This had seemed like a good toss for Hiren to win inserting Birmingham Indians on a damp pitch. The first few overs vindicated Hiren’s decision as scoring looked tough going. However, once openers Nikunj and Bhavik played themselves in, the bowling seemed fairly ordinary and boundaries were being leaked every over. At drinks we had brought up the 100 partnership off only 20 overs and Asian Sports looked flat in the field and aggravated.
Bhavik played yet another fluent knock for the BI’s stroking the ball effortlessly for most part of his innings on a sluggish wicket. Such was Bhavik’s dominance, at one point he even suggested to the opposition skipper Hiren that he should put three men back on the leg side boundary for his trademark pull/hook shot. On the other hand Nikunj played an innings that was agricultural to say the least with plenty of heaves and wafts which wasn’t pretty but effective. With Nikunj charging all the bowlers frequently the keeper decided to stand up to the stumps to negate this strategy. With 10 wickets in hand and with batting down till 9 in Shivang (no offense Nishal and Iman) Nikunj decided to hit out after brining up his half century. After hitting Aaron for four over the leg side he attempted the shot again however this time the ball cannoned into leg stump.
So finally, after 23 overs the first wicket had fallen with the score an imposing 115 for 1 after 23 overs. A imposing target was on the cards with Neil even suggesting 300…CHILLOUT GEEZ! JAYNESH joined Baz at the crease and both continued to make merry until Baz meekly held out to mid-on, not without composing a critical 60. Inderpal looked nervy and lasted all but three balls offering catching practice to the lone 2nd slip. The very next over Jaynesh hit the ball straight to mid-off making a quick fire 32, though it left the side in a bit of bother at 145 for 4 with 10 overs remaining.
This bought the big hitting Sanjeev to the crease who found scoring problematic as he continued to play and miss much to the frustration of Neil and Hiren, Neil released the pressure with a massive six into the trees off Rupesh. The rather innocuous bowling of Rupesh was doing the trick though as he soon dismissed Neil after he missed a straight ball and got bowled. Sanjeev finally got into his stride hitting Hiren for a mighty six and then playing a delightful dil-scoop to end the innings. Birmingham Indians ended on 207 for 6 off 40 overs.
It was a good total on this pitch though I felt the middle order gave there wickets away rather tamely as they looked to hit too many balls over the rope instead of waiting for the bad ball otherwise a score of 240 could have been achieved if batted sensibly.
The God of cricket (AKA Gopal uncle) mentioned at tea team 207 should be plenty of runs to play with on this pitch if you bowl those “CUTTERS and mix it up”. Who’s going to argue with the God of cricket? NOT ME!
It was clear that Asian Sports were up against it from the beginning as they sent there tail ender Jits to open the innings. As our London pro Shiv opened the bowling sporting a new beard (looked good) and new contact lenses (sponsored by Devan C) we expected a tight spell from him which he delivered even though he looked far from his best.
Nishal at the other end after doing the graveyard shift for the BBC seemed out of sorts so he was promptly replaced by the evergreen Neil who quickly justified the decision as both Mani and Jits seemed uncertain against him. Neil followed up his tight bowling in the previous game vs Asian Sports with another crucial spell here. As he quickly reminded me his figures this year vs Asian Sports via e-mail, 17 Overs for 35 runs with 2 wickets, I quickly reminded him of his batting average against them this year. To be honest his spell really kept things quiet as he bowled in the corridor and this bought the demise of both Jits and Rupesh who failed to really get going. Once Shiv finished his 5 over burst, Bhavik was introduced into the attack. He got off to the worst possible start getting hit for six first ball compounded by the fact that it was a no ball for not telling the umpire his action. VILLAGE BAZ!! It was clear Bazla was not happy with this decision and it consequently affected his first over which yielded 14 runs and went from bowling seam to off-spin. Though he came back like a true champion and bowled very economically thereafter picking up both left handers including Aaron caught expertly by Neil at slip. Even Eddie aka Stud got into the act taking a sharp catch at point.
With Hiren coming in at 6 we thought the tail has come in early once again. Though to Hiren’s credit he ran very well between the wickets with Mani and also hit the odd boundary which kept the pressure on the home side. Nevertheless, with the run rate going up every over and reaching over 9/10 an over something had to give and Hiren slapped the ball straight to point with Nishal gleefully accepting t. Neil’s nemesis Devs came to the crease, though with Neil bowled out he would need to hit around a fiery Satty and the wily Nikunj. Devs giving Satty his 2nd wicket again backing away and being caught at mid-wicket. Satty came on late in the piece and bowled a pacey spell with plenty of clever changes of length which had the away team in trouble.
