Motown-MCA put in a much better performance in the field on Saturday, taking some excellent catches and generally fielding well, but still lost by one wicket to a rather depleted Toledo side, for whom late-arriving batsman and man-of-the-match Arjun Ajbani scored an unbeaten 93 to see the Ohioans to victory. The outstanding performers for Motown-MCA, the home side at the Canton ground, were MCA’s Anurag Yerabati, who scored an excellent 30 and produced a very fine spell with the ball (7-0-28-4) and senior man Hari, whose beautifully crafted 82, scored after hardly touching a bat for months, was a reminder that “class is permanent”. Jashwanth Reddy took an exceptionally fine diving catch in the gully to dismiss Toledo’s Santosh Patel for one off the bowling of Murali, while Toledo’s other opener, Nayan Patel, fell to an athletic catch by wicket-keeper Gordon Makin, diving down the leg side to take a swirling edge off Sravan one-handed. However, the young wicket keeper was left to rue a chance spurned behind the wicket, given off spinner Mani by Arjun Ajbani before he had scored.
Motown-MCA began optimistically, batting against only eight men for the first fourteen overs of their innings (the ninth man arrived in the fifteenth over, and Ajbani arrived only in time to bat five-down), knowing, moreover, that Toledo had been penalized for late arrival by having four overs docked from their own batting innings. However, opener Gordon Makin, scorer of an unbeaten 61 last week, was reminded of the cruelties of the game when Chirag Bhandari yorked him for one with the score on thirteen. Murali and Mani both played some nice shots, but will regret finding fielders, and it was left to Anurag and Hari to make sure that Motown-MCA had a competitive score. Anurag, whose frustration at falling to the very effective slow bowling of Philip Allen (5/39) was understandable, showed once again what an improved and mature batsman he is now, playing a variety of shots and batting sensibly in partnership with Hari, whose offside play was particularly impressive. Apart from them, Mani’s 10 was the only Motown-MCA score in double figures, as the lower order fell cheaply, leaving MCA Joint Head Coach Vasanth Krishnaswami stranded on five not out and the final score a rather disappointing 195.
When Toledo were 49/5 the home team probably thought that an early end to the match and escape from the intense heat and humidity were in sight. Sravan’s swing (5-0-28-3) and Anurag’s variety and accuracy looked as if they would guarantee a victory, and when Rohan Kapkar fell for 30 to Anurag, well caught by Pradeep in the outfield, with the score on 109, thoughts were still on an early victory. Anurag dismissed both Viral Thaker and Rakesh Patel, having earlier disposed of the dangerous Devin Patel, lbw for 8, but the late-arriving Arjun Ajbani could not be dislodged, offering just the one, crucial, chance behind before he had scored. He batted patiently, in careful partnership with last man Philip Allen, until the penultimate over allotted to Toledo, bowled by the previously economical Hari. Three fine sixes off four balls tied the score, and winning runs were then scored off the last ball of the 35th over.
Motown-MCA 195 all out in 32.5 overs (Hari 82, Anurag 30; Philip Allen 5/39) lost by one wicket to Toledo (196/8 in 35 overs; Arjun 93 n.o, Rohan 30; Anurag 4/28, Sravan 3/28).