MCA lost by three wickets to Saginaw at Lyon Oaks on Saturday, despite setting a target of 142. MCA, with the core squad reduced by injuries and absences, called upon two new guest players – Motown’s Vijay Patel and Sumit Garg – and welcomed MCA’s own Jai Sura to the lineup for the first time. Saginaw, too, had found it hard to field a team, and arrived at Lyon Oaks with only seven men. Vasanth Krishnaswami (MCA Joint-Head Coach, and T20 Captain in the absence of Shyam Mayasandra) and Saginaw’s Captain Shami agreed that, with the outcome of the match irrelevant to standings for the Super Sixes, MCA would loan Saginaw three fielders, but bat first. Vijay Patel and Neill Quinlan opened for MCA, and put on 57 for the first wicket, before Neill fell for 16 to Shami in the tenth over, trying to pull a ball off the stumps as MCA attempted to accelerate; Vijay, short of match practice this season, batted himself into form with 42, before mistiming a big shot, while Sumit shortened his own time at the crease by ambling a second run to MCA’s Pawan Canchi, fielding for Saginaw – Pawan ran him out for 15. Gordon Makin made 13 nice runs before Salman took a good catch in the gully off Gordon’s cut. Anurag Yerabati’s speedy 18 included two boundaries, while Ani Mayasandra hit the second six of MCA’s innings (Vijay had the other) in his rapid and powerful 12 n.o., and Jai ended his first MichCA innings 1 n.o., facing just a few balls in the final overs. Every MCA batsman who faced more than a couple of balls hit boundaries, taking advantage of a speedier Lyon Oaks outfield, and the Academy had reason to be confident that 142 was a solid total against an opponent with only six wickets to give. The Academy felt even more confident when Anurag bowled opener Fahad for 0 in the second over; and when Vasanth took a good catch on the long-on boundary to remove the energetic Shahid for 22 off Pawan, in the 12th, MCA was still very much in the match; two overs later Salil fell to a catch at short midwicket by Gordon, also off Pawan, but , despite excellent quick bowling from opener Anurag (4-0-12-1) and later equally good off spin from Pawan (4-0-27-2), as well as very solid contributions from Ani, débutant Jai, and Ryan Quinlan, MCA could not dislodge Vishal, whose 45 n.o. was the key knock. Late in the innings brothers Gordon and Neil Makin bowled three rather chastening overs in tandem to set batsmen Vishal and Shami (although at least one chance went down in their expensive spells), and when Anurag returned in the eighteenth over, Saginaw needed only ten to win. Four leg byes helped, and the winning run came off the first ball of the nineteenth over, bowled by Ani.
Although the loss was disappointing, it will have no impact on MCA’s place in the second round, and MCA felt they had set a sporting example by providing their opponent with extra fielders, without whom the visitors would probably have faced a more demanding target when they batted.
Vasanth Krishnaswami had no hesitation in naming Anurag Yerabati Youth Man-of-the-Match for his outstanding all-round contribution.
MCA’s last match of the first round of T20 matches is on Sunday, 18 July, at Bloomer Park, against Oakland University.