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Midwest Match 9 against London Cricket Club.

UCCC sneaks past London Cricket Club!              Scorecard

The jinx was there to be broken...and broken was it, in a nail-biting manner. What is the jinx? Lexington Cricket Ground had always been a "Waterloo" for UCCC. UCCC had been thrashed, pummelled and rolled over by Lexington Cricket Club at the same venue for two successive seasons.This time the opposition was different and the "C-A-T-I-T-U-D-E" was different too. A crucial game for both UCCC and London Cricket Club (LCC) which could very well guarantee the victors a place in the play-offs.

UCCC's skipper, VijayS won his second toss in as many matches and had no hesitation in opting to bat. The team had two changes: RahulM coming in place of Shashikanth and Ramgopal for Chandan. It was a sound and sedate start from the openers who have been consistently seeing off the new ball in this season. LCC's attack was not a threatening one and with a cement pitch and small boundaries, a high score was on the cards. RahulP looked a picture of concentration, defending showing the full face of the bat and punching well to keep the scoreboard ticking. Kiran patel bowled a teasing line around the off stump keeping the run-rate to 3 an over. UCCC were 20/0 in 6 overs when Bijoy, who looked assured at the wicket, threw it all away with a needless swipe outside the off which was gleefully accepted in the deep. Bijoy has been an enigma to the team management! Inspite of getting starts he has not been able to convert them to big scores. As the tournament goes on, the team will be up against qaulity bowling and we need him to carry on as he can play a wide range of shots.

VijayS and RahulP complemented each other in running between the wickets and kept the score board moving with well placed singles and the occasional boundary. However, LCC's bowlers continued to impress with their accurate line and length. They cleverly took the pace of the ball making it difficult for the batsman to force it on either side of the wicket. RahulP played the sheet anchor role to perfection by holding one end up. VijayS who looked to run the ball on the on side was caught and bowled of a leading edge. His 19(22) was studded with 2 boundaires including a sqaure cut through the off side. UCCC, with 2 down for 50 runs needed a partnership or two to launch and this was aptly provided by Vignesh and RahulP. A flick and a pulled sixes off Sunil patel brought the "Chiri Miri" chanting up and running for UCCC. Just when the partnership was taking shape RahulP was runout in a terrible mix up. This slowed down the run rate as Vignesh went into a more cautious approach.

UCCC were 78/3 during the drinks interval, and when play resumed Madhu was needlessly runout having taken a early start even before the ball reached the fielder. Two more quick wickets fell in succession as the batsman tried to break out of the shell. A sensible move saw Ram walk out and give the run rate a lift by taking 15 off an over by Hitesh. Vignesh, at the other end, joined the fun by whacking another six over square leg. The much needed impetus was provided by this pair as runs came thick and fast. Kiran patel was welcomed to the bowling attack by a straight six much to the delight of the UCCC players. Vignesh reached his second fifty of this season with a flick to midwicket. This was an important innings both for him and the team as someone was needed to play till the end. His innings ended when he was caught in the deep off kiran. VijayW provided the fireworks in the last 2 overs as he pulverized the LCC attack with some stunning shots. The last over read 1-4-4-6-4-Wkt. His six over covers was further proof of his batting skills and a higher batting position for him will do the team no harm. In the end, UCCC set a target of 188 for LCC to get.

VijayW started the proceedings with the ball. He was his usual 'mean' self with great line and length bowling. His new bowling partner RamGopal, who starting off pretty shakily, came back strong with a beauty which swung inside to mess up the opener's stumps. LCC had a quiet start to their innings with Pritesh Patel doing much of the work. RahulP removed LCC's captain when he skied a catch to covers. UCCC bowlers bowled within their limitations and were successful in getting the top order out for 60 odd runs. "Da Man" Nagi introduced in to the attack worked his charms once again! His ability to turn the ball square on a cement wicket speaks volume of his talent and potential. LCC recovered through Pritesh and Sunil patel who put on 50 runs for the 6th wicket. The game was fast slipping away from UCCC when RahulP got the much needed breakthgrough. Capitalizing on that Nagi, VijayW and Vignesh bowled tightly to deny any runs.

Tension mounted as 26 were needed of 24 balls. Ram who was taken off after his awful first over was given the ball. He took up the challenge and got 2 wickets off consecutive deliveries in the penultimate over much to the delight of UCCC. Inspite of losing 9 wickets, with Pritesh still playing, LCC still had a chance. Ram bowled 2 wides, one of which was a desperate decision by the LCC umpire, at the wrong time!! UCCC prevailed as Pritesh attempted a nonexistent second run and Santhosh's excellent throw from the deep to VijayS had Pritesh well short of his ground. Celebrations started immediately as it was a well fought victory. UCCC's bowlers held their nerves to finish the match.

VijayW and RahulP were the thick of the bowlers while vignesh and RahulP did a fine job with the bat with nice little cameos by VijayS and Ram. But still there are some areas of concern: the catching improved but there were chances spilt. There were 42 extras totalled and about 9 byes in that which is regretable. UCCC need to tighten up and show more discipline and application. RahulP, for his all-round performance, got the victory ball!

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER ------------------- **RahulP (a fine match as an allrounder)

GOOD PERFROMANCES ----------------- **VijayW (both with ball and bat) **Vignesh (with the bat) **Ram (with the bat)

PLAYERS WHO HAVE TO MAKE AN IMPACT -------------------------- **Bijoy (has to do justice to his talents) **Santhosh(hasn't had much opportunities but need a solid innings from him) **RahulM (has to play to his strenghts)