With Mani running out of partners he needed some big overs to get his side back into the game. He did launch a few sixes towards the end and with another destined to go for six Neil pulled off the catch of the season plucking it out of the air one handed. CATCH IT!
Mani notched up the only score of note (75), when all around him looked fraught in the face of some disciplined bowling from the home side. With the Birmingham Indians skipper not happy with just a win he wanted to bowl the team out again this season he bought plenty of close catches in search for wickets. Bhavesh played some nice looking shots towards the end but it was all in vain as Shiv and Indy picked up the last couple of wickets bowling Asian Sports out for 171 all out.
I would like to say thanks to everyone that played the game, it was a real team effort from Nikunj and Baz setting up the victory with a 100 run opening partnership and Jaynesh and Sanjeev with the lusty hitting to Neil, Shiv, Satty bowling some good tight overs and also the fielding has to get a mention, Nishal even though you worked most of the night (thanks for playing) your catching was exemplary and have one of the safest pair of hands in the team.
Birmingham Indians 207 for 6 (Bhavik 60, Nikunj 56)
Asian Sports Wolverhampton 171 all out (Satty 3-21, Neil 2-18)
Birmingham Indians Win by 37 Runs
TEAM: Nikunj, Bhavik, Jaynesh, Indy, Neil, Eddie, Sanjeev, Shivang, Nishal, Iman, Satty
PRO Bhavik and Hard Hitting Sanjiv demolish powerless Leicester Aryans...
BIRMINGHAM INDIANS VS LESTA ARYANS (HOME) 20th MAY
The most anticipated game of the season finally happened last Sunday at Old Edwardians and let’s just say it was worth the wait. As newly formed opening duo of Sartak and Neil strolled to the wicket we expected some early assistance for the bowlers as the wicket was still fairly damp and it was crucial to see off the new ball if we were to post a challenging total.
Batting maestro Neil had a few close LBW shouts turned down early on though in between played some fluent shots down the ground. However, it appeared as though umpire Rudi Koertzen had come out of retirement as Harky aka Kangi raised the slow arm of death after taking an age to decide and Neil was sent packing. I guess now NEIL knows how it feels being given out LBW after triggering so many people in the past.
In came the Birmingham Indians Pro Bhavik who was looking to make a statement as his past had preceded him. He looked rather shaky initially as he mistimed a number of shots that did not carry to the fielders as he found it hard going on a slow and low pitch. However, once he found his groove he looked a class apart and played some elegant cover drives...At the other end an exhausted Sartak played a tired shot to the spinner Devan meekly hitting it straight up in the air to the point fielder. Skipper Nikunj came in and played positively from the outset and along with Baz begin to form a partnership and at drinks were nicely placed at 110 for 2 after 20 overs. Drinks break usually means a wicket and on cue Skipper Nikunj got run out by a direct hit from the keeper for 19. Next Batsmen Satty also got Run out soon after going for a risky 2nd and with his slow coach running a run out is always on the cards with him!
The game was in the balance as Birmingham Indians had lost a few wickets quickly (130 for 4) and the Leicester Aryans were charged up..What we witnessed next was pretty much a massacre of bowlers, as primarily Sanjiv with the support of our Pro took the attack to the cleaners causing carnage at Old Edwardians the next ten over fetched around 130 runs. Some of Sanjiv’s hitting reminded me of DR MS Dhoni in his heyday and he smashed the helpless Leisceter Aryans bowlers to a pulp, bludgeoning 82 with 11 (sixes) hits out of the ground. Writing about this does not actually do justice to the hitting that was on show from both batsmen even Baz got into the act with a cheeky reverse sweep for four.
One of the play of the day (and there were too many) was from their lead bowler Britney Spears aka Mayur who was doing a rendition of her first single as he repeatedly mentioned baby hit me hit me one more time and Spaz aka Baz and Sanjiv obliged hitting him effortlessly around the ground...thereafter as the wicket keeper (his bro) spilled a difficult chance he came out with to BAZ ‘I HAD YOU I HAD YOU’ repeatedly it was actually pathetic but amusing...The carnage finally ended with 5 over’s remaining as Sanjiv went for one shot too many and Baz got Run Out...In the end Birmingham Indians ended up with a daunting 272 for 9 from 40 overs...
