On Saturday at Lyon Oaks, where a heavy outfield made scoring runs a challenge, Motown-MCA made 199/6 in 40 overs against Greater Toledo Cricket Club (Maniramprasad 44, Shyam Mayasandra 36, Gordon Makin 35), but were able to bowl only 3.5 overs before heavy rain caused the abandonment of the match, with the points split between the two teams.
Motown-MCA Captain Sathish Thandapani won the toss and had no hesitation in batting, despite the heavy outfield, on what must have been one of the most humid days of a very humid summer. GTCC had two matches that day – in addition to the fixture with Motown-MCA, they also had a match in GLCC vs Chargers (that league’s top team), so the Toledo side that arrived in Wixom on Saturday morning had a somewhat unfamiliar look. It included newcomer to Michigan cricket Rob Glaysher, a 21-year-old undergraduate at Peter Moores University in Liverpool, currently working in Oakland County, but usually a regular for Burscough C. C., of the second division of the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition (one of the ECB’s 25 Premier Leagues), and a level-three ECB coach. Readers may be interested to note that the Englishman found the level of cricket on Saturday quite high, but was shocked by the very slow over rate (in his league, teams are required to bowl seventeen overs per hour, whereas Saturday’s match produced an over rate of just over ten per hour).
Gordon Makin and Shyam Mayasandra opened the batting, and, following the Captain’s instructions, moved the score along without taking too many risks. The outfield was so slow that even Motown-MCA’s biggest hitter noted subsequently that “fours have turned into twos”, while Gordon Makin did not reach the boundary once in 25 overs. However, the openers had built a solid platform before Shyam Mayasandra, attempting to clear the boundary, was caught at long-off by John Joseph for 36 off second-change bowler Mohan. Earlier Amey Kelkar and Rob Glaysher had taken the new ball and both were accurate and intelligent in their use of it, with Kelkar particularly effective, so when the first wicket fell in the 18th over, Motown-MCA’s score stood at only 65. By then GTCC were crowding Gordon Makin, whose response was to play some more aggressive shots, one of which, aided by the running of no 3 batsman Anurag Yerabati, produced the match’s only 3. However, when Kelkar returned for his second spell, Gordon, looking to move the score along, played a loose shot off Kelkar’s first ball of the spell, spooned the ball to John Joseph at mid-on, and Motown-MCA were 90/2 in the 25th over. When Anurag fell for ten, caught behind off Kelkar, and then Vijay Patel came and went quickly, dismissed by Glaysher, Motown-MCA, at 107/4 in the 30th over, might have thought that their goal of a minimum of 180 was beyond them, but this season’s top run-scorer, Maniramprasad, had other ideas. After a cautious start, Mani began to take the attack to Toledo, taking advantage of some poor fielding to post an aggressive 44, including two fours and a spectacularly effortless six flicked to square leg (Vijay Patel claimed partial credit, having lent Mani his Kookaburra bat); Mani had received support from Sathish, whose twenty included an excellent straight six, while Chamila Kanangara (10 n.o.) and Ani Mayasandra (5 n.o.) delighted team mates on the boundary by going after the bowling in the final two overs, thereby setting the opposition a healthy target of 200. The last ball of the innings produced a run four, as Ani and Chamila took advantage of some tired fielding. At the innings’ close Motown-MCA were very satisfied with their score – the equivalent, they felt, of 230 or more on a normal day at Lyon Oaks, and of a bigger score at one of the area’s smaller grounds. However, GTCC had bowled well, with Kelkar and Glaysher varying speed and challenging the batsman, while first change Devon Southwell (who, like Kelkar, took two wickets) had also troubled the bat, and the contest was very much on.
Big-hitting John Joseph opened the Toledo reply, along with Gautam, and had already scored a swashbuckling 16 out of a total score of 21 before the rain came. Chamila and Anurag took the new ball, and looked likely to take advantage of Joseph’s aggression (the key to the match, many felt) before the weather intervened.
Motown-MCA now sit mid-table at fifth, with fourteen points (three wins, three losses, one draw); Toledo are in first place with 22 points. It is hoped that the regular season will be completed with a match against fourth-place Lions C. C. on Saturday, but this fixture has yet to be confirmed.
Motown-MCA members were later shocked and saddened to learn of the death on Sunday of GTCC President Azmat Khan, one of the most prominent and enthusiastic members of the local cricketing community, and the senior player in the MichCA leagues. Mr Khan had twice spoken to the Motown President on Saturday as he checked the score at Lyon Oaks, showing characteristic support for his club and for local cricket in general. He will, of course, be very much missed.