On Sunday, MCA’s T-20 team kept its Contenders’ Trophy hopes alive with a tight victory over Henry Ford Health Systems C. C., defending a total of 113/6 to win by seven runs. Man of the match was Pawan Canchi, whose figures of 3/19 were the best among several impressive performances by MCA’s bowlers, while MCA’s senior batsmen had earlier built a solid total, led by Neill Quinlan’s well constructed 30.
MCA’s Joint Head Coach and T20 Captain, Shyam Mayasandra, had no hesitation in batting when he won the toss at Canton on Sunday afternoon. He and Gordon Makin opened, but the latter, losing patience in the third over, was out for two, trying to smash to leg a ball from Nilesh that kept low. Shyam Mayasandra, beginning to open his shoulders, was then given out lbw to Ram for twelve in the fourth over, although there was a suspicion of bat about the dismissal, and it was left to Neill Quinlan to anchor the innings, which he did with exceptional patience and care for sixteen overs, hitting the bad ball, rotating the strike, and running between the wickets with exemplary skill. Kashif Akhtar hit three fours in his twenty-one before misjudging a ball from the unpredictable Arbab, having shared a thirty-eight run third-wicket partnership with Neill, while Rohit Mogalayapalli was bowled by Arbab for three, emulating Gordon. Vasanth Krishnaswami was caught behind off Tanu for eleven, after he and Neill put on thirty-two for the fifth wicket. Ani Mayasandra’s quick-fire sixteen not out, with support from Anurag Yerabati, took MCA to respectability at the end. Chamila Kannangara, Pawan Canchi, and Neil Makin were not required to bat.
With the pitch somewhat unpredictable and the outfield slow and rough, a target of 117 was not as simple as it looked, and when Chamila began his excellent spell (4-0-14-1) with the wicket of Prasad, clean bowled, MCA tails were up. Fellow new-ball bowler Anurag was equally parsimonious (3-0-12-1), and when he had Asif caught by Pawan at short third man for three, HFHS looked in trouble. When Rohit Mogalayapalli, whose bowling once again showed exceptional maturity, had Nilesh lbw for seven in the seventh over, HFHS were in deeper trouble at 25/3. Danger man Ali shared a fourth-wicket stand of 37 with Suman, but when both batsmen went on 62 (Suman falling first, lbw, to Shyam Mayasandra, and then Ali caught by Rohit, mistiming Pawan to mid on), HFHS were again on the rack. Rohit and Ram made things interesting, but both fell to Pawan, Rohit caught by Neill, Ram caught behind by Gordon. After sixteen overs HFHS needed 42 to win, with three wickets remaining, but MCA were short of bowling options – the two opening bowlers had one over left, Pawan was bowled out, Shyam Mayasandra had only one left, meaning that the match was still very much in the balance – who was to bowl the key seventeenth over? At this point, with all to play for, Kashif Akhtar, nursing a very sore right shoulder, was called upon to bowl, and, for the second time in his career and the first time in ten years, opted to bowl left-handed. No one who has seen Kashif field will doubt his natural athleticism, but his over of slow-left-arm spin provided further proof, as he bowled Rushiyal and had Tanu caught by Shyam, ending his cameo with 2/9. Shyam Mayasandra gave up only two runs in the eighteenth over, and HFHS were left needing eighteen to win off twelve balls. The death overs fell to Chamila (who gave up just three runs in the nineteenth) and then Rohit, youngest player on the field, who started the final over with a no ball hit for a single, but conceded only five more as Arbab and Rajesh desperately threw the bat; the MCA fielders kept their heads (having performed well throughout the match, despite the condition of the outfield), and when the last delivery of the match clipped Rajesh’s off stump, MCA were home and dry. The only serious blot on the Academy’s copy book, as they celebrated the team’s second victory of the season, was the disappointingly high tally of wides – by far HFHS’s highest scorer at 42.
The tournament takes a one-week break before resuming in mid-August.
“We’re batting”. The captains return after the toss.