MILAN CRICKET CLUB
The occasion is grand and it calls for writing a detailed match report. Milan finally won the Golden Duck competition in Lodi. It’s the first time ever that Milan has actually won the trophy. In fact it is the first trophy that Milan has ever won. There are rumors that we reached the final in 1987 but that the game was washed out resulting in Milan and Lodi being declared joint winners. However, few people can remember that far back.
Before competition we went with a determination to win it… and we did it…
CONGRATULATIONS…to a fantastic display of spirit and team effort all through the tournament by MCC…
There were six teams in all …..Milan, Riviera (former Cabris - they have changed their name to Riviera) and Winterthur in pool A . Lodi, Cerne and Cossonoy in pool B.
DAY 1 - 27th May 2006
The structure of the tournament was such that winning the first two games on Saturday would put us straight into the finals. Hence Milan did field their best team on Saturday for the two games against Cabris and Winterthur. Team - Nand (Captain), Sunil, Miles, Ramesh, Ashish, Stuart, Zaheer, Karthik (Wicket keeper)
MCC vs Cabris (Riviera)
As like most travelers they could definitely not travel with their best team and easily were missing their key players who play at home. Milan won the toss and batted first and scored 123 runs in 12 overs. Sunil gave the early impetus with splendid 32 runs which had three sixes. Miles (20 not out) and Stuart (15) carried on the momentum to give Milan a respectable total.
Zaheer bowled the first over with a pace not seen by a Milan player in 10 years (since Miles came off his long run). Fabulous line and length with a pace nearing 130 K’s if my judgmental speedometer is right. Most of the runs scored in his bowling were taps to third man/ gully or leg byes. He gave away nine runs in 2 overs; great for an 8-a-side, 12 over competition. The fact that he was only the fourth best Bowler in terms of bowling analysis puts Milan’s bowling strength on the day into true perspective.
Sunil - 2 overs, 7 runs and 2 wickets
Stuart - 2 overs, 7 runs 0 wickets
Nand - 2 overs, 8 runs and 1 wicket . . .
WELL Milan won by a whopping 58 runs….Riviera were 5 down for 64 in 12 overs . . .
MCC vs. Winterthur
This was perhaps the best visiting team of the tournament (excluding Milan). And they did give us a challenge of some sort.
This time Milan lost the toss and was asked to bat first. Zaheer, who had given a glimpse of his hitting abilities with the last two balls of Milan’s innings in the Riviera game, was promoted to open with Ramesh. They gave a splendid opening start, with the first wicket falling at the score of 60 in the sixth over. Run rate of 10 per over was maintained all through. Zaheer scored 39 with 2 sixes. Sunil and Ashish then carried on the mantle scoring 16 and 21 not out respectively. Sunil was run out risking a sharp second run with very good direct hit on the stumps. Milan finished the innings at 119 for 4 in 12 overs.
It was a challenging total, however Winterthur started pretty well with the opening batsmen scoring 40 not out (retired). However they were always behind at the rate. Zaheer bowled a good first over, again. Nand came and took the wicket of the other opening batsmen who was also playing pretty well. The game would have been sealed if Sunil had held on to a fairly easy chance at midwicket. However Sunil decided to keep the opportunity of nailing the coffin himself. He came on at the end to bowl the 10th and 12th overs and returned figures of 2 overs, 3 wickets for 4 runs. They just could not score off him. And in midst we had the 11th over of Zaheer who decided to notch up his pace a little more creating more trouble for the batsman, keeper and third man. These two fiery spells were enough to defeat Winterhur by 30 runs, enabling Milan to reach the final.
SUNDAY FINALS AGAINST LODI
With 5 players from Saturday not playing on Sunday, raising a team was not an easy job. There was more drama off the field than on it. Chris, Rajesh, Sumit and Vipul confirmed to play on Sunday, with the already agreed four of Nand, Miles, Ashish and Vikas.
Ashish was half fit, Chris was dreading the day because of his past history of bodily breakdown in Lodi . . . during the Lodi festival. At 2.30 p.m. half an hour before the scheduled start Vipul calls up and says “Sumit is not coming and will not give me a lift . . .” they live in Varese, 150 km from Lodi at least . .
