On Saturday Motown-MCA recorded the team’s second successive victory of the season (two wins, one loss so far), despite travelling to Grand Rapids without several regulars. The hosts were skittled out for just seventy in 24 overs, with Vice Captain and MCA member Anurag Yerabati (Man of the Match) taking 5/17 and fellow MCA members Deepak Chilla and Chamila Kannangara taking 3/15 and 2/5 respectively. In reply, Motown-MCA knocked off the runs in 17 overs, for the loss of only Lalu Patel, with MCA Member and Motown-MCA wicket keeper Gordon Makin (22 not out) and Anurag Yerabati (27 not out) surviving a hostile opening spell by Joydeep Singh to ensure victory.
Earlier in the week Captain Sathish Thandapani had struggled with a problem familiar to captains preparing MichCA teams for long road trips – player shortages, in this case exacerbated by enforced absences: academic obligations kept MCA’s Ani Mayasandra at home, while professional duties detained both of MCA’s Head Coaches, Shyam Mayasandra and Vasanth Krishnaswami. But eleven men duly made the trip (a 280-mile round-trip for a Farmington Hills resident, significantly more for anyone coming from the Eastern suburbs of Detroit), of whom six were MCA players: Yerabati, Kannangara, Chilla, Makin, Rohit Mogalayapalli, and Pawan Canchi. When Grand Rapids came out to bat there must have been some anxiety in the Motown-MCA skipper’s mind – the bowling a little thin, few experienced batsmen, a very young team – and when the first two chances went down he must have wondered if he was in for a long day out West. But opening bowlers Rohit Mogalayapalli and Chamila Kannangara were not perturbed, fourteen-year-old Rohit bowling four tidy overs for just 13 runs (with more luck he would have had wickets, too), and Chamila also bowling well, rewarded with two late wickets (2/5 with one maiden). Deepak Chilla (8-2-15-3) followed, removing the only Grand Rapids player to reach double figures – opener Khorsud, well caught by Rohit at midoff for 26 (one four, two sixes). Deepak bowled in partnership with Anurag Yerabati, whom Grand Rapids could not play (8-1-17-5). Accuracy and swing did the damage, with six wickets bowled and one lbw (Rohit Mogayapalli, Wallace Rao, and wicket keeper Gordon Makin took the three catches), and only four bowlers called upon. Anurag, in particular, swung the ball both ways, and once Deepak had removed Khorsud, making the score 39/1 in the tenth over, Motown-MCA were able to strangle Grand Rapids, and take wickets regularly. After twenty overs, with Grand Rapids on 59/5, the home team must have still been hoping to rebuild, but Anurag’s two wickets in the twenty-first over took the score to 62/7; Deepak then bowled a wicket maiden; and when the twenty-fourth over, bowled by Chamila, turned into a double-wicket maiden, Grand Rapids’ innings, which fifteen overs ago had seemed to have a solid base built by the openers, was finished.
Back home, MCA officers shared the good news of a stellar performance in the field out in Grand Rapids, but called for caution when Motown-MCA batted. The batsmen duly obliged, with opener Gordon Makin playing out an initial maiden to Joydeep Singh, who bowled with real aggression, bouncing the fifteen-year-old repeatedly. Lalu Patel fell lbw to Singh in the third over, and after four overs the score had reached a modest 5/1, with only three runs off the bat. But patience, as urged by the Motown-MCA Captain, paid off. Gordon (one four) and Anurag (also one four) saw off opening bowlers Singh (5-1-22-1) and Grand Rapids Captain Fahad Ilahi, who swung the new ball effectively (4-1-6-0), played the remaining six bowlers with some confidence, and took Motown to the club’s best start to the season in three years.
Next up is a cross-border clash by the Detroit River on Saturday, 18 June, at the picturesque but bumpy Belle Isle ground, against new club Windsor-Dominion.
Grand Rapids C. C. 70 a.o, 24 overs (Yerabati 5/17, Chilla 3/15, Kannangara 2/5); Motown-MCA 72/1 (Yerabati 27 n.o., Makin 22 n.o.). Motown-MCA won by nine wickets