Falcons Vs Indus – 2008 Qtr Final Match, DCL

Falcons have been playing in the DCL league for last 5 years and 5 years in the row, they reached the qtr finals (Final eight) and they never reached to the semi finals in last 4 years. Two teams in the league, GLCC and Brownstown knocked them out two times each in last four years. First GLCC in 2004, I still remember that game where the leg umpire from cougars gave out for a run out (Matta’s) at the non strikers end. Still remember few crucial catches missed by Falcons during the critical time. In 2005, it was Brownstone. We were close to win the game. It rained in the middle. We started again, we required 20-30 runs in 12-15 overs with 8 wickets in hand and still lost it. In 2006, it was GLCC again. It was a low scoring game, we scored around 60 runs and GLCC did have no problem scoring it. In 2007, it was Brownstown, we scored around 120 runs and they chased it.

It is a big relief that neither of the team is our opponent in the 2008 quarter final. Nonetheless, Indus is a strong team and it was the first team in the 2008 regular season challenged Falcons and we managed to win with Sudir C’s heroic efforts. Their fielding, in particular was exemplary in the league. They had few dangerous quick bowlers and strong depth in their batting.

Pregame planning

Strategy against the Indus was very simple. If bat first, score 100+ or if we bowl first, restrict them below 65. We all know what we all gotta do. Our roles, batting order, bowling order, bowling strategy, batting strategy, fielding position, approach, tactics, all clear to every one. We can’t wait to execute the clearly defined plan on the game day.


Toss won by Falcons and as per the game plan, we decided to bat. Babu and I went to open the Falcon’s innings. Indus have their sharp, dangerous bowlers to start the innings. Babu scored a quick single and I was facing my first ball. The first ball was bowled at out side the off stump ball, little short to a good length ball. The ball to be punished. Their field setting had 5 players on off side and 3 of them very close. Went by the instinct, pulled the ball to fine leg (technically, a risky shot to play in the first over) and fetched two runs. The next ball was almost the same ball, this time, I hocked it (not a pull) and I thought it was going to get a six but fetched only a four. The next 3 balls were bowled at a very good length on on side and received the necessary respect from me. All those three balls could have been treated harshly but did not want to take a risk in the first over. In the second over, Babu again scored a quick single and I was facing this new bowler (Justin, I think his name is). It was a very good length ball, bowled to middle wicket, I paid my respect, went front foot and defended. The ball looped, raised 30 degree and due to its pace it traveled enough to reach the fielder at short cover. Azim took a simple catch. I could not believe what happened there. I knew there was 5 players on off side and 3 of them were close. That is the only reason I hocked and pulled in the first over. I should have driven the ball instead of defending it. I was out in the second over. I was kicking myself and what was point? No point. I was out.

Raj, the days are yet to come to see him scoring tons of boundaries in a match. He is a true pinch hitter. He does not take even a single ball to settle down. He plays by his instinct. He was unlucky again to be trapped before the wicket for a low kept ball. He scored just single in this game. Sudir P, another text book shot player from Falcons joined Babu. He not only supported Babu on the other end, he pulled few boundaries, made singles and doubles. The score board was ticking at a regular pace. Sudir P was bowled by a spinner. It was really a great ball. The ball pitched on off side, a good length ball. Sudir P, took front foot to block it. The ball took 25-30 degree turn and took his leg stump. Great ball. Bowler had a little bit of Abdual Qadir style. Matta, the super star of the league, joined Babu. He scored few furious boundaries before we was caught at the deep mid wicket. It was a splendid catch. Unbelievable to some extend. I never thought Indus was going to take that as the catch. They did and Matta was back to pavilion. Meantime, Babu was playing superbly, scoring singles and doubles. Sai joined Babu. It was the last over before break. Sai was asked to play cautiously. He was forcing himself to play defensively. The score board showed around 50+ during the break for the loss of 4 wickets. In the last but one ball, Sai was out, chasing a outside delivery and caught by the keeper. Keeper missed it but managed to grab it again. Sai was the fifth victim from Falcons and Piyush joined Babu. Both played really well. Had a good partnership. Piyush scored boundaries along with Babu before he was caught again by the surprise by Indus fielders. Babu exploded and got aggressive. He drove a long on shot and Indus took another impossible catch. Indus so far displayed how they could create opportunities in the ground. Keshav, Hari and Sudhir C all fell with slight modification to the score. Hari wanted to take a run when the non striker was not comfortable and ended losing his wicket. Sudhir C, who won the game for Falcons against Indus during the regular season also got out. Keshav’s shot in which he got made me to think. Srikanth scored pushed the scored board little before he left with no partners from the Falcons batting order. Falcons managed to score 94 when the likelihood of scoring 120+ was high at one point.