Vipul however started off by train from Varese, successfully reaching the Lodi Ground at 17.50 . . . while the rest of the side was busily enjoying post-match celebratory beers in the nearest bar. Sunil, who was playing Badminton in Lecco was commanded by his Captain to call off his game and get to Lodi a.s.a.p., arriving two overs from the end of Milan’s innings. We needed two players from Lodi and got one JOE . . .
Anyway Milan lost the toss and got to bat first, third time in the tournament and probably the option Milan usually prefer. Nand and Rajesh opened the innings. Nand batted as if it was the last over of the game, scoring 7 runs and foolishly running out Rajesh - who was looking good on 9 – off just the 9th ball of the innings. A suicidal single if ever there was one. With only 6 players available, keeping wickets in hand was of prime importance. Ashish once again proved his worth with the bat and scored a splendid 33 with 5 fours and a six. Chris who scored 14 runs and remained not out played a very crucial innings. Joe the substitute for Milan also ran very well, to support Chris and bat through the final 2 overs. Sunil who arrived a minute after Joe went in, was padded up and ready to go in for the final over. However, he could not get a chance as the Captain was restrained from calling back Joe. In the end Milan ended at 77 runs in 12 overs, far below the normal required score for such a tournament.
To add to the problems, Ashish could not lift and throw the ball let alone bowl it. The only option was for Ashish to keep wicket.
When Milan entered the field all were confident and pumped with a belief that we could do it. And what we saw happen was unseen and unheard of, and utterly inexplicable given some of our recent history .
Four splendid catches, not a catch dropped and more importantly not a single mis-field… And almost everyone running around and throwing to prevent runs . . .
THE FIRST OVER . . .
Sunil as always bowled a great first over, getting DAMIT the lodi star LBW yorked on middle stump, and the batsmen as always never believing that he could ever be out LBW.
Sunil gave just 1 RUN in the first over. There was only a third man and a long on, the rest were all saving singles.
THE FOUR CATCHES . . .
1. Miles bowls a fuller length ball…Kelsey is undecided and stops his shot…the ball balloons up and Miles comes running forward, dives/ falls / rolls…in front…and takes the catch a few inches before it touches the ground and that with both hands too….It will definitely go as one of the best Miles has produced…
2. Rajesh bowls outside the off, cutting further across Shantha slashes, and Ashish, wicket keeper, dives to his right and also a fraction in front catches the ball one handed just inches above the ground …to send Shantha home for a DUCK…..and that’s a PAIR for Shantha against MILAN….and he realizes that…Have not seen such a catch taken by any wicket keeper in Milan and that puts Ross at sixth position and Mike at seventh in the wicket keeping list…. (He’s not going to like that – ed.)
3. Chris bowls a fuller length to Sunny, who as we all know loves to play in air. We had long on, deep midwicket and square leg boundary covered for this. The ball went high up in the air towards midwicket, the longest part of the field. I (Nand) had to run 20 meters inside the boundary and was comfortably under the ball with heart pounding several seconds before the arrival time (quite unusual for Nand). Thankfully, the catch was held cleanly leaving Lodi’s main batsmen all out for 0.
4. As if that was not enough Chris produced a brilliant caught and bowled, a very fast return catch off Leydi, lunging to his left and holding a blinder. The ball just stuck.
Chris finished it off for Milan by shattering the stumps of Rob Hassen, to return with figures of 1.4 overs, 3 wickets for 5 runs. Also not to forget Rajesh who at the beginning felt he has not practiced enough to bowl well, and did not want to bowl . . . he finished with figures of 2 overs, 1 wicket for 5 runs.
Undoubtedly it was a great team effort on both days, contributions coming from each one on the field. Catches win matches, and we finally caught the golden duck by holding on to the chances given. Well done Milan. All know what our next target is…the Zuoz Cup…and we know we can do it . . . and if we achieve it . . . we would be writing a golden chapter in Milan cricket history . . .