On Saturday, in the first match of this season’s Michigan Cricket Association 40-overs competition, the combined Motown C.C. and MCA team went down heavily to last year’s champions, Lions C.C., at the Lyon Oaks cricket ground. Half centuries for two batsmen from the home team, who lost only three wickets in their reply to Lions’ 311/4, provided some comfort, although dropped catches had earlier helped to boost the Lions’ total.
Lions, led by Shahid Malik, last year’s tournament MVP and best bowler, won the toss and elected to bat, with Nitesh and Tanvir providing the foundation for the team’s big total in a first-wicket stand of 88. That partnership ended when Tanvir was caught on exactly 50 by stand-in captain Mani (replacing the injured Sathish Thandapani), off the bowling of Anurag Yerabati, who had recently recorded his own second career half-century for Great Lakes Cricket Academy against Holland C. C. in the GLCC 40-overs tournament. Anurag also dismissed the dangerous Zahid Butt for 6, while Mani had Farooq Malik well caught by Pawan Canchi, diving at short midwicket, for 21. Nitesh, however, was not to be dislodged, carrying his bat for a powerful 111, which turned out to be the almost exactly the winning margin for Lions. A quick fire 63 not out from Adnan (three sixes, six fours), batting at no 6, ensured that Motown-MCA suffered in the field during the final ten overs, when over a hundred runs were added to the total for no loss. MCA’s Rohit Mogalayapalli, who took the new ball with Murali, was the most economical bowler, giving up only 16 runs in four overs and finding an excellent line and length after his first over. Sravan, coming on as third-change, bowled seven containing overs, giving up only 37 runs (given the Lions’ powerful line-up, very respectable figures). Anurag, who bowled the only maiden in the innings, took 2/70 in eight overs, while Mani took 2/73, also in eight overs. Pawan Canchi’s off spin provided three solid overs, and new man Jashwanth Reddy turned his arm for two overs. However, Motown-MCA’s bowlers might feel a little aggrieved at the apparently inflated figures the score sheet recorded because a problem that has dogged the team all season was much in evidence on Saturday as the Lions went after the bowling: some half a dozen chances went down in the field, several of which might, if taken, have turned the game in the hosts’ favor. If the catches offered in the deep by the big hitters had been taken, Lions might have been compelled to bat more cautiously in the second half of their innings, while catches dropped closer to the bat, including one behind the wicket, would have certainly raised team morale.
At the innings break the Motown-MCA acting captain instructed his team to bat out the forty overs, feeling that a serious run chase was probably beyond a line-up short of truly big hitters. MCA Joint Head Coach Shyam Mayasandra and wicket-keeper Gordon Makin opened the innings, and immediately announced their intentions with a series of singles. Mayasandra was unlucky to take a top edge to the forehead when on six, and retired briefly (although refusing all suggestions of a trip to a local hospital); he returned at the fall of the second wicket, on 24, eager to punish the bowling, hitting 37 (one six), before trying to chip leg-spinner Mansoor into no-man’s-land only to find mid-on. Praveen and Jashwanth had gone quickly (to Ali and Mansour, respectively), but Gordon Makin made it clear that he intended to stay, scoring most of his runs with ground shots, supported by some quick running. He and Mani tested the field repeatedly, resulting in three threes for Gordon, and a run four and a run five for Mani. As Lions searched for bowlers who could take the necessary wickets, Gordon and Mani were able to speed up their scoring (Sanjeev’s two maidens and Milinder’s opening over, also a maiden, had contributed to earlier containment). The stand-in captain opened his own account with a maximum off Mansour’s final over, while the younger batsmen lifted Tanvir over midwicket for his first six at Lyon Oaks. Gordon Makin’s maiden fifty in a MichCA league match was greeted with applause by his team mates, but he might well have taken as much pleasure from ending the innings unbeaten, carrying his bat for 61. Mani brought up his fifty with some clever hitting and energetic running in the final over, closing the match on 58 not out.
While the home team ended the day disappointed with the loss, the batting and some solid bowling provided grounds for hope that the successes of last season can be built upon this year.
Lions 311/4 in forty overs (Nitesh 111 not out, Adnan 63 not out, Tanvir 50) defeated Motown-MCA, 198/3 in forty overs (Gordon Makin 61 not out, Mani 58 not out, Shyam Mayasandra 37) by 113 runs. Man-of -the-Match, as adjudged by umpire Dr V. V. Giri: Nitesh (111 not out, 2-0-15-0).