Motown-MCA’s season of “almosts” ended with another “almost” on Saturday, 15 September, at Lyon Oaks, when they lost by three wickets to Greater Detroit Cricket Club and were eliminated from the MichCA forty-overs tournament.
Motown-MCA, batting first, were 113/2 (but could score only 175/8 in 40 overs); man-of-the-match Murali scored a brilliant 96, took two excellent diving catches, and bowled 6 economical overs (but ended up on the losing side). The season in a nutshell.
Among other highlights of the Motown-MCA innings, MCA’s wicket-keeper batsman Gordon Makin was second in runs scored with 22 and shared in a 70-run second-wicket stand with Mani Ramprasad; MCA’s Joint Head Coach Vasanth Krishnaswami scored a comfortable 13 not out at the end of the Motown-MCA innings, sharing an unbeaten ninth-wicket stand of 30 with Khayam Hashmi (14 not out), and then took 1/16 in four overs; Khayam took 1/30 in six overs; MCA’s Anurag Yerabati bowled seven overs, taking 1/35 and executed an excellent run-out. Motown-MCA’s bowling also provided moments of optimism: despite solid knocks from Kumar Devineni (20), Keyur Patel (25), and Rohan Wanchoo (20), the home team certainly fancied their chances when the visitors were 81/5 and then 126/6. But, once again, it wasn’t enough. Motown-MCA almost pulled it off, but a sixth wicket stand of forty between the apparently ageless pair of Faisil Sultan (38) and Shahid Ahmed (18 not out) took the match away, and a crestfallen team left for refreshments in Wixom, where they considered a season full of opportunities, promise, and, ultimately, disappointments.
Motown-MCA lost the toss and were put in, with Vijay Patel and Gordon Makin obliged to face the swing and skid of Taimoor Ahmed and Chandan Sood on a damp morning. Although Vijay fell early, caught behind (one of three catches for GDCC wicket-keeper Arfin Mustafa), Gordon survived initial struggles and, together with Mani, saw off the new-ball bowlers. When Gordon was caught behind off Shahid Ahmed with the score on 70, a solid base had been achieved, although the stand might have been bigger had the running between the wickets been crisper. Nonetheless, with 22 overs left, Motown-MCA felt optimistic. Gordon’s dismissal brought in Murali, the only Motown-MCA batsman to reach or clear the ropes (3 sixes, 3 fours), and his superb 96 deserved to be part of a winning total. But the familiar middle-order collapse saw Motown-MCA go from 113/3 when Mani was dismissed to a bleak 145/8, which included two ducks and two run-outs. Khayam and Vasanth added respectability, the only players apart from Murali and Gordon to reach double figures, but the final total could have been a lot more. The story of the batting in 2012.
In reply, GDCC got off to a good start, with a first-wicket stand of 41 between Kumar Devineni and Keyur Patel, but when the former was brilliantly caught off Khayam at second slip by a diving Murali and, two runs later, Anurag had the no. 3 batsman Omar Mustafa caught behind without scoring, the home team’s tails were definitely up. Sravan had Keyur Patel caught by Vasanth in the eighteenth over with the score on 74 and the following over Vasanth, whose recovery from shoulder problems has been one of the highlights of the season, had Kashif Saeed caught by Murali tumbling acrobatically in the covers, without GDCC adding to the score. When Mani removed the dangerous Rohan Wanchoo, caught at deep midwicket by Vijay Patel with the score on 81, Motown-MCA had a scent of a semi-final place. Then Arfin Mustafa and Faisil Sultan steadied GDCC with a stand of 45, although Anurag gave the hosts hope again when his direct hit ran out the GDCC wicket-keeper. The moment that hope finally disappeared was probably when MichCA President Shahid Ahmed, who, like Faisil Sultan, showed the value of experience with excellent shot selection and good running between the wickets, was put down behind – a difficult chance for the wicket-keeper standing up to Vasanth, but one that, if taken, would have put the batting team under pressure again (and a big disappointment on a day when Motown-MCA fielded well). As it was, the seventh wicket finally fell with only 10 runs needed (another excellent run-out, this time engineered by Khayam), and Ghanta Rao had no trouble in ending the match. When a final push was needed, Motown-MCA’s bowling and fielding had not been quite crisp enough. The story of 2012 in the field.
However, despite another day of disappointments, spirits were reasonably high over refreshments in Wixom, as the team contemplated its youth and potential. And next season is only six months away….
Motown-MCA 175/8 (Murali 96, Gordon 22, Kashif Saeed 4/38) lost by three wickets to GDCC (178/7, Faisil Sultan 38, Keyur Patel 25, Kumar Devineni 20, Rohan Wanchoo 20). Man-of-the-match: Murali.