Game time folks:
Another weekend and his time it is Zurich Lions vs St. Gallen at Embrach.
The first team to reach on ground is the home team Zurich Lions for whom it's a home game. Having had a really close game on last weekend against a class team of Nomads CC, Zurich lions really put a brave fight.
Nevertheless every game is a new game in Cricket and every new day gives hope to everyone to put their best foot forward. Eventually there is only one team wins but for players they put their all for the game.
Overnight rain on Saturday had put a scare of cricket lovers’ face but things gotten fine on the Sunday morning. Outfield is slightly damp however the bring sunshine is making sure it will be a really pleasant day.
Toss time: St. Gallen CC won the toss and elected to bat first.
Zurich lions are in huddle and they are all pumped up to go. A golden duck in the very first ball of the match where a lovely out swinger from Kanishk had the edge of the opening batsman safely pouched in first slip by Sara.
St. Gallen captain Nasir and non-striker are careful to watch out few early overs where there was a lot of swing and wind to help fast bowlers. Nasir played some lovely drivers and cuts to keep the scoreboard moving. Nonstriker gave able support to Nasir and they stitched an able partnership. Halfway thru the game and they are moving at good pace of 11 overs 96/1. Zurich Lions did not capitalized the start they got as their middle over bowlers struggled with line and were a bit wayward which accounted for a lot of extra runs. Only when Nasir was looking quite settled he got cramps and sighting an opportunity where an excellent run out coupled by brilliant fielding by Mayur/Amit caught him short inches of his ground for a run out. Gates were open, match was evenly poised where St. Gallen was looking to go all guns for remaining 8 overs when they had put up already 12 overs 104/2. One would expect they were eyeing at around 170-180 mark. A bowling change by Zurich lions to put the brake on scoreboard was called for when spinners came to bowl and did brilliant not only to stop runs but chip in with wickets too in regular intervals. A little onslaught at the end made sure St. Gallen reaches 20 overs 150/9.
One would say a great comeback from Zurich lions given where the opponents were in half way mark. Good spells from Zurich lions spinners Mayur and Sara and decent bowling by medium pacers made it possible. Zurich lions were brilliant in field where not only they stopped runs but took some brilliant catches; Sarfaraz at long off especially with two wonderful running catches and Aditya with two good catches. However what would’ve irked the Lions were there extras as many as 43 of them which was below their standards, but losing your heart is not an ideal thing and to uplift the spirit a team should forget bygone are bygone; a new inning in the second half would give them another chance to prove themselves. As for St. Gallen they might be happy to take that score; given many of their batsmen rushed to throw away their wickets; but Nasir played sensibly.
Time for a break – 10 mins. Second innings to start.
A change in strategy by Zurich lions to promote Ankush as an opener with Kanishk was seen as a clear symbol from lions to go aggressive and not to make the mistake of being slow starter what costed them the match against Nomads CC where it was too much to ask in the end to chase down. Nevertheless; Kanishk and Ankush started cautiously only when in next over Kanishk was bowled by a jaffa of a delivery. Not a good start as the scoreboard read 1 over 4/1. On came Sara to partner Ankush; where the Ankush was the aggressor and he played some beautiful shots all across the ground – square cuts, drives, flicks all looking so easy to the eyes, Sara was trying to settle in however some disciplined bowling from St. Gallen was not allowing Lions to open up their arms to go blazing. Sara trying to up the ante hit a huge six over midwicket and a four; clearly indicated the signs from team to not let things wait until the end as scoreboard was reading 8 overs 48/1 and asking run rate has already climbed up to 9 per over. Sara perished while trying to break free but made a good contribution of 20, though in hindsight would have wanted to stay more in the crease. Scorecard read 10 overs 60/2. While Joined by Senthil the duo played really well and kept the run rate in check. Senthil had the determination to get this done. Played some really good strokes for his nice little 20 runs. Meanwhile Ankush was flawless; not taking any unnecessary risks and punishing the bad balls and reached his brilliant fifty. Ankush was caught in midwicket boundary by the time scoreboard read 90/3 at the end of 14 overs.
