Author: Judson Daniel
On a bright sunny day, we had 3 options, to play cricket, or to play cricket or otherwise to play cricket. We chose none of them and decided to play cricket instead. With a series of reschedules and forfeits, the first game of Division 1 added to all the excitement that was building, ever since the season began.
“Those on the top of the Mountain didn’t fall there”… With nothing to prove to anyone, the Champions of Belgian Cricket lined up their 12 Stars to face the Gent Arcadians. The seriousness of the game was evident within the 12 Stars with everyone arriving well ahead of the game. The Captain’s message was loud and clear. “A team is as good as it plays on that day”.
The strategy of bowling first went for a toss literally, when the captain had a look at the otherwise not-so-strong Opponents. The Openers, who stuck to their tasks the whole of last season, went in again, only to continue the good work from where they left. A well composed partnership of 74 laid a strong base to the innings before Ashish was out lbw trying to flick a straight ball. The much awaited debut of the “overseas” player Ram was short lived when he missed a straight ball to be stumped out. Anirudh joined the well set Ajay and the duo stepped up the tempo to achieve a 169 runs partnership in 20 overs with Aniruddha hitting some lusty blows on his way to a 74 ball 88. Meanwhile, Mr.Consistent aka Ajay, completed a smooth century with a combination of good heaves and some good leaves. There’s a general feeling that the 2 Polish friends [obviously girls] he had got to the ground may have well been the extra motivational factor. Well, who cares as long as he hits a century? With Ajay and Ani falling in quick succession, the captain also perished trying to accelerate. The arrival of Bhushan and another debutant Aiyappan saw a quick change in the scoreboard with both of them going “ball”istic. At 309 for 5 in 45 overs, one would have thought 350 is a good enough target in 50 overs. However, Bhushan and especially Aiyappan, had completely different ideas. For a brief moment, the IPL was back with almost every ball reaching the boundary, overlooking the tall grasses of Bilande. A scintillating 31 off 16 balls from Bhushan and a swashbuckling and utterly dominant 65 off 27 balls from Aiyappan lifted the stars to 389 in 50 overs. Special mention has to be made to Aiyappan, who made, even Bilande look smaller with his 90 meter shot sailing to the Cow corner. It’s only a matter of time before he sends the ball over flying to the Flanders. Aiyappan now holds the Club Record for the fastest fifty. It took him just 21 balls. Just remember guys, please do not send 12 Stars Spike graph to a Heart patient who is waiting for his ECG Report, lest you want see him dead J
Needing 390 to win, the Arcadians decided to follow an aggressive approach. The first ball bouncer from the Roaring Rohan missed the Batsman’s helmet by inches, putting the opener and the team on the back foot from the start, literally. Ani was introduced on the other end and at the last ball of his first over, it was business as usual with his trademark inswinger shattering the wickets. At 11/1, Ani came back to bowl his second over and the first ball was a magical banana inswinger that caught the wily Wasantha gaping at both the wickets and Ani. With Specific instructions from Wasantha to Alvandre as to how to play that ball, Alvandre proved that theory is only theory when he succumbed the very next ball to another peach of a delivery from Ani, giving him and the Team, the first Hat Trick of Division 1. The Arcadians looked crestfallen when the next batsman Salih was bowled the very next ball to mark “WWwdW” for the first 3 balls of Ani’s over. In reality, it was 4 in 4. A bit of a struggle then followed, when the captain and Ayush batt(l)ed their way to survival. At the same time, one of the Arcadians was heard saying “I’m really disappointed with the way we have batted, particularly when the bowling attack is not so good”. Either they must have thought I was too deeply concentrating on “Scoring” that I did not hear them or they must have thought my English was so poor that I did not get them. The latter may probably be true, because I really didn’t have any need to concentrate on the scoring, with Amit’s new found app being too good to be true. A simple click is all that was needed. With Rohan joining the fun, the passengers were getting off at regular intervals and it was soon all over for them when Anshul took the last wicket to bundle the Arvadians for a paltry 48. In all over the last 2 matches 12 stars has played Arcadians, 12 Stars has scored 686 runs against Arcadians’ 114.