On Saturday Canton C.C. made the most of their small ground, outhitting Motown-MCA to win by 55 runs, despite a fine performance in the field by Sathish Thandapani’s team (excellent bowling by Rohit Mogalyapalli, Anurag Yerabati, Ani Mayasandra, and Maniramprasad; fine catches from Sathish Thandapani, Pawan Canchi, Maniramprasad, Rohit, and MCA Joint Head Coach Vasanth Krishnaswami), and a very fine innings in reply from Maniramprasad, plus double-digit scores from Sathish Thandapani, Ani Mayasandra, MCA Joint Head Coaches Shyam Mayasandra, Vasanth Krishnaswami, and Gordon Makin.
Canton won the toss and their captain Kashif had no hesitation in batting first. At 11/3 in the third over, with his team struggling against excellent opening bowling from Rohit and Anurag, who were both to finish with fine figures (6-0-20-1; 6-0-42-3), he might have been having second thoughts, but his own fighting 57 steadied the Canton ship, the fourth wicket stand adding 85 in eleven overs. However, Motown-MCA heads did not go down: they were very quick in the field throughout, with everyone, down to the youngest fielder, Neil Makin (12), making his first appearance in MichCA this season, making athletic contributions, and the only chances that went down in the Canton innings were two difficult catches behind the stumps, one to each of the wicket keepers, while very fine catches in the deep by Rohit and Pawan helped contain Canton. However, there was nothing much that could be done about Canton’s biggest hitter, Manpreet Singh, who came in at 7 (the team bats all the way down), and hit 50 in 24 balls, eventually going for 58, caught by Sathish Thandapani off Mani, with only six of his runs requiring the big man to leave his crease. Motown-MCA players ruefully noted that, on a bigger ground, the blows that were not off the middle of the bat might have gone to hand, but at Canton on Saturday this was a match-changing knock. A patient 40 from Ravi also made a difference, but Motown-MCA fought hard to the end, with Ani bowling eight excellent overs (8-0-59-2) and Mani six (6-0-31-4), their figures telling only part of the story, since they had to bowl to the irresistible Manpreet, as was also the case for Pawan, four of whose overs went for a mere twelve.
When Canton were all out for 253 in the 34th over, Motown-MCA were far from disheartened: they had chased well all season, and the small boundaries could be expected to help their big hitters too. A brisk start was duly produced by openers Gordon Makin and Shyam Mayasandra, in an opening stand of 37 in five overs, the latter dominating the bowling with four effortless boundaries, the former also pulling and cutting well (two fours). Even when both fell in quick succession, Shyam Mayasandra for 22 playing on to a good yorker from Amit, and Gordon for 14, also playing on, but to Manpreet, whose bouncing in-cutter was too good for him, there was plenty of optimism. Ani, after a cautious start, began to hit hard, and his six reminded his team of what could be achieved. Maniramprasad, too, began cautiously, but as he started to accelerate optimism grew. The third-wicket partnership between Ani and Maniramprasad was worth 43 when Ani fell to Rohan for 21, and even Anurag’s all-too-short stay at the crease did not undermine confidence, as Vasanth Krishnaswami came in to play an anchoring role, while Mani took the attack to Canton. Vasanth Krishnaswami was just getting into his stride, delighting his young charges with three fours, when some hesitation led to his run-out for 17, bringing on the drinks break. 156/5 in the 26th over was still a decent situation, with two big-hitters yet to bat, but immediately after drinks Mani pulled hard to backward square leg, who took a good catch to dismiss him for 63, and suddenly the situation looked darker. Vijay Patel succumbed quickly to scoreboard pressure, which left the chase to the skipper. He fought hard for his 32, giving Canton a few late doubts, but Rohit and Neville Manohar (making his first appearance of the year) did not stay with him long, the former unlucky to get a ball that kept low on the unpredictable Canton pitch, and his was the last wicket to fall with the score 198, Pawan unbeaten at the end.
Despite the defeat both the skipper and the MCA Coaches spoke of a fine performance from the team, while Man of the Match Kashif was quick to praise Motown-MCA in the field. The team will hope to rebound on Saturday against Oakland University at Lyon Oaks.