Author: Judson Daniel
It was finally a “SUN”day, as the friendliest Parisians met the friendliest of Belgians for a wonderfully well played 10 a side and 35 overs Match …
Having travelled for about 3 hours and 300 kilometers, a visibly tired Metz requested to bat to ensure that the coin remained in the pocket and not tossed… The 12 Stars youngest captain [young in captaincy J] JD was overjoyed since he’d have bowled first anyway had he won the toss.
New Ball specialist Ramesh opened the bowling with Sean. But the “Fortune” was rather on Ramesh’s side to start with when Chris produced a wonderful piece of Slip fielding pouncing on a good catch speeding to his left side. After 2 more wickets courtesy Sean and Ramesh, it was up to 2 fine batsmen from Metz to consolidate the innings and with the bowling change of Anshul and JD not working, the skipper turned to the “You can hit me, but you’ll be out” Jerome [in Amit’s style J]… However, in the next 18 balls he bowled, he would give away 4 runs and capture 4 wickets, quite unbelievable. All but 1 catch were taken and the wonderful fielding effort coupled with a disciplined bowling [just 22 wides J] bundled out Metz for a paltry 96. Obviously, extras was the top scorer with 26.
Having cleaned them up within 19 overs and with the hot Curry not in a hurry, it was decided that 12 Stars would chase immediately. “All that begins well, ends well” is something that 12 Stars cannot relate to in recent days…. Ramesh and Sarav opened the batting and were looking good when the “dreaded” finger of the Anshul once again proved to be unlucky for Ramesh. 2 options open for Anshul, one, to take an Umpiring course, 2, never to umpire again J. Satya the newcomer who also kept the wickets went in at No.3 and the pair put on a good 27 runs together before Satya was out and the score read 50/2. With 47 needed off 23 overs and 8 wickets in hand, complacency went in at No 4, 5, 6 and 7. With a well settled Sarav falling for a well played 17 and suddenly reduced to 70 for 7, it was time for some mending. Anshul and JD held it together for a brief period before both were out to leave 12 Stars at 90 for 9. However Ganga returned as Number 11 [since it was 10 a side] to give able company to Jerome who was on the other end surprising himself and the entire crowd. The heartbeats of the 12 stars team getting a bit louder with every passing ball, Jerome, the Man of the Match, kept his nerves and guided 12 Stars to a memorable win. Finally it was “All’s well that ends well” for 12 Stars. A good bowling performance from Sasi [seems he bowls occasionallyJ] definitely exposed the 12 Stars batting line up to say the least.
The Tea, as usual was great and it was decided that we’d play another match, this time a 20-20. After all, the Metzians didn’t travel all the way just for 96 runs, did they? Asif, the friendliest of captains requested to bat again, probably fearing that if 12 Stars bat, they may not even have the target of 97J.
Ganga and Sean opened the bowling and Kolaveri, sorry Gulabadri just smashed all ends up. He was in such a mood that at the end of 5 overs, Metz were already 62 for no loss but with the loss of 2 balls into the Tervuren forests. JD got himself on and a slower got rid of the otherwise “non-violent” Meera.. A steady Gulab reached 78 in no time and finally had to be undone by a scorching Yorker by the skipper. Enough damage had already been done and despite Jerome and JD taking 3 wickets each, Metz still managed a mammoth 184 in the 20 overs.
It was the usual “Do or die” situation for 12 Stars and the ever-eager Anshul forced volunteered J to open the batting with Satya. Some flamboyant strokes from Anshul saw him reach 16 in 7 balls before he opted to listen to the leather hitting the timber. Satya was run out unfortunately while on the other end, Prabu was patiently playing his fine innings. Someone had to tell him that the first match was already over and that we are on the next one chasing 185 J. A well settled Prabu lost his wicket trying to show aggression while Sean and Ramesh quickfired into double figures. JD tried to compose his innings to lead 12 Stars to an improbable victory but the ball got the better of him to leave him at 35 not before he foolishly ran out Jerome at the other end. New boy Ishaq threw his bat to earn a well made 14 before Metz cleaned the tail to leave 12 Stars yawning at 147 [Would have made a perfect snooker score though].
It was handshakes and hugs all around as 12 Stars made Metz absolutely comfortable and made them feel at Home… Few Team pictures were taken and it was good bye from the Metzians for another long journey… With the game played in great spirit and in the right attitude, Cricket ended up the Worthy Winner.