The father and son combination of Harky and Satty opened the bowling for the Birmingham Indians team and looked dangerous from the outset with Satty picking up there opening bat Rahul in the first over. After keeping things tight in the first few overs there number 3 Devan took a liking to Satty and dispatched him for 3 sixes in one over. It was time to bring on the Pro to break the partnership between Sunil and Devan, although it came in the form of a run out with Sunil being short of his groun... Baz kept things tight and Iman at the other end also bowled well without much luck.. However it required the old dog Chris Moyle’s (BBC Radio 1 presenter) aka Neil Budhia to apply the brakes on the Leicester Aryans batting as he bowled the obvious line of bowling outside off stump and reaped the benefits as he took 3 wickets including one where we all thought a clown was performing at a circus, as Nishal juggled and finally got the ball on the 5th attempt..well done though! Nishal also came on to bowl in the latter stages of the innings and seemed to get better with the more he bowled and finally picked up Devan for a entertaining 109.
Devan played a very un-orthodox innings should we say though it was very effective and at times good to watch. But the problem was with a them requiring almost 7 an over from the off the Leicester Aryans side were always behind the 8 ball and never looked like chasing the total down even though Devan made a valiant 109 with Leicester Aryans ending on 205 for 7 from 40 Overs
Gibbs Aka Hersal gave a master class on how not to catch a bowl as he so often does, as he dropped two regulation catches in two balls the first one he made a hash of at midwicket and had plenty of time to get under it but to be honest he never looked like catching it, the 2nd was more difficult as it was on the boundary but again should have been taken..Gibbs in Mumbai would be upset..
This victory was sweet, though this will mean nothing if we don’t beat them for the return fixture this Sunday..we want to do the double...
Birmingham Indian: 272 for 9 from 40 Overs (Bhavik 97, Sanjiv 82)
Leicester Aryans: 204 for 7 from 40 Overs (Devan 109)
Team: Nishal, Neil, Nikunj, Sanjiv, Iman, Harky, Satty, Dharms, Hersal, Sartak, Bhavik
BIRMINGHAM INDIANS VS BANTOCK (AWAY) 13th MAY
This was our third visit to Bantock CC and with losing are two previous encounters at the ground we were looking to turn the tables and get a good win registered at the Castlecroft Road ground which has been elusive thus far. Not the best of starts for the Birmingham Indians Skipper as he lost the toss but was surprisingly, Bantock’s new captain Mandeep decided to bat first on a fairly wet wicket which suited us fine.
Newly Wed Nishal began proceedings for the Birmingham Indian’s side having only flown back from his honeymoon a few weeks back. From his first few bowls it was evident that he was still in Honeymoon mode as he bowled both sides of the wicket and made Neil dive around...however he got his line write to the surprise of the batsmen, as the Bantock opener was trapped in front with Nishal’s final delivery of his first over.
At the other end Harky bowling with a new modified action seemed like a new man as he troubled the batsmen on a regular basis and was rewarded with a brace of early wickets including the opener and the dangerous Vijay both sent back without troubling the scorers. At one point it looked as though Harky would run through the Bantock batting line up (left it to the Son) so after his 4th over I duly took him off after consulting with Harky of course.
Both making their Birmingham Indians debut, I decided to bring on two young guns in the form of Iman and Sunil. Both started off pretty well with Sunil swinging the ball nicely and Iman at the other end trying to get to grips with bowling on a 22 yard pitch. The experienced Bantock batsmen took a liking to Iman early on and played some good attacking strokes down the ground. After a long discussion with Nikunj and some wise words (maybe not wise) from this father Iman responded emphatically bowling the batsmen with some nice flight and guile. Iman seemed to have found his mojo as he then went on take an amazing hat-trick (a first for Birmingham Indians, all BOWLED) even though his father still did not get this at the time. It was great to see a young bowler bowling with such discipline and control and this was evident from his stats as he bowled all his victims beating them through the gate. Well done Iman and please bring the match bowl back on Sunday we need it lol...With Iman on the rampage the Bantock CC team succumbed to a meek 64 all out.
The play of the day came from Amisha aka Terry, Geoffrey Boycott’s grandmother would have turned in her grave I reckon (is she still alive?)..It was a fairly innocuous drive by Bantock’s opener Rupesh which Amish looked to field though to our amazement/disbelief he took evasive action and took his hands out of harm’s way just as he was about to stop it..Let just say the whole ground was in stitches...As BOYCOTT would have said ‘my grandmother would have stopped that’ Hilarious entertainment value
To his credit after the stick he received thereafter anything that came his way, he put his body on the line, which is how it should be when you play for Birmingham Indians!