Senthil was also trapped lbw by end of 16th over it was 109/4. Sigh!! Similar situation for Zurich lions as to what they faced against Power CC two weekends back and just a week before to Nomads CC. 4 overs and 42 required to win. Slow start made it really looked like the game was nothing but all set for a humdinger and going down to the wire. There are some special people tailor-made for such situations and fortunately Zurich lions do have one such in form of Mayur – although he has not been 100% fit since last week; he has such commitment to come again is asked to deliver. Déjà vu!! For him and for the team. Countless number of times he was put into such pressure cooker situation and endless number of times he has done this for his team. Occasion is set, stage is set, and game is set – having said earlier the one who holds the nerves crosses the line. Mayur and Lokesh – the heroes of first match for Zurich lions are again there to get the home team back to winning streak. Hard to put into the words and to write what had happened in those last 4 overs of thrill, horror and ecstasy. One thing was sure; sports is such a passion it make people bring the best out of them. So let’s see how it goes – Mayur being in great touch played some scintillating boundaries and a six again over the point (same as what he played against Power) – it is so, so pleasing to the eyes and so easy to watch. The calmness and composure he brings reminds people of reminiscence of cool MSD – no matter the situation is; which also gives a lot of confidence to the non-striker. Having collected 12 runs in 17th over the equation is 3 overs 30 to get. Lokesh did what he does best; ample support to Mayur played nice little cameo of 10 crucial runs in 6 balls. Mayur made is easy for lions after having scored crucial and flawless 30 runs with 4 boundaries and 1 six of 15 balls, unfortunately it’s not him who will get lions cross the line as he just got out in the final over first ball needed 5 to win. Played well. Okay fellas – 5 runs 5 balls – did not we all wanted to witness such a cracking game of cricket? What an absolute thriller. Sniffing a bit to do extraordinary the St. Gallen bowlers and fielders were all but pumped up to pull back somewhat remarkable if they could.
Omed is at crease and with him is Amit. a few dot balls and equation is 3 balls 4 runs yet to get. 3rd ball of final over and Omed hoicked it over the long off to go for glory shot; it went up high onto the skies and to the horror of St. Gallen CC; the fielder made a mess of the catch dropping what could have been a match for them. Mind is like parachute it works best when it’s open and that too in such situation - Omed and Amit did so by stealing 3 runs of that dropped catch and a overthrow. Scores are levels; one camp is joyous; another one’s shoulders are down. Not yet over lads; 2 balls – a right arm fast bowler with all jam packed fielding to stop the single; pumped in and ran to deliver – Amit tried to cut, went past him to the keeper but Omed already called his lungs out and ran for a single, the duo finished the run without getting out. Phew; what an outstanding match; what a brilliant day of cricket. St. Gallen was also much disciplined and did not give many extras; however they would rue the fact their captain couldn’t bowl; one arrow short in their armor.
Absolutely great scenes. Zurich lion’s players ran crazy to hug the batsmen and hugs all around the camp. They have done largely what they been known for; deliver under pressure. For sure bowling unit must display more discipline, need a lot of correction not to bowl so many extras and to also start a bit aggressively in their batting as rightly said; well begun is half done and not every day they would be rescued by some heroes; heroes also do have some off days. Team building is such an important thing.
To make it work everyone must be adaptable to be able to deliver when situation demands. The great thing otherwise is Zurich lions looks like quite a settled side and ready to give run for a money to any team come what may. Table is evenly poised for Pool 2 where every team has a chance to prove their mettle.
Cricket would be the winner again as when we will see Zurich lions lock horns against Winterthur next Sunday 02st Aug 3 PM at Deutweg Winterthur.
St. Gallen won the toss and decided to bat first lost to Zurich lions by 5 wickets
St. Gallen CC – 20 overs 150/9 (Nasir -38, Haroon 33, Vivek 15; Ankush -2/25, Sara 2/24, Kanishk 2/35)
Zurich Lions CC – 19.4 overs 151/5 (Ankush 52, Mayur 30, Senthil 20; Falak – 3/24, Ketan 3/28)
**Ankush was adjudged man of the match for his all round performance.
I hope you enjoy reading this match report and enjoy the nice sunny days.
See ya all next week and have a great week.