Sunday, 13 June was lucky for some, but not for MCA. Captain and Joint Head Coach Shyam Mayasandra asked for 150 when his side batted first against Troy, but MCA’s respectable, yet not spectacular, 109 turned out to be not quite enough, and the Academy lost in the nineteenth over of Troy’s reply. Gordon Makin was chosen by Coach Shyam as youth Man-of-the-Match for his twenty.
MCA’s core squad was thinned this week by high school graduation events and finals, so Coach Shyam recruited three new senior players from sister club Motown: big-hitting Satish Thandapani, whose 23 turned out to be MCA’s top score, and Motown’s two young newcomers, Murali Venkatapathy and Mani Ravikumar, whose 2/23 gave the Academy a fighting chance when Troy replied.
This was MCA’s first visit to Chet Singh’s ground at Tag’s Sports Complex in Hartland in two years, and several players took advantage of the proximity of the minigolf concession stand to enjoy ice cream and sodas, while Bradman-like practice with stumps and golf balls was another novelty. What wasn’t so novel was that MCA needed every batsman to score and the senior players to score big if the total the captain wanted was to be reached. But when Troy put MCA in, three wickets fell for a mere twelve — openers Rohit Mogalayapalli (bowled by Vamshi), Shyam Mayasandra, caught at mid-on off Troy captain Venkat, and Ani Mayasandra, also caught off the Troy captain, at square leg. Gordon Makin, batting one-down, and Neill Quinlan (three down), making his 2010 début, carefully rebuilt, but the score was only 43 at the end of ten overs when Neill retired hurt. New batsman Murali then fell lbw to Harsha immediately, and prospects looked bleak for the Academy, but Satish and Gordon put on 26 together before Gordon, feeling the need to put more runs on the board quickly, was caught at deep-ish mid-on, trying to lift a ball off Troy’s Satish Ketkar to the boundary. Mani fall cheaply but Chamila Kannangara hit a spectacular six before following Mani, also bowled by Avinash, while Satish continued to hit out until he was caught near the midwicket boundary. Anurag hit an aggressive 10 before Ryan Quinlan, also making his 2010 début and the returning Neill Quinlan (one of two father-son pairs in the MCA team on Sunday) took the score to 109/9 at the end of twenty overs.
The total gave MCA’s bowlers something to bowl at, and the Academicians’ progress over the last few months was indicated by the economy with which they pursued their attack of Troy, giving up fewer extras than their opponent, and generally bowling well. It is true that they began the defence of their total in the worst possible way, with Gordon conceding one bye along with five penalty runs off the first ball of the innings, as the ball hit his helmet, placed injudiciously behind the stumps. But openers Chamila and Ani give up only 28 runs in six overs, Ani starting with a maiden and lots of swing, while Murali bowled four overs for only 19 runs, and Anurag two for only 11 before he took over behind the stumps after the drinks break. Mani began with two overs for two runs and one wicket, but couldn’t quite sustain his parsimony as Troy attacked, and MCA’s failure to remove man-of-the-match Ankur, who carried his bat for 35, plus the middle order aggression of Shyam and the experienced Satish Ketkar was too much for MCA. The captain brought himself on, but could not get the needed breakthrough; nor could Gordon, whose leg breaks were hit for the winning runs. At the end of the match Troy’s senior men, led by Satish Ketkar, were generous in their praise of MCA’s progress, while MCA’s Shyam Mayasandra also spoke positively of his charges, and reminded everyone that the logjam in the middle of the league table means that MCA still has a fighting chance of making it to the Super Sixes. The next match is against Greater Detroit next Sunday morning, at Lyon Oaks.