After some serious discussions, I opted to bowl after winning the toss. The start I gave with the ball was just perfect. After conceeding just 2 runs off the first three balls, the fourth one was of a shorter length and I was successful in deceiving the batsman and he scooped a dolly to the fielder at short mid-off. Team 11 draws first blood : ) . The over that followed, the one by Monish was bang on target and he was just too good in maintaining balls at good length. Shriram and Bharath continued from where we left. Shriram was in his element but it was pleasing to see Bharath bowl so very well after some tough matches last week. He was superb.
Occasional misfields helped in their recovery. But for them, our ground fielding and catching were not all that bad. To be frank, I was surprised to see the ball get into my hands after it was hit high in the air. To get you a clear picture, I was standing at mid-on (my regular position where I love fielding just because it enables conversation with my bowlers easy and frequent) and the moment I heard Shriram and a few other players say ' Rajesh, that's for you ', and with all players tilting their eyes toward me, my pulse rates soared. I'm good at grabbing flat ones but I confess, these 'high-in-the-air' catches really tense me. Just like adding salt to the existing wound, Bharath joined me in the search for the wicket. Though I knew he was running towards me, my focus was only on the ball and I never bothered to communicate to him. The ball finally bounced on my palms, jumped out, kissed the air above my fingers and landed back to the place where it is always safe - my palms. : D : D and I quickly pocketed the ball to make things safer : )
Wickets fell at regular intervals. At one stage, they were 31 for the loss of 6 wickets at the end of 7 overs after both Bharath and Shriram missed out on a well-deserved hat-trick. I still wonder if we bowled exceptionally well or if their batting looked out of sorts. Monish and I finished things off bowling the last two overs in tandem. I bowled the last over and to my utmost satisfaction, the first ball was straight through the gate, the batsman failing to connect the ball with his bat playing across the line. Uprooting the stumps is the the best feeling for any fast bowler and that too at the dearth. Though I didn't get too expressive, I could hear people appreciating me and a peculiar voice caught my attention shouting ' Come on da...well bowled' (as I was walking back to my run up). It was Durga - he should have had the best view from square leg and it's indeed a special feeling. The ball that followed was a flat hit to covers and Kaushik, I knew, would never drop such easy ones and he rightly justified with his safe pair of hands. Incidentally, I had changed the field just before that delivery by moving him from deep cover to cover.. Thank God!!!. I was on-a-hat trick but this time we didn't miss it. Once again Kaushik got into the act, fielded smartly at covers and I was successful in gathering the ball, pounced on the stumps and screamed ' Howzzzzaaat '. Run Out!!!. A team hat-trick after all...!!!
They were bundled out for a cheap 37 and after some initial hiccups, we finished things off in 6 overs. It is always a special feeling to captain a winning side and I take this opportunity to congratulate my team-mates on this convincing victory. I must admit that the practice sessions we had last week really helped. Overall, a satisfactory performance and with God's blessings, we hope to continue the same to the next match on 5th July.