Neil and Sartak opened the innings for the Birmingham Indians side and once batting superstar Neil had thwarted speedster Mandeep in the opening over which fetched 10 runs victory was inevitable as Sartak and Neil both played there shots and it was only when Neil was in a rush to have a pint/curry did he throw his wicket away trying whack it into Lanka only to find the point fielder. Birmingham Indians had one more hiccup with Sanjiv falling for 1 with one that kept low though Sartak finished the game very calmly nudging the bowl to long off for a single ensuring a 8 wicket victory for the side with Sartak finishing on a unbeaten 34.
I would also like to thank Bantock CC for their hospitality after the game with a nice Chicken Curry and few drinks too.
Scores: Bantock 64 ALL OUT (Iman 5-24)
BI’s 65 for 2 (Sartak 34 Not out)
Team: Neil, Harky, Nikunj, Sanjiv, Hersal, Sartak, Amish, Iman, Nishal, Hersal, Dharmesh, Sunil
Birmingham Indians vs. Kings Heath CC 15th April (Away)
First game in 2012 for the Birmingham Indians commenced on the 15th April... the good news was that it was dry and sunny and the bad news was it was bitterly cold.
With Ex captain Nikunj back in the regains as captain for the 2012 season things were already looking up. Consequently, the toss was one by Nikunj and hesitantly decided to bat. With former BI’s player Jattin captaining the young Kings Heath outfit things could get spicy.
With Neil and Jaynesh opening the batting we could expect some earlier fireworks however it was more like lighting a match....Jaynesh was trapped in front in only the 3rd over for 1. It was obvious Jaynesh was not happy with the decision (is he ever) as he strolled back with language used that Virat Kolhi would be proud of. The problem with Jaynesh and LBW’s is that he acts as if LBW should not be apply to him at all, sometimes you just have to accept the umpires decision and smile. Nikunj also only lasted a few over’s before he was caught at midwicket playing a nothing shot. 15 for two and things looked like it could go badly wrong as KH’s young brigade were bowling tight lines and not giving much away.
BI’s batting god Neil (Bapa) had other ideas....as he showcased why he is regarded the most feared player in the Sunday league circuit...he drove and cut with contempt whereas at the other end Dharms tried to play himself in but by the time he did he was trapped in front paying the penalty for playing across the line, Neil soon followed having been done by a good un, being caught behind for a commanding 47. With it being 80 for 4...Teenage Prodigy Satty aka Tinnie and the hard hitting debutant Sanjiv had some repair work to do. This is exactly what they did, putting on 85 for the 4th wicket with some hard hits straight down the ground. Both fall trying to push the tempo with Sanjiv making a solid 39 and Satty making a domineering 47. If only Satty had run a few more runs a 50 would have been on the cards, the problem is he can’t run or won’t run...Wickets fall at regularly intervals thereafter, with only the Hench Hersal making any contribution with a well made 23 not out including a huge six with his new SS bat purchased from Nikunj aka Batman ( had to get that one in) The score ended with 213 for 9 off the 40 overs.
With the father and son duo of Harky and Satty opening the bowling the batting side were in for a stern examination of their techniques. Harky took the early bragging rights as he dismissed both Jattin and their opening bat... so it was 2-0 to the Daddy. Sattty responded empathically as he took two wickets in consecutive over’s to have KH in trouble at 20-4. Harky having signalled at his stomach I knew it was time for a change. Having not played for a couple of years introducing Bhavin was a risk especially with the winter type temperatures out in the middle. Although, as they say if you got it you never lose it and Bhavin bowled with some lovely flight and guile and outfoxed a couple of their batsmen who looked flummoxed.
At the other end we had Mr Hench himself to intimidate the batsmen and boy did he, first bowl he bowled in 2012 WICKET... Jamie bowled with possibly the worst ball of the match thus far (this was before Nikunj came onto bowl and subsequently bowled around 10 balls such as this, with no wickets mind you). However Mr Hench aka Hersal got better with ever over and picked up the wicket of the hard hitting Abdul. The match was pretty much over at this stage with the batsmen succumbing to some quality bowling minus Nikunj even Eddie got some spin and he is the Keeper! However, cricket is a funny game and two young KH batsmen played courageously and intelligently to form nice little partnership and both are ones to watch for the future. However, this was never going to be enough as Satty and Bhavin came back to wrap up the innings and bowl them out for 121. Though the fielding slacked after 20 over’s with poor fielding mainly by the captain overall it was a good win and a nice start to the season.
Birmingham Indians 213 for 9 from 40 overs (Neil 47, Satty 47, Sanjiv 39)
King Heath CC: 121 ALL OUT from 40 Overs ( Satty 3 for 15, Bhavin 3 for 25)
Birmingham Indians win by 97 Runs
Team: Jaynesh, Neil, Nikunj, Hersal, Eddie, Karam, Sanjeev, Satty, Harky, Bhavin, Dharms
Birmingham Indians vs. Asian Sports Wolverhampton 21st August (Away)
The 2nd leg between the two teams was played once again at Old Edwardians due to the ground being unavailable at Gamesfield Green. As a result Asian Sports were hosting the fixture and we were treated as the visitors vacating to the away changing room.
