There are lots of ways to celebrate Sachin’s birthday… Cut a cake for him, hit lots of sixes or just cut through the opposition by taking six wickets…. Ironically, I’m going to talk about a guy who’s of the same age as Sachin…only that, Manoj is slightly…………heavier J
If this guy ever wrote an autobiography, it will be “Me, Myself and Manoj” J
On a cold April day, no, this is not a Poem.. Just trying to set the mood for this Match Report. Not the best day for cricket, but with a win on the previous day and with the form beckoning, it was probably the best choice to play irrespective of the weather. Luckily, the previous match between the Greens and PCCB overran a bit, giving 12 Stars the much needed relief, of not having to warm up for long. The Toss was won by Ani and he had no hesitation in putting the opposition in.
Having realised the mistake from the previous match, the PCCB opened with their best batsmen Ghani and Waqas. With Rohan’s outswingers posing serious threats, one of them hit the pads of Waqas giving the Umpire an easy decision to make. At 42 for 1 in 6 overs, Ani decided to “keep” his remaining over and decided it’s time for a bowling change. JD was asked to warm up. While JD’s was mind was busy with what he had to do the next over, Ani had already changed his mind and the “ever reliable” Manoj was brought in. The next 8 overs would live to tell the most remarkable T20 story ever.
When a straight lolly ball hit the pads of Basit and a missed sweep from Ghani hit the top of his bails, it already gave an insight of what is to come. Two steady catches from Rohan in the deep just deepened the miserable evening that PCCB was having. Just to quicken the end and to loosen the screws, Anshul was brought in at the other end. One of the batsmen decided to leave the crease and was stumped by Ani before the batsman reached out for the crease with “his hand”. The umpire decided his hand was longer than his bat and ruled it Not out. That was probably the spur that Ani needed. He went on to make 4 super quick stumpings and joined the ruining party along with Anshul and Manoj. Manoj finished with a stunning 6 for 15 in 4 overs, with a strike rate of a miserly 4 and an average of 2.5. The last 9 wickets of PCBB fell for a paltry 29 runs. Anshul supported Manoj ably, getting 3 for 13.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Ani had let JD bowl? Well, who cares……… J
With an easy target in hand, 12 Stars were still 72 runs away from victory. Rahul started with Gannu who has remained unbeaten in the T20 league so far. Before the partnership could stabilise, Rahul lofted an uppish delivery to be caught at mid-off. Gannu and Sandeep Raina then steadied the ship with some lusty blows and some mad running that ended up in Sandeep being the victim albeit for a well-played 16. With 26 needed, Ani asked JD to pad up…. And So, Bhushan joined Gannu in the middle J With some intelligent batting from Bhushan, the next 16 balls fetched 26 runs to hand 12 Stars a remarkable victory that started with a magical “spell” from Manoj. With this, 12 Stars have already cemented a place in the Quarter finals of the T20 league, but still there’s a lot to play for , lot to win for. Even though it seems like a one Man(oj) show, Anshul with his 3 wickets, Ani with his 4 stumpings, Rohan with his 2 catches, Gannu with his unbeaten run, Bhushan with his finishing touch, all played their part. Congratulations Stars.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Ani had let JD bat? Well, who cares……… J
One of the Stars…..