Defending champions MCCC clashed with Aguilas in a crucial game on 23rd of February. MCCC won the toss; with the sun shining bright MCCC elected to bat first.
Both the captains along with umpire Gavish Kumar during the toss.
Impressive debut by Pratik
MCCC opened the innings with Kaushal Ahuja and Gustavo Castro (a.k.a Gus Kumar, a Mexican local). Pratik Singh Bais playing his first game struck on the second ball of the match taking the wicket of Kaushal Ahuja who mistimed a rank full toss. Gustavo got bowled on the next ball, however Aguilas captain Sanjay Wagh allowed Gustavo to continue, showcasing the spirit of cricket. Gustavo went on to score 8 runs consisting of a boundary and some crisp shots down the ground.
MCCC failed to make use of the powerplay scoring only 26 for the loss of 1 wicket. In the 6th over Gustavo got out. Next in batsmen, Ali Raza and Revankumar Ankad tried to build a partnership, which lasted until the 10th over. Post drinks break both the set batsmen Revan and Ali got out in quick succession trying to up the ante. Later, Tarun Sharma was ran out by the captain Sanjay with a quick accurate throw while trying to steal a second run.
Afterwards, Ashwin Sathya and MCCC captain Rohit Poojary tried to stitch a partnership by scoring quick runs. Together they added 26 runs in 17 balls, before Ashwin got out after sustaining a blow to the finger in the bowling of Pratik, who continued taking wickets on consecutive delivers to score a hat trick and ended up with figures of 4/8 in his full quota of 4 overs that included 2 maidens.
Aguilas impressed with the ball, however, MCCC managed to sneak past the 100 runs mark to end up with 105/9 off their 20 overs. Notable performances with bat from Ashwin Sathya 26(23) and Revankumar Ankad 18(34). Coming to bowling, Shantanu Kaveri (3/23) strongly supported the debutant, Pratik.
Few moments captured before and after the game.
In the second innings, Aguilas started cautiously owing to some tight bowling from MCCC in the first 6 overs. Rohit Gupta and Santhosh Kumar opened the batting, some tight bowling first up from Muhammad Sajjad and Revan built the pressure to take the wicket of Santhosh and Rohit who got out by the end of second and third over respectively. In came Shantanu Kaveri (Shaan), understanding the match situation, started cautiously and built a partnership with Shahzad Muhammad. Not losing any wickets, they ended the powerplay at 26/2.
End of the powerplay prompted a change in bowling which affected a wicket of the first ball of the 7th over, Shahzad falling prey to Ali Raza off a sharp in dipping delivery to get out LBW. In came Parijat Chakraborty who batted with a mix of caution and aggression; however, Ali took his scalp as well in the 8th over nicking one to wicket keeper Kaushal Ahuja who took his 3rd catch of the match.
Noticing the pressure being built up Aguilas captain Sanjay Wagh came in to bat. Hitting the second ball he faced to the boundary, he had made his intentions clear. Sanjay hit 14 off 12 balls to bring his team closer to the target and releasing some pressure off Shaan at the other end who was keeping one end secure. In the 13th over, Ali seized Sanjay at deep square leg by his opposite number Rohit Poojary, trying to hit a full toss out of the park.
The tension was on as what followed was an inexperienced batting lineup; however, the experience of Shaan and the cameo by Sanjay had given Aguilas the upper hand. Lack of a 4/5th bowler for MCCC also meant advantage for Aguilas.
Later, Manish Aryan provided some drama when he went for a glory shot, only to be caught at long on. However, the experience of Shaan ensured that there was no other lapse in the run chase. In the end, Shaan 41*(43) along with the help of Lalit 6(9) and Manish 7(10) ensured that Aguilas won the match in the 18th over.
Best performances with the ball from MCCC were from Ali Raza (3/19) and Muhammad Sajjad (1/13). Shantanu Kaveri was adjudged man of the match for his all-round performance 41*(43) & 3/23.
A special mention to Gustavo Castro and Ignacio Llewelyn Richards (Nacho) for their performance with the Bat and Ball, and to the two captains who gave opportunities to these players to ensure cricket in Mexico is headed in the right direction by involving locals and youth to really participate and perform.
For complete scorecard, team details and other stats from this game, click here.