TROJAN CRICKET CLUB
University of Southern California
Cardinal Knights vs Viterbi Volts match reportNov 21, 2017 05:12 PM | Viterbi Volts won by 7 wickets | Scorecard
What a match up. Two teams, bordering on perfection, one calculating, exacting, squeezing the life out of its opponents, dot by dot, the other, mavericks in their own rights, using wits to outclass their opponents one by one. Not quite the Ashes, it was still a clash of the titans, at least by CPL standards. On a dewy, electric Friday evening, the Cromwell Track and Field echoed an almost eerie hum, watching patiently for a humdinger of a contest.
Anurath’s Viterbi Volts were spun out in the toss, and graced the openers, Denver Bopiah and Sushil Premjani, with their new opening bowling pair, Abhishek Pandey and Aman Singh. Abhishek’s two overs were expensive, but not without event, with Sushil caught on the boundary off a fielding restriction no-ball. In Aman’s second over, Denver edged one behind, only for the relatively straightforward chance to be grassed by the Volts’ keeper, Vedant Jain.
Then came the middle overs squeeze the Volts have been known for. After Anurath Gupta had Sushil Premjani out for 36 (27 balls), caught by Rishabh Tyagi on the fence, the Knights’ innings hit a roadblock of their own making. Denver Bopiah was unable to tick on after getting a start and the Knights exposed two new batsmen to the Volts’ pace barrage. Jay Patel and Niranjan Patel, two inexperienced campaigners were sent in, presumably to shield Gaurav Mathur and Vaibhav Oberoi from the fearsome pace of the Volts’ attack. Like Ishant Sharma and Munaf Patel facing up to Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, they stood mortified, fear gleaming in their eyes, unable to put bat on ball. Overs flew by, they felt like hours, years even, as the Volts squeezed tighter and tighter on the economy rate.
Eventually, Anurath relented, putting on the swingy medium pace of Rishabh Tyagi, saving his big guns for the Knights’ big guns. Yet, dot after dot, the pressure kept building on the Knights. Vedant put down another catch and missed a stumping in the Tyagi over, but it was the Knights’ that paid dearly. Eventually, after 32 balls for just 10 runs, they retired Jay Patel out, for 5 runs at a strike rate of 39. Enter Gaurav Mathur. He’s the big man, the most expensive player. He scored a ONE SIXTY in a 15 over game once. He’s scary, man. Not to Yatin Wadhawan. With a ball that screamed in at what seemed like a thousand miles an hour, it suddenly broke away, taking Mathur and his off stump by surprise. What a wicket! Once in a lifetime delivery. That’s what I thought too, till the very next ball, which sent Eshwar Narayan’s stumps flying. Two in Two, what’s going on here! Niranjan Patel stayed, unmoved at the other end, watching the destruction of his team’s unbeaten streak in one glorious spell.
He didn’t last long. Another Yatin Wadhawan stunner sent Niranjan’s stumps flying everywhere, 5 runs from 19 balls for his efforts. Vaibhav Oberoi, frustrated by his team’s inability to push on, took matters into his own hands. Coming in at number 7, he flayed Anurath and Sadiq, compiling 40 runs of just 13 balls, giving his bowlers something to defend. One six was particularly memorable, a clear-the-front-foot hoick over long on, that crossed the longest boundary by 30 yards. The innings closed at 139 runs for 6 wickets, Vaibhav’s end-overs bashing and Yatin’s 4 for 23 the highlights of a dramatic innings. The match enjoyed heavy doses of sledging, which is what we love about CPL, with sledges directed in particular to the Volts’ keeper, who couldn’t seem to hold on to a single ball.
At the close of the innings, the Volts seemed confident, but has lost the momentum in the last few overs. The Knights’ captain vociferously encouraged his team, a strong bowling unit, to defend a moderate total. Asang Mehta, the 19 year old wunderkind of the CPL, fell cheaply, bowled for 12 in 13 balls by Abhishek Prasad. It was his opening partner and captain, Anurath Gupta, whose purple patch with the bat has resulted it the Volts’ strong top 4, who took the attack to the bowling. Mayur Shah, whose accurate off breaks have removed many-an-opening-batsman this season, missed his length entirely, and was spanked to all ends of the ground. Anurath notched up yet another 50 this season off just 32 balls, aided by a quickfire 26 by Mohammed Sadiq, who scored 26 off 16. It served as a warning to other teams: don’t bowl short and wide to Anurath Gupta! And to Mohammed Sadiq, one might as well not bowl at all, to save the ball collectors their breath. After being caught behind down the leg side, a blinder by the Knights’ keeper, Sushil Premjani, it was time for Rishabh Tyagi onslaught. For our readers under 18, this innings contains severe violence, and this is not for you.
Rishabh Tyagi has exactly one mode while batting: aggression. His 110 runs have come at 55 at a Strike rate of 150. He likes to hit balls for six. Armed with his CA bat, he launched the bowlers, including Vaibhav Oberoi and Gaurav Mathur, whose lengths were surprisingly short, for boundaries. His 32* off 20 wrapped up a comprehensive victory for the Volts, by 7 wickets. The bowling figures don’t make for pretty reading. It was only the upcoming Abhishek Prakash who kept it tight.
14.2 overs is all it took for the Volts to end a scintillating contest. The victory planted the Volts at the top of the table in a competition they have dominated. The Cardinal Knights slip down to second place, and will clash with the Annenberg Avengers for a berth in the 1st-2nd playoffs. Yatin Wadhawan was named man of the match for his 4 for 23. The players and spectators ended the night with Mexican food, and victory can seldom tasted as good as a chicken quesadilla bought by members of the opposing team.