Sunday the 26th of January marked the inaugural game of the league, Lincoln Clarke Trophy 2020. The league was inaugurated when the Mexico national women's team captain Caroline Owen batted to a ball bowled by our beloved secretary of Mexico Cricket Association (MCA), Craig White.
Earlier during the toss, Mexico City Cricket Club (MCCC) captain Rohit Poojary called it wrong and Reforma captain Rama Krishna Inampudi elected to bat. The pitch was freshly cut and rolled just before the match and was damp. Let's see if the Reforma's decision to bat first was a good one on a cloudy and cool afternoon.
Reforma sent debutants Mainak Dalal and Pavan Chaitanya Satyavolu to open their innings. This pair didn't last long. Mainak 4(5) was caught stranded leg before by Muhammad Sajjad in the first over. Reforma continued to lose wickets quickly, courtesy of brilliant bowling from Revan Kumar Ankad and Ashwin Sathya. Both the bowlers combined hit the bull's eye thrice which includes the wicket of free flowing Daniel Buys 15(14), who earlier hit 2 boundaries off the debutant MCCC all-rounder Rufus Preetam, proving it to be the costliest over of the game with 18 runs coming from it. However, the situation seemed pretty similar to many of the Reforma's games from last season when the scorecard read 41-5 after 8.1 overs.
This brought the captain of Reforma, Rama Krishna Inampudi, at no.6 to the crease. Along with him at no.7 was the all-rounder Nithin Kumar Shetty. Both of them carefully dealt the MCCC bowlers to steady the scorecard. Not taking many risks, they cashed in on the loose balls to score boundaries and took the score to 83 without losing any wickets at the end of 15 overs. Decent score and required a good finish. With acceleration required, in the 16th over, Rama Krishna scored 3 boundaries off the MCA life-time member, Debarati Choudhuri. And in the 17th over from Sajjad, Rama Krishna continued with two huge hits over the boundary to bring his half-century. These two overs yielded 33 runs in total for Reforma. Later, Reforma captain, trying to hit big, lost his wicket to Sajjad by missing an off-cutter. This ended the much required partnership of 80 runs (61 balls) between Nithin Kumar and Rama Krishna 57(40).
In the end, Nithin Kumar's enduring knock 22*(30) and a quick cameo from debutant Nishant Jee 11*(5) at no.8 took Reforma's scorecard to a more than decent 140/6 from 20 overs. However, it's not a big score in front of the batting strong team MCCC. Let's see how they responded to pacy bowling attack of Reforma.
As always, MCCC sent their attacking opening pair, wicket keeper-batsman Kaushal Ahuja and Mexico National men's captain Tarun Sharma, highest scorer of the last season. Reforma handed the ball to Satish Kumar Reddy who immediately produced results by catching Tarun Sharma off guard. Expecting a short ball from Satish Kumar, Tarun Sharma 0(2) couldn't back the lofted shot of a length ball and was caught at long off by the debutant fast bowler Dilip Nallapareddy. In at no.3, reliable all rounder Ashwin Sathya. Satish Kumar took another wicket in his second over by sending Kaushal Ahuja 7(10) to the pavilion. With both the openers out, Reforma were pumped up.
At no.4, MCA treasurer and MCCC's last two season's captain, Revan Kumar Ankad couldn't last long. Trying to find the gap in the off-side area, Revan Kumar 4(5) could't keep the ball down and was caught at point by Jagdeesh Umanath in the bowling of Rama Krishna. Reforma captain took another wicket in his next over by uprooting the middle stump of no.5 batsman Peter Davis 7(11) off the ground. At the end of 6 overs, MCCC's scorecard read 26/4.
Then came to the crease MCCC captain Rohit Poojary at no.6. With required run-rate going up and Waseem Tabrez bowling wonderfully well, Ashwin and Rohit took the pressure to steal a non-existing single. Pavan Chaitanya at square leg threw the ball to Waseem to knock the bails off at the non-striker end, resulting in end of Rohit Poojary 3(12). Scorecard read 44/5 at the end of 10 overs. Later, debutant Ketan Shah clean bowled no.7 batsman Sagar Panchal in the 13th over which brought left handed all rounder Rufus Preetham to the crease. In the next over, Ashwin's patient innings 21(30) came to an end when he was caught brilliantly by Jagdeesh Umanath at backward point in the over of Rama Krishna. This brought power hitter Sajjad at no.9, who cleared the rope in his first ball. Both Rufus and Sajjad tried to attack Reforma's bowlers and took the score to 99/7 by the end of 16 overs. With more than 40 runs required off 4 overs to the win the game, Sajjad 15(10) tried for a big hit coming down the ground in the bowling of Dilip and was clean bowled. In at no.9 for MCCC, debutant Anil Khurana. Without losing further wickets, MCCC ended the innings at 125/8.
In the end, Reforma had enough bowling power to hold the never-ending batting lineup of MCCC at bay. Collective bowling and fielding effort earned points for Reforma in their opening game against the last 3 years defending champions MCCC. Player of the match was awarded to Reforma captain Rama Krishna Inampudi for his all round performance.
For complete scorecard, team details and other stats from this game, click here.