The toss went in Hiren’s favour and he had no hesitation in bowling first, something that he always prefers doing compounded by the fact that he knows Birmingham Indians can chase down any total if the batting fires. On another note, Jaynesh is yet to win a toss for the Birmingham Indians though on the bright side he is yet to lose a game as captain after two games!
It was Jaynesh and Neil who opened proceedings and Jits and Hiren shared the new ball for the home team. Jaynesh was looking to stamp his authority on the game from ball one which could have led to his downfall as he hit one aerially in the first over which went to the guy in the orange cap believed to be Aaron who spooned a fairly regulation catch with the ball racing away for four runs. Neil, at the other end was negotiating a testing spell from Hiren quite well however was struggling to get the ball away and failed to rotate the strike. Jaynesh at the other end after his earlier reprieve seemed to be finding boundaries at ease along with some rash shots. Running between the wickets was always going to be problem between Neil and Jaynesh as firstly there seemed to be a lot of hesitation and secondly Asian Sports fielding was of a very good standard. Jaynesh calling for a quick single in which Neil was late in responding too led to a run out as the fielder made a direct hit from point as Neil’s bat was in the air. With the score being 30 for 1, Nikunj came in and having scored 8 runs of the first four balls he faced he was undone in the next over by Hiren as he was hit right in front of the stumps and was given out LBW.
As our Pro Bhavik and Jaynesh began to form a steady partnership, Neil lifted his finger up even before the opposition could say OWZAT!, which left Jaynesh incensed as he throw his bat over the boundary for a huge six. After the ugly incident Jaynesh has made a public apology at a press conference held at Old Edwardians for his conduct over the episode and the Birmingham Indians disciplinary committee have found him guilty of committing a level 1 offence which means he has got away with just a slap on the ghan by Neil.
Self admired pro Bhavik who was looking to gain a contract at the Birmingham Indians side for next season fell possible the worst ball of the day, a leg stump full toss which he somehow managed to hit to cover much to the delight of Dilan. You have to applaud Bhavik’s confidence as he later announced during the tea break that he could have made a big hundred today it was there for the taking, if only he could let his bat do the talking for once in a while he might score runs.
Thereafter, It was all falling apart for the batting team and not much was expected from the lower order with only Ajay remaining famed top 6. However, Shivang after 3 years of playing for the club showed his worth with the bat and made a crucial 25 which was more like a 40 due to the context of the game. Funnily enough before he made his way to the wicket his family had much less faith in him with his father stating he would not last more than 2 over’s and with elder brother concurring. However, Nikunj predicted he would make runs today. How he was right.
Ajay and Shiv’s partnership at the end ran the Asian Sports fielders ragged as they both upped the tempo with calculated risks and running like hares. A visibly exhausted Ajay fell for a superb 40. Even though both fall in successive over’s and the tail of Vikesh and Vikash were unable to wag the momentum was definitely with the Birmingham Indians side as at one point a score of 180 was looking to difficult however they managed to get up to 208 all out from 38.5 overs. Nevertheless it was a good performance from the home side who fielded brilliantly and Hiren also bowled well to finish with 4 wickets.
As in the first game Mani and Aaron appeared rather circumspect at the crease however after a while both begin to put some loose bowling away and they notched up yet another 50 partnership in the first ten over’s. Things looked ominous for the Birmingham Indians as Aaron hit one straight to Vikash at Mid- off who dropped a sitter much to the frustration of Ajay who was building up some good pressure.
Nikunj who was brought on at the other end to get a wicket was rewarded with his first ball by perhaps the 2nd worse ball of the game a long-hop which gave Nishal catching practice as Aaron yet again failed after getting in falling for 22. There number 3 looked all at sea with his brief stay and fell 3rd ball hitting one in the air to cover which gave Nikunj a double wicket maiden. Leaving, them 81 for 2 with the Birmingham Indians side sensing an opportunity to run through the rather long tail.