Indus started their innings really very well. They scored around 20 runs in 3 overs with out any lose of wicket. We were challenged and think tanks (Matta) quickly changed the bowling and brought Matta and Sudhir C to bowl. The first wicket was fallen in Sudhir C’s over. I was little puzzled how the wicket was fallen but I was told it was LBW. In next few overs, they scored few additional boundaries and Falcon’s bowlers also helped with adequate wides. The score board was moving faster than Falcons wanted. Suddenly, a little over pitched ball was bowled. The hard, powerful driven shot was offered and it sent the ball towards covers in the air above 1-2 feet above Matta’s head at the speed of atleast 60 mph. Matta, with his greatest reflex, quick jump, strong arm not only stopped the ball but also graped and stuck into his palm. Yes, the second wicket of Indus was fallen by the greatest catch made by a Falcon this year.

Nitya, one of the coolest, talented, smart cricketer in this league joined the batting. Matta and Sudhir C combination worked but didn’t continue to work. In some cases, the extras were flowing freely. Think tank again made the right decision to bring the trump card, Babu. Babu bowled unbelievable deliveries before Nitya was bowled by his ball. So much relief in everyone’s eyes after Nitya got out but we also know their batting depth is so deep. The next batsman walked in, Raj was telling before the game that he is literally scared of his batting. He can’t bowl when he bats. He is the danger man of Indus. He can change the course of a game in matter of minutes. He can clear the boundaries and true heavy hard hitter. Srikanth walked up to me and told me that I should stand up to Babu. There are bowlers like Babu, who claim they are spinners and they bowl faster than some of the medium pace bowlers. I told Srikanth, standing up to Babu will not help to take the catches and told him I will stand down for him.

Babu continued his bowling and the danger man was reading babu’s bowling by defending, pushing and missing it. He decided he read Babu’s bowling and went for his hard hit shot. He read it wrong and the ball was traveling to the short fine leg. I was just running beneath it and I took it. It was not a difficult catch but it was very crucial wicket. Our hopes increased. Meantime, Matta and Sai bowled two more batsmen. Sai (expect his wides) bowled excellent deliveries. Srikanth and Keshav were brought back and disturbed the batsmen periodically.

We had to get 3 wickets and Indus had to score around 40 runs. Likelihood of our win was high at that point. Suddenly we were losing the game by giving boundaries, wides, extra balls, not materializing the run outs. Made quick adjustment to the field and the ball was hit so high to Keshav. He took a beautiful, well judged match winning catch.

The last two batsmen still troubled Falcons and ticking the score board. They required 25 runs and we required 2 wickets. Sudhir C bowling fetched a caught behind and the last wicket was run out by an excellent throw by Raj.

Finally Falcons broke the jinx and moving to the semi finals.

Falcons Vs Brownstown – Game #3, Round #2, Season -2008

Brownstown is a small town, south of Detroit in Michigan and a cricket team from this area called Brownstown has been playing in all the cricket leagues in Detroit area. The team comprise of players from Pakistan. Sports and games are meant to improve the personal,inter personal, national, international relationship between players and fans across villages, towns, counties, states, countries and continents. If anyone does not understand the core purpose of the sports and games and in contrary fight on and off the ground, in my opinion, they should not be playing any sports nor games. Sports and games are meant to be improve and nurture healthy relationship.

Until recently, I never worked nor interacted with people from Pakistan. Few years ago, game of Cricket provided me an opportunity to know them better. I came to know from Pakistan cricket players who played with me in the office league, they wanted to come to India to visit their grand fathers home towns in India. In my opinion, the playing games like Cricket, not only helps to improve the relationship but, it also provides a foundation to improve the leadership, team building, team dynamics,coaching, mentoring, talent identification, talent analysis skills which helps to perform the professional job better. I personally learned a lot by playing cricket.

Brownstown team is popular among other teams in the league for their maturity, integrity,passion and their talent. Any given day, they are not an easy team to defeat and they are not going to give up at any circumstance. That shows their maturity since the game of Cricket is full of uncertainty and that is why the Cricket game is very interesting to play or watch. As it was rightly pointed out by the father of Cricket, W.G Grace, you can not take your eye off the game for a second.

For the first time, Falcons had a written down game plan prior to the game and it was communicated to all the team members before the game. Kudos to Babu to draft the game plan. Few new strategies were applied in the game plan and it was timely communicated to the members with various scenario. Good job Babu.

It was a beautiful Michigan summermorning and you can not get better Saturday than this in Michigan. The weather was perfect for Cricket and was like English weather. We did not have our Falcons Pillar, Hari, for this game since he has been visiting India on his vacation. The game was scheduled to play in Drake park and I scored 3 golden ducks (getting out in the first ball) in the same ground before in the past regular seasons. I always played good against Brownstown and my first sixscored in this league was against Brownstown. I was debating my self, am I going to score good or continue my golden duck in this ground.

