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Midwest Match 10 against Ohio University Cricket Club.

UCCC ends league phase with a victory over Ohio University Cricket Club!      Scorecard

The drive to Ohio University @ Athens was a pleasant one, with curvy roads and picturesque surroundings. A perfect way to start our last league game knowing very well that we have already qualified for the playoffs. But as Steve Waugh says "Winning is a habit", UCCC was determined to finish off with a bang against Ohio University Cricket Club (OUCC).

The pitch was a cement wicket with very heavy outfield. Given the fact that the highest score achieved here was 119, it was expected to be a low scoring affair. OUCC's captain won the toss and decided to chase. UCCC would have liked to chase, going in to the playoffs, but the toss was beyond one's control.

Chaminda opened the bowling for OUCC with the Rahul twins opening for UCCC. There was drama in the very first over itself when a LBW appeal was turned down by the umpire. The bowler disdainfully requested (read screamed) to change the umpire. But the umpire stood his ground and by his decision and the game continued. RahulM was opening for the second time and looked confident. He played some good drives on either side of the wicket and looked a treat to watch. Standing tall and lofting the ball he brought up the first boundary for UCCC. The OUCC bowlers too were impressive with their disciplined performance as they kept it on a good line and length, restricting the scoring opportunities. On the other end, RahulP once again anchored the innings with well placed dabs and running the quick singles. The score moved on at a snails pace however, to 21 in 10 overs before RahulP was lbw to a ball that kept a bit low. UCCC's captain was up against some tight bowling knowing fully well that he had to stick around and give RahulM the strike. RahulM freed his arms for a thumping six over square leg and followed it with a powerful straight drive for a boundary. The runrate increased with VijayS slamming a full toss for a six over square leg.

Just as this partnership was taking shape, RahulM was run out in a mix up. He was dismissed for 31 which was worth a 50 on most grounds. Vignesh who will be playing the last league game for UCCC started well with singles but his over-enthusiasm to play predetermined shots saw him flick a full length delivery to square leg. This exposed the inexperienced middle order with Madhu playing all over a straight one to be out LBW. Swapnil on his debut was a picture of confidence. He displayed good temperament and common sense in rotating the strike and not letting the pressure get to him. VijayS at the other end was well in but could not free his arms because of tight bowling from OUCC.

UCCC reached 100/5 when Swapnil was needlessly runout without grounding his bat. Ram, who was set to impress his better half, had to walk back to the pavilion without facing a ball being run out. VijayS too fell trying to increase the runrate. This provided an ideal platform for VijayW to launch into his trademark robust shots on either side of the wicket. A six to long on and a pulled four to square leg stood out. UCCC made 134 in 35 overs. OUCC needed to bat out of their skins to achieve this score in such a big ground.

UCCC had one thing in mind: to play for pride. OUCC batsmen opened with some slogging which initially put some runs on the board. Trying one too many slogs resulted in a slash that was plucked out of thin air by RahulM at gully. The trend continued with the second wicket caught behind with the score on 16. Ram thrilled the crowd with a direct hit that had a batsman well short of his ground. OUCC's Captain/All-Star player Nilesh walked out and started belting the bowlers. He was dropped by RahulP off Chandan, which might have proven costly. RahulP came back and took the wicket of Nilesh and also added Ganesh to his tally. The UCCC fielding picked up and there were some fine catches and runouts. At the drinks break OUCC were 52/5.

After the drinks break Tariq was brilliantly caught by Swapnil in the deep. OUCC, at this point, were never in the chase and constantly lost wickets. "Twister" Nagi came on and took a wicket immediately and went on top of the wicket takers list for mid west. When the last man was dismissed off Ramgopal, the whistles from the small crowd could be heared signalling the finish in a grand fashion.

Man of the Match - RahulM

Most improved players - RahulM, Chandan (7 overs 17 runs 2 wkts)

Other - Fine debut by Swapnil