Mani who had reached a well made 50 with a number of glorious cover drives seemed to struggle slightly with the spinners and gave his wicket away as he looked to hit Bhavik over the top only to see his middle stumped knocked over. It became clear that once Mani and Aaron departed the batting appeared to be thin as Hiren strode to the crease at 6. Nonetheless, due to the solid start the openers had given them all that was required was to work the ball around, however regular wickets from the spin quartet of Ajay, Nikunj, Jaynesh and Bhavik really pegged them back, Amit Mishra are you watching?? It left the home team reeling at 160 for 7 with Hiren left with Jits for company. Though both played and missed a lot they somehow ran well between the wickets and both quietly gained confidence. The game was at a crossroads as they put on around 30 runs for the 7th wicket and with Jaynesh reluctant to change to the seamers at the death it required a twist of the arm from Neil and Nikunj to get him to bring on Kishen. Who in truth turned the game in our favour, as he took out the big hitting Jits and the composed Hiren in each of his last two over’s. Asian Sports requiring 9 runs of the last over two wickets left with our warhorse Shivang to bowl. I can tell you it was tense in the field in the dying moments as everyone was on edge however Shivang apart from his last ball bowled a first class final over showing balls of steel and proving he is the man to go to in these situations. Birmingham Indians winning by 5 runs.
In many ways it was a great game of cricket played by the two teams and in the end the strength in depth in the Birmingham Indians side proved to be the game clincher. We showed great character not only on the field but on the batting front too when the chips were down. It has been in some ways a miraculous recovery by the Birmingham Indians side that had started the season badly and with one game to go in the season we hope to finish on a winning note.
Birmingham Indians 208 all out from 38.5 overs (Ajay 40, Jaynesh 34, Hiren 4 for 30)
Asian Sports Wolverhapmton: 204 for 8 from 40 Overs (Mani 51, Bhavik 4 for 27)
Birmingham Indians win by 5 Runs
Team: Jaynesh, Neil, Nikunj, Bhavik, Kishen, Ajay, Hersal, Shivang, Nishal, Vikesh, Vikash
Birmingham Indians vs Bolton Indians (Home) 31st July
Much was expected of this high profile game against the AMSUK six a side winners (2010) Bolton Indians and the under achieving Birmingham Indians outfit. Once again, Jaynesh lost the toss and BI’s were promptly asked to field on a hot and humid day on a pitch that looked as though it would turn from ball one. It was difficult taking the field as the opposition did not hesitate to light up there trademark BBQ before a ball was bowled.
The ever reliable Shivang who could be playing his last game for the side and BBC star Nishal opened proceedings. Dipesh aka Bruce Lee and the experienced Deepak opened the batting for the away side who seemed looked quite compact and composed at the crease. While the bowl was swinging alarmingly at times for once Shivang struggled to find his rhythm and hence the batsmen were able to put him away for regular boundaries. At the other end BPM star Nishal bowled a much more probing spell constantly asking questions of the batsmen without much luck. Once this was negotiated well by the two openers they began to open up, taking particular liking to Satty’s(Katty) bowling taking him to the cleaners in his first couple of overs. They had raced to 74 for no loss from 13 overs
At this point Jaynesh grasped that he needed to get the spinners on and made a double change in bringing on the leading wickets taker this season Ajay and the leg breaks of Nikunj. Instantly, it bought him success as Nikunj got the dangerous looking Dipesh out for 22. As the ball seemed to be gripping and bouncing the run rate seemed to fall and scoring become difficult. Ajay snaring Deepak who fell for a well made 40 as Jaineil took a well-judged catch . With both openers back in the hutch the rest of the Bolton Indians batsmen looked all at sea against both Ajay and Nikunj as they both applied the squeeze and it soon became clear that they weren’t looking to hang around and looked to blast the bowl out the park which soon lead to their downfall as they were left reeling at 104 for 7 after 26 over’s.
Just as a partnership began to blossom for the Bolton Indians side a superb direct hit from Nikunj who only had one stumps to aim at left Piush aka Tino stranded at the non strikers end. With Prem Chopra bringing plenty of lip to the crease he in the process ran out his two partners with ironically like of verbal communication.
Though he had plenty to say Jaynesh and Prem seemed to be exchanging plenty of words with Shivang and Nikunj also getting involved for good measure. Though Prem was lucky in some instances edging the bowl in the 3rd man area he launched a six straight over Jaynesh head which left him disgruntled which lead to Jaynesh losing his rag in the field
As the duel between Jaynesh and Prem was heating up who ended up making a quick fire 31 not out things ended prematurely as the final batsmen was comprehensively bowled by Jaynesh which left the BI’s side needed 168 for victory from 40 Overs.
