Riding on the back of another scintillating half century from Amitavo, DCCC eked out a two wicket win against the Middlebury Panthers.
In ideal playing conditions, with temperatures in the low 60ís and the Peter Kohn field bathed in sunlight, Middlebury won the toss and opted to bat first. Dartmouth, boosted by the return of Apurva and Adeel, and fielding their strongest bowling contingent of the season, fancied their chances against the opposition lineup. Omar set the stage with the very first ball of the innings: a short delivery that deflected off the batsmanís body and onto his stumps prompting a baffled Sid to trudge off without troubling the scorers. Dartmouth had drawn first blood. Omar persisted with pace and nagging accuracy throughout his spell making life uncomfortable for the Middlebury batsmen. At the other end however, Vinay struggled to find his line and length: a long on six, a square leg boundary and a peppering of wides later, Middlebury had moved to 16 at the end of 2 overs
Vinayís initial waywardness prompted a bowling change and with Omar and Apurva now bowling in tandem, a keen tussle emerged between ball and bat. With wickets falling regularly at one end, Owais held fort admirably at the other. A flurry of boundaries kept the scoreboard ticking and it was not until Vinays breakthrough in the 10th over that the flow of runs was finally stemmed. With the lower middle order exposed, the boundaries started to dry up and in the face of some economical bowling and sharp fielding, the batsmen struggled to dispatch the ball away. Try as they might, the Dartmouth bowlers however were unable to rip through the Middlebury tail which succeeded in patching together a series of valuable partnerships. By the end of the innings, Middlebury had poked and prodded and nudged their way to a respectable, although un-daunting score of 154.
In response Dartmouth made hard work of what should have been a rather straightforward chase. Vinay and Amit, opening the account for the visitors were greeted by a spray of short deliveries that forced them onto their toes. A couple of close calls and dropped catches followed, but by and large the openers were successful in negotiating the new ball spell. With Abishek now in the attack, Vinay attempted to put his foot down on the accelerator but succeeded only in finding Haseeb at square leg who took a well judged catch to send the opener on his way back to the pavilion. Chris took a few deliveries to get settled, but just as he was beginning to get into his stride, a mistimed drive scooped the ball into the safe hands of Sid at mid-on. Vibhor and Apurva departed in quick succession and before one knew it, Dartmouth was already 4 wickets down.
While wickets were tumbling at one end, Amitavo was flourishing at the other. With characteristic nonchalance, Amit went about supplementing his already Bradman-esq batting avaerge with a series of cuts and slices to the square and third-man boundaries. He galloped along at nearly a run and a half a ball and almost single handedly kept the innings afloat as others sunk around him. Govind having hooked the ball for a glorious six knocked over his stumps and in doing so, fell prey to the ignominy of a hit wicket dismissal. More furniture was dislodged as Nic and Ruhin were bowled in quick succession and when Amit finally fell after scoring a grace saving 70, Dartmouth was still some 30 odd runs short of victory. Amits dismissal brought Omar and Adeel together at the crease and the two combined uncharacteristic restraint with some sensible batting to quietly knock off the runs. A nail-biting final few overs ensued, but the two batsmen kept their cool to finally see Dartmouth home with just 2 wickets to spare.
Today's date: Wednesday, February 20th 2019.