Sai’s newly born had a function in the temple and he had arrived little late.

Falcon’s Batting:

I personally was hoping for Uppendra to continue his last match performance in this game. Falcons won the toss and as per the game plan, Falcons decided to bat. Babu and Raj went as the opener for this game. Raj is an aggressive stylish batsman who plays the ball by its merit. He does not take time to settle down. If the first delivery he faces is a bad ball, irrespective of the situation, he will put it off to the boundary. He played few aggressive shots before a close run out call. The Rehan and other players thought Raj was run out but the leg umpire from Falcon’s team thought other wise. I told Sudhir P that if Raj was really run out, Raj would get out in the next ball. The next ball was bowled, Raj hit the ball towards covers through the fielder at short cover. Short cover fielder graped the ball and managed to hold it before he fell down. Raj was out in the next ball and my conspiracy theory was proven correct.

Sai, Sudhir C, Keshav and Piyush were all promoted in the batting order. All of them are very dangerous players with strong batting technique and Sai, Piyush & Keshav have strong temperament also. They all going to fire up in near future and each of them are capable of scoring half century in a game in this league. Sai was unlucky to be stumped in fast wide ball. Piyush was playing so well and beautifully pulled the ball for a boundary in the mid wicket. He was beaten and caught well by Rehan behind the stumps. He was misguided on the guard and did not connect the well judged ball. Sudhir C was given out for a catch where the leg umpire strongly believed that catch was not taken cleanly. Since the main umpire thought it was cleanly caught and we did not argue and moved on.

Meantime Babu played with patience. He played around 16 overs and scored around 25 runs. His patience, temperament, risk averse approach aided and guided Falcons to move forward in the score board. Matta (Mr. Consistent and Mr. Dependent) provided a required support to tickle the score board. After Babu and Matta’s dismissal, Sudhir P was looked up on to take the score to three digit. After Keshav dismissal, I joined Sudhir P. Tons of things were going on my mind. Will I break the jinx (out in the first ball, golden duck) in this game. Is it going to continue? Should I change my bat to test my better luck? and finally I changed my bat and went with CA bat. When I was facing the first ball, all I wanted to do was to score one run and not to get out in the first ball. My thoughts were, if I would do that, then my burden in my mind would go away and I could play my game. As you can see, I was over analytical and thinking too much.

The first ball I faced, was good length but pitched on leg side coming to the stumps. I played my cross shot to deflect the ball to short fine leg since there was no fielder. Surprise! Surprise! I missed the line and got bowled. It continued. Got out in the first ball for the fourth time at Drake Park. I could not provide the support the team was looking from me in this game.

Sudhir P was also got out sooner. Both Srikanth and Uppu showed their character through their smart batting. Ticked the score little bit but became unfortunate to get run out. We were bundled for 84 runs. Not a great score but not a bad score either. To become a champion, we need play lot smarter than we did today. We need to apply our talents on the field when we play against a good team like Brownstown. We should have scored at least 125 runs and we were way shot of the expected target. Lots of lessons learned in this game and we need to improve in those areas in the future games.

Falcon’s bowling

Uppu continued his last match best performance in this game. He bowled with precision and occasionally surprised the batsman. He provided the break through for the Falcons. I was still thinking about my batting did not bring my mind fully to the keeping job. Had few sloppy gathering to start with. I pulled my self at least to gather the ball. Made few wide ball stops and there was very low catch from Babu’s ball. I thought I got the catch cleanly but the umpire felt other way. No argument and moved on.

It was an excellent display by all the Falcon’s fielders. To name few, Sai (as usual) took few terrific catches. Sudir P dived front to secure the catch to avoid any potential mistakes. Great thinking and good presence of mind to secure that catch. Matta’s caught and bowled was also caused some rumbling from the batsman but umpires (leg umpire was from brownstown’s team) thought otherwise and he was the danger man who dismissed Falcon to get into the semi final in the last season. At a point, Brownstown was very close to target and comfortably moving towards it. Falcons exemplary fielding, bowling , supporting each other aided Falcon’s to pull it off. Raj, Uppu, Srikanth, Babu, Matta, Sai all stepped up in the bowling to make the difference. We played as team, good chemistry in the field among the players and were goal oriented.

I want to call Babu out during this session. He was leading the team during this session, supported, encouraged and pumped up the energy of the team members. The credit goes to him to make the Falcons to create the opportunities (or luck as some team member would like to refer) during this session.

It was great team effort and we should continue this effort in the fielding and avoid the mistakes made in the batting in the future games.

Greens are next..