However, at the end the innings Nikunj and Shivang apologised to Prem if anything was said in haste and came to the conclusion it was just a bit of banter. After some peri peri sausages for tea prepared by Neil both Jaynesh and Neil strode to the wicket with plenty of intent as both looked to take the attack to the both Piush and Kiran who opened the bowling. Some initial tight over’s at the start of the innings soon transpired into some clean striking from both batsmen as they enjoyed some juicy bowling, as the score raced to 62 for 0 after 10 over’s. As so often is the case with Neil he gave his wicket away after looking sublime, not for the first time this season which has lead some people to state he needs to get a big score if he wants to stay in the side lol, not learning from his earlier reprieve in the over he once again over balanced trying to whack the ball on the leg side and being neatly stumped by the keeper.
A mouth watering clash was about to commence as Prem aka Chopra was handed the ball with the temperamental Jaynesh on strike. Was Prem all talk and no action or was Jaynesh about to get the biggest send off he has received in his cricketing career. This was a showdown which everyone was waiting for and the first ball didn’t disappoint as the tall Prem got a short ball to hurry onto Jaynesh who got a thick edge down to fine leg boundary for four. What followed should come with a parental guidance advisory as Jaynesh took Prem Chopra not only out the attack but sent the ball to the boundary four times including a hook shot that went for six. 24 off one over which quite frankly ended any further confrontation.
At the other end, Satty played some gorgeous strokes in his little cameo of 28 including a huge six off Suri and some delightful clips off his legs. However, he soon was dismissed in similar fashion to Neil and headed back despondent.
Jaynesh looked in imperious form and notched up his 50 with ease and began to launch an assault on the bowlers which they had no answer for. Only retirement could save them from any further punishment as H Parmar got prompted up the order to prove his credentials.
Ritesh played some attractive shots in his brief innings of 22 not out to see the Birmingham Indians home who won by 8 wickets with 15 over’s to spare.
Special mention to Jaytin who has now scored for the Birmingham Indians side for the past two games, your effort is much appreciated even though Hersal gave you a massive bruise to show his appreciation.
Two wins on the bounce now for the Birmingham Indians side who seem a rejuvenated outfit, with only a few games left in the season hopefully we can sign off with some more victories.
Bolton Indians 167 all out from 34 overs (Deepak 40, Ajay 3-18, Nikunj 3-27)
Birmingham Indians 167 for 2 from 25 overs (Jaynesh 66 retired out, H Parmar 2 not out)
Birmingham Indians win by 8 Wickets
Team: Jaynesh, Neil, Satty, Ritesh, Nikunj, Hersal, Nishal, Jaineil, Shivang, Ajay, Harky
Sunday 10 July – Birmingham Indians vs WB Indian Sports (Home)
On-Song Shivang rips through the WB Indian Sports batting line-up to set-up a Easy Victory
The day begun with us warming up for well over an hour as yet again Indian Sports players decided to rock up at around 2:20pm with the match scheduled to start at 1:30pm. Nevertheless, we were determined to get a 40 over game in as it was a lovely day. With a newly appointed skipper Jaynesh as Amar being injured for the rest of the season things begin badly as he lost the toss and we were asked to take the field. Am sure this was later regretted by the Indian Sports batsmen as all looked at sea against the new ball pair of Nishal and Shivang as the ball went past the bat on countless occasions. Nishal after bowling a number of wide’s down the leg side began to find his line which meant some of his balls were unplayable. He was rewarded in his 4th over as an edge was gleefully accepted by Neil at first slip. Shivang at the other end was bowling the spell of his life as he gave nothing away and bowled in the perfect channel outside off. Another edge was induced and it went straight into Neil’s buckets at first slip again. Aaron walked to the crease and first ball got a peach of a delivery which brought the edge and once again the catch was accepted by our role model Neil. It has to be said that Neil’s catching was flawless in this game and with Rits looking rusty behind the stumps Neil took over as keeper, all I can say is Eddie better watch out. A fury spell from Shivang left the India Sports batsmen reeling at 35 for 5 and being in danger of being bowled out for under a 100.
Once Shivang and Nishal finished their spells both Nikunj and Vikash were introduced to the attack, while both kept things tidy neither of them looked threatening with the batsmen looking to be on the defensive. Though Nikunj bowled a leg break which Kiran could only edge to first slip to Sartak scoring 21. After 25 over’s the score had reached 70 for 6. With Birmingham Indian looking to finish things off, Shivang came back on and cleaned up the tail nearly claiming a hat-trick in the process. However, he finished with impressive figures of 6-20 and displayed why he is such a key member of the team, though his batting still has his critics having a field day. Some stubborn resistance from there two veteran batsmen Sushi and Amit ensured that they got to a total of 137 all out with both batsmen scoring 34.
