Ganga was making a welcome return to playing for the club. Unfortunately, we did not have a great start since some of the team could not get to the ground on time. This meant we missed out on the toss and were forced to bat first.
This gave Ostend Zalmi an immediate advantage, as the conditions were cold, overcast, windy, with a light drizzle in the air. Making batting challenging with the new ball. Another disadvantage caused by some of our players being late, was that we could not start with our planned batting order. JD instead had to adapt according to the players available. Therefore right from the start Chevaliers were already on the back foot.
Vishal and Bala opened batting, and immediately faced fierce bowling assisted by the challenging conditions. Despite getting some early singles unfortunately Bala was trapped LBW in the fifth over with 24 runs on the board. This was the start of a batting collapse, where we haemorrhaged wickets at an alarming rate. Though Chevaliers were trying their best to get runs on the scoreboard, batsmen were only managing a few singles before they fell.
As a welcome present back to club cricket, poor Ganga took a nasty hit just above his knee early on in his innings. Despite his valiant efforts to continue batting he was trapped LBW. By the 14th over we were 55-6. It was only the arrival of Avinash at the crease that Chevaliers were able to start a fight back. With Rajesh, at the other end, who had had played a very useful sheet anchor role throughout the innings, pushed the innings along, before he was caught out 80-7.
This is brought in our captain JD, who despite only seeing through one eye, counter attacked Ostend Zalmi’s bowling. Like a swashbuckling pirate, he cut and drove at the bowls he faced. Whether his bat even connected with all the balls he faced, was of no matter. Every 10 runs Avinash and JD added to the score, gave our bowlers a better fighting chance. Through great patience, resilience and focus, our dynamic duo pushed our score not only past three figures, but their partnership added a valuable 48 runs, including a few boundaries, until JD was caught behind with our score at 128-8 at 31 overs.
It was Ishaq’s turn to come to the crease, and he carried on where JD left off. Not only supporting Avinash, but also attacking the bowler and even scoring one of the few boundaries of the innings. Such was his positive style of play Chevaliers pushed past 150 runs, until he was run out. Our long tail was helping to create an innings which our bowlers could realistically defend. Eventually Avinash helped Chevaliers reach a very defensible total of 170, when he was bowled out for 29 runs. Having gone from being 55-6 to 170 all out, Chevaliers’ confidence had certainly returned when they went to field.
As in our first our game, JD and Vishal opened our bowling. However the weather conditions had become friendlier for batting. Despite the best endeavours of both bowlers, we just could not crack the defence of the opening batsman. Often the balls were too good for the batsman to hit, and when the ball did go up into the air, unluckily for us it landed in areas where our fielders were not placed.
Credit must go to the Ostend opening batsman Shahzad Aslan and Safi Ullah, who right from the start had a plan on how to chase down our total, and stuck to it. After surviving the initial bowling attack of Vishal and JD, the opening pair were set in and started to pick up singles. Even though JD tried rotating the bowling, we still could not make a breakthrough. Maddy came closest, when in one over he had two dropped catches. Frustratingly for us, both catches were the kind which we easily took in our first match.
It was not that we bowled badly it was more a case of not being able to get that small piece of luck, where we could break this partnership. Ostend Zalmi not so much chased our total, but rather played the long game of grinding out singles and twos. It was a war of attrition. Eventually in the 22nd over with 119 runs on the board, Avinash bowled the delivery that broke the opening pair, with Siva taking a great catch in the outfield, and bringing the end of the innings for Shahzad.
Though Chevaliers continued to battle hard both in their bowling and fielding, the opposition knowing they had plenty of wickets in hand, now pushed the run rate up. Scoring more freely by taking risks and going for boundaries. By the 30th over they had reached our total, scoring a six to get over the finish line, their second batter Safi Ullah was 55 not out.
Though defeat was disappointing in what was a very tough match. What the match statistics will not show was how our enthusiasm and spirit did not waver. We continued to support each other on the field, especially when catches were dropped or boundaries were scored. We played the game in an excellent spirit, and showed good sportsmanship to our opposition. For a new side we will certainly learn lessons from both the positives and negatives of our performance.
Congratulations to Avinash Kumar, for his well-deserved man of the match award, based on his vital innings of 30, and getting our only wicket.
Also big thanks and appreciation to Ravi who scored for us!
Though we may have lost this battle, like all good Chevaliers we will get back on our horses, to enjoy future games. Chevaliers Charge!