For the second time this season Motown-MCA suffered a frustrating loss to Grand Rapids C. C., this time in the MichCA Forty-overs competition on Saturday, 14 July at Lyon Oaks. In a match shortened to 35 overs because of water from sprinklers on the infield, run-ups, and wicket early in the morning, Motown-MCA scored 235/5 (Vijay Patel 63, Murali 54 n.o., Hari 28, Mani 26 n.o.), but could not find the penetration to stop Grand Rapids chasing down the score, with Gogi (79 n.o), Bila (45), and Mayank Singh (36) doing most of the damage. Mani’s figures of 2/33 were the best for the home side.
Motown-MCA skipper Sathish Thandapani won the toss and had no hesitation in batting, sending in a new opening pair of Vijay Patel and Gordon Makin. They rewarded him with an opening stand of 37, seeing off the (sometimes wayward) new-ball bowling, before Gordon fell in the first over from Athis Patel, caught at first slip off a delivery that moved away. Vijay continued the way he knows best, hitting the ball hard, going over the top when the opportunity arose, and showing no concern for a couple of chances given in the process; no 3 Hari also batted in character – carefully and elegantly, before surprising spectators when stumped off Fahad Ilahi for 28. Captain Sathish Thandapani and one of this year’s new players, Praveen Konada, added a few, but the partnership between Mani and Murali, part of Motown’s Tamil Union, was key in the final overs, as Mani, with one six, was overtaken by Murali, firing on all cylinders for a five-over fifty that contained five sixes and four fours.
Motown-MCA’s total seemed around par on a big ground, and GRCC began quite slowly against the first three bowlers, Rohit Mogalayapalli, Murali, and Chamila Kannangara, but seasoned observers on the boundary noted that the new ball would have been better used if pitched up more, and when Motown-MCA’s spinners came on the slow wicket made aggression difficult for the fielding side. Mani engineered an excellent run-out to dismiss the dangerous opener Mayank Singh, after Khursid had been caught behind off Chamila, and Sai fell to Pawan Canchi’s spin, but a fourth-wicket stand of almost 100 between Bila (eventually acrobatically caught by Praveen off Mani) and Gogi made the difference. Joydeep Singh scored a quick 19 before falling to Murali, caught Sathish, while Sravanan added 12 before Mani had him caught by Murali, but it was too little, too late.
After the match senior observers remarked that Motown-MCA were clearly a stronger, better team than in previous years, noting that they had competed strongly in every match this season, but that the team seemed to lack a “killer instinct”, and that the younger players needed to learn how to win. It is to be hoped that that lesson will, indeed, be learned in the second half of the season.