On Saturday at Lyon Oaks, against top team Greater Detroit, Motown-MCA, in their first play-off match (shortened to 35 overs because the field was to be used later in the day by the Michigan Rush soccer tournament), struggled to 103 all out, with the Mayasandra father-and-son combination contributing almost half the runs. They then fought hard to defend the modest total, but finally lost by seven wickets. Had the spilled catches stuck, the home team might have been able to apply some pressure when GDCC batted, but it was clear that, on the day, the visitors’ batting and bowling were both superior.
Motown-MCA Captain Sathish Thandapani won the toss and, despite the early start (again, because of the soccer tournament), chose to bat without any hesitation. His team had a somewhat unfamiliar look, with two youth regulars, Rohit Mogalayapalli and Gordon Makin, away on international duty – they had flown out of Detroit Metro early that morning on their way to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to play for the USA U-15 team in the ICC Americas North Tournament. Into the team came Kishan Patel and Jeeth Nirban, with Gordon’s younger brother Neil Makin also making another appearance.
Shyam and Ani Mayasandra opened the batting, and father and son played cautiously against GDCC’s openers Chandan Sood and Taimoor Ahmed (2 wickets), who both bowled an excellent line and length. Indeed, the same could be said of everyone in GDCC’s bowling lineup – medium-pacer Maqsood Hussein, slow-left-armer Keyur Patel (2 wickets), slow-but-dangerous Avinash Komireddy (2 wickets), and medium-pacer Rohan Wanchoo all posed problems for the Motown-MCA batsmen, and the fact that Man-of-the-Match Wanchoo came on as fourth-change, returning figures of 7-3-8-3, is eloquent testimony to the strength of GDCC’s bowling. By the time Shyam Mayasandra was out for 19, caught off Keyur, there was a platform for Motown-MCA, but only his son Ani (Man-of-the-Match for Michigan Premier C. C. in the MichCA 20-overs league last week – his second such award of the season), was able to take much advantage before he fell to Avinash for 24. No other Motown-MCA batsman reached double figures, with only Anurag Yerabati, Rohan’s first victim, caught Siva, offering any prolonged resistance for his 8. The league’s top batsman, Maniramprasad, was unable to assert himself on the day, falling to Avinash (for 2), while Muralidharan, fresh from his summer in India, continues to search for form with the bat. Kishan Patel was unfortunate to be run out for 5, his aggression suggesting a possible route to recovery for Motown-MCA; Vijay Patel stayed a while, but soon became Rohan’s second victim, and the Captain fell, also to Rohan, while trying to push along the score; Chamila Kannangara ended the innings 4 not out, as Taimoor Ahmed returned to york both Vasanth Krishnaswami and Jeeth Nirban. Neil Makin did not bat (but fielded for the entire GDCC innings).
With no scoreboard pressure, GDCC were in a comfortable position as they opened their innings, and Suri Bala made ample use of that position, carrying his bat for 46. Murali, who took the new ball with Kishan, picked up Siva for 6, Anurag (who put in another good spell) had Vijay Matta caught by Mani, and then returned the favor by catching Keyur off Mani, but Babu steadied the ship with 20 not out, and GDCC completed their victory when Suri pulled Neil Makin’s first ball of the season for 4.
Such an outcome always looked likely, although the chances that went down in the field could have given Motown-MCA hope, and might have applied at least some pressure to GDCC’s experienced batsmen. Of the spills, one stood out as a moment that could, indeed, have changed the match: when the score was in the 20s, twelve-year-old Neil Makin, fielding at cover, got two hands to a shot from Suri but couldn’t hold on as he landed, after running back and diving for the ball. It would have been a fine catch for an adult fielder, and if the youngest player in the match had taken it to dismiss GDCC’s opener the morale boost to the team would have been huge. But it was not to be. Neil got up and kicked his cap (à la Graeme Swann). His gesture summed up Motown-MCA’s day.
Now the team must regroup for its second playoff match – a “must-win” fixture against Oakland University CC at Lyon Oaks on Saturday.