The traditional old time rivals of the Dartmouth College Cricket Club (DCCC), Chittenden County Cricket Club (CCCC) were back in town for the first game of the season between the two teams. While DCCC was coming off a scintillating win from a week ago against Merrimack Valley Cricket Club and was full of confidence, it was CCCC’s first game of the season. They surely wanted some redemption from last season where DCCC won the season series 2-1.
CCCC had few players less, as a result, Dartmouth gave 4 of its players to play on their behalf. Omar Khan captained the Dartmouth team, while Omar led CCCC. Omar from CCCC won the toss and promptly elected to bat. Amitavo and Omar opened the innings for CCCC, facing Apurva and Vinay who were the opening bowlers for DCCC.
Omar got off to a good start by hitting the first ball for a four and he settled down, punishing any bad ball. But with Apurva bowling some mean snorters and Vinay bowling impeccable lines, the going was a tad slow. Amitavo dispatched the first ball he faced from Apurva to the square leg boundary, tucked around his hip from the middle stump. But the momentum was not to be sustained, and Amitavo fell to a Yorker from Apurva, which cleaned up his stumps. This was a vital breakthrough for DCCC. The next batsman in was Naveed, who played an entertaining cameo of 10 runs with some hits to the boundary, but was caught by Vinay off Apurva when he tried to force one too many shots. Next in was Mani, who has been an anchor for CCCC for a long time. True to his role, he and Omar went on to repair the innings. Just when they both were settling in, Omar was caught off Vinay’s bowling after having contributed 32 runs to the scoreboard. Next in was Navneet who scored 20 odd runs. Sheldon followed him. Sheldon in a display of power, intelligent running between the wickets, and disdain for the Dartmouth bowlers, scored a quick fire 62 while maintaining a strike rate of 280%. He was ably supported on the other end by Mani who ended up with 74 runs against his name off 30 balls. Perhaps the highlight of the hitting display by the CCCC team was the 3 successive sixes hit by Sheldon off Apurva in the slog overs. Mani fell in the last over and CCCC folded its innings with a respectable score of 241/5 off 25 overs.
While the Dartmouth captain, Omar, used many of his players to bowl, Deepak was a revelation. With his “doosra” and maintaining a short of length pitches and bowling wicket to wicket, he was perhaps one of the most economical bowlers and will be a force to reckon with in future matches which are played on pitches where spinners can get more purchase from the pitch. Though at one point CCCC seemed to be running away with the game, Omar and Apurva were able to bowl intelligently at the fag end of the game to restrict the batsmen.
CCCC ended with a respectable score of 241 with a run rate of 9.6. While it was a defendable score, DCCC would have to get out of the gate running in order to have any hopes of pulling off a win. The Dartmouth squad was missing some of its regulars in Jay, Chris, and Amitavo. Govind and Apurva opened the batting for DCCC, and the batting display they put up can perhaps only be eclipsed by Govind’s performance in the game against Merrimack Valley Cricket Club (MVCC). The opening pair registered triple digits on the scorecard within 8 overs. Apurva fell after scoring a quick fire 54 off 34 balls. The next batsman in, Ashish also played his part in keeping the run rate high by scoring a useful 32 with a strike rate of almost 200!. After scoring 70 off 34 balls, Govind fell to a gem of a reflex catch by Naveen in the mid wicket region. At this point Dartmouth had enough wickets and balls in hand to cruise to a victory. With a couple middle order batsmen in Vinay and Warren, victory was assured unless DCCC found a way to self-destruct. Lack of effective bowling on CCCC’s part didn’t help their cause, and Vinay helped himself to a fine 19 before being bowled trying one shot too many. Warren and Amine were able to guide DCCC to its second successive victory with overs to spare. Warren scored 33 off 13 balls and remained not out along with Amine.
Overall, Dartmouth played a comprehensive game under the captaincy of Omar, where every member of the team contributed with the bat or the ball. The team also showed marked improvement in fielding from the last game. It was also heartening to see new faces on the team, and this only adds to the depth and competitiveness of the DCC team.
Today's date: Saturday, March 25th 2017.