Years of being unable to schedule a friendly game with Tri-City CC came to an end on June 16th when the Dartmouth team made the 3 hour trip to Schenectady, NY. Some unexpected upsets early in the morning at Hanover, with Hozefa backing out and one Dartmouth supporter willingly substituting himself (thanks Venkat!), meant that Dartmouth did travel with a full team. However, Omar’s late arrival because of on-call duty would prove to make the decision to bat or field a difficult one.
Rahul, captaining his first game for Dartmouth, won the toss, and elected to field using the opposition’s 12th man to make up the 11 on the field. Mike Persaud and Kiran Vishnu opening the batting for Tri-City, fared well against Jay, hitting two 4s in the first over to get off to a good start. On the other end, Rahul was unfortunately denied a clear LBW with his second ball and was then hit for 6 over the long off boundary. This stopped play because the ball was lost in the thick brush. This prompted a discussion between the captains which eventually resulted in the game being reduced from 35 to 30 overs to accommodate any other such delays.
The opening spell of 8 overs cost 47 runs with Rahul eventually getting Kiran out LBW on 17. The introduction of Vijayasri in the 9th over and Omar’s arrival changed Tri-City’s fate, with Omar snapping up 2 quick wickets (one bowled, one caught by Rahul) and Vijayasri bowling well to effect a middle order collapse with 3 wickets for 20 runs in 6 overs, leaving Tri-City reeling on 80/5 after 20 odd overs. Helping Vijayasri’s cause was a catch by Amitavo, a brilliant sharp take by Harsha at close cover and a stumping by Govind.
Enter the opposition’s captain, John, who would play a steady knock of 37 to ensure that a recovery and healthy total was attained after being given a life by Omar who dropped a regulation catch when John was on just 2. His innings was ended after being bowled by Rahul.Govind also managed to spill an easy one, allowing Eddie to make a useful 14. Sudarshan, asked to bowl 5 overs on the trot, did the job for the team and claimed 2 wickets. Amitavo’s lone over was also riddled with confusion among himself, the Dartmouth captain and the keeper regarding bowling tactics. But once sorted out, the bowling side did well to restrict TriCity to 171/9.
In their reply, Dartmouth opened with the left-right combination of Jay and Harsha. This strategy proved to be a good one, with the opposition bowling quite a few wides and with the openers plodding steadily along to reach 40 in the 10th over. Run-rate acceleration would be required at this point should Dartmouth want to get to the asking total of 172 in the remaining 20 overs. Some hesitation in the running saw the end of Jay’s long knock with him being run out on 4. Rahul briefly joined Harsha and showed his intent, immediately getting off the mark and following up with a flat 6 over cover. A mistimed shot from the captain then went to fine leg. Wanting to retain the strike and chancing the fielder’s arm, Rahul found himself pushing for a second run and was short of his crease, run out on 10.
Amitavo joined Harsha who decided that it was his turn to try to up the run rate but he was unfortunately bowled. He played commendably for his top score of 26. A stubborn 4th wicket stand between Amitavo and Omar provided that glimmer of hope for Dartmouth. Should the clean hitting and rotation of strike continue, perhaps a win would be in the cards. Amitavo was undone by a straight ball on 13, while Omar was caught behind by the keeper on 14, trying to hit one too hard, too many. Dartmouth’s score at this point was 106/5, the extras thus far contributing 39 of those runs.
Vijayasri’s luck with the ball did not transfer to the bat and he was bowled by Mike Persaud without troubling the score. Persaud again disturbed the furniture and Govind followed suit also exiting on a duck to straight delivery. This brought both Vibhor and Sudarshan to the crease. Doing their best to place the ball in the gaps, they kept the score ticking over for some time but the game was all but lost at this point. Trapped LBW on 4, Sudarshan left Nicola and Vibhor with 3 overs to play. The goal was now not to be bowled out. Nicola exhibited text book and tutorial-like forward defensive shots to keep Vibhor on strike at the end of every over. He ended on 11 n.o, while Nicola faced 8 balls for 0, n.o. The final score was 131/8, extras 55.
Friendly exchanges, fun and food, and a beautiful drive back through Saratoga Springs saw the majority of the Dartmouth team arrive in Hanover at roughly midnight to end a full day of cricket with plenty lessons to be learned.
Today's date: Friday, March 23rd 2018.