The Birmingham Indians batsmen were in no mood to hang around and went for their shots from ball one, Sartak took particular liking to the bowlers early on as he pummelled boundaries almost at will. There strategy to open the bowling with a spinner backfired as Jaynesh also joined in the party hitting him for some big sixes. It was clear this match would be over before the allotted over’s. Sartak then went for one shot to many and got caught at short midwicket for a rapid 56. This bought Mr Buckets Neil to the crease. You can always guarantee some form of entertainment when he is at the crease and he never disappoints as he nearly left Jaynesh stranded the first ball he faced going for an improbable single.
Neil after blasting a couple of boundaries fell to the pacy Aaron trying to carve one over cover and being caught at point. This caused wild celebrations from the Young Aaron who knew he got a big fish, he ran all the way near the boundary line screaming and fist pumping . In the next over Jaynesh was ran out with a direct hit from fine leg on 49, failing to slide his bat in correctly! It required the duo of Nikunj and Hersel to see the team home, both competing to hit the winning runs in the end it was won with a wide ball being bowled. Birmingham Indian chased down the target of 138 within 15 overs, which prompted Neil to set-up a quick six-a-side between the squad. The less said about this the better, all you need to know is that Neil left a bowl trying to scam a wide and got his leg stump knocked back, comedy!
A good start for Jaynesh as captain though am sure there will be tougher assignments in the coming weeks.
Match Summary: Indian Sports 137 all out (Sushi 34, Shivang 6-20)
Birmingham Indians 138 for 4 (Sartak 56, Jaynesh 49)
Team: Sartak, Jaynesh, Ritesh, Nikunj, Hersal, Vikash, Nishal, Jaineil, Shivang, Neil
Bharat Sports Leicester Inch Home by 3 wickets as Birmingham Indians Bowlers are Flayed
Sunday 26th June: Birmingham Indians vs Bharat Sports Leicester (Home)
With Eddie and Jaynesh both finishing exam duties both had a point to prove having not played much cricket in 2011. This prompted the skipper to send them both in the deep end to open the innings after winning the toss once again (Birmingham Indians skipper has not lost the toss yet!!). It has to be said the pitch seemed as green as I have ever seen at OId Eds, this compounded by fact that it also seemed spongy. Both begin well as Eddie dispatch an early four and Jaynesh too hitting one through point. However a few quite over’s proceeded as Bharat Sports begin to find the right area with Eddie edging a beauty bowled by Amit which was shelled at slip. In spite of this Eddie was not able to make them pay as he hit one straight to Rash at midwicket the very next over. Nikunj walked to the crease to accompany his brother Jaynesh with the score being 38 for 1 after 10 overs. After the earlier sledging by Dharms and the slip cordon about Nikunj not being good enough to have the Adidas Sachin Tendulkar bat (probably right) things soon became silent in the outfield as Nikunj and Jaynesh both took the attack to the opposition and were well placed at 104 for 1 from 20 overs. Nikunj then had a rush of blood and hit one straight to mid off trying clear the fence. The new and improved Hersal blasted a couple of meaty sixes before yet again being bowled playing across the line..when will he ever learn?? Soon after Jaynesh made a fool of himself hitting one straight to mid-on not realising he had dropped it and walking back distraught he was soon hysterical as he got run-out with the dive proving in-vain. Nevertheless Jaynesh played a fine knock and made a well crafted 66.
This brought two players to the crease that both seemed loved up and with wedding balls in the air. Ritesh and Amar both appeared unfit and with an out of sorts Amar lasting all but three balls falling for a duck, as he missed a ball outside off stump and failed to ground his bat even though the keeper was standing back., VILLAGE!! Next on to Ritesh who played a little cameo of 31 not out whilst complaining of ankle pain throughout. He failed to take the field in the 2nd half of the game due to this innocuous injury which meant our twelve man Iman had to take the field on a day were temperatures reached a record high. With our Pro Neil nicely finishing the innings off in style with a slog sweep for six the score reached a defendable 219 for 6 from 35 overs, reduced as Bharat Sports going round a roundabout 4 times!
The Bharat Sports innings begin with all guns blazing from ball one with both batsmen looking to dominate the bowling and in the process hitting the ball to all parts, as Amar’s first over got dispatched for 15 much to the disappointed of the other half who was cheering from the stands. With runs being scored almost at will the skipper decided to take himself and Satty off after just 3 overs apiece with Harky and Ajay being the replacements to face the music. However, with Harky unable to bowl a consistent area and having no ball and wide problems the Bharat Sports side had raced to to 99 from just 12 overs . It required some wily bowling from fielding consultant Ajay to stem the run flow which was rewarded with him picking up the wicket of Level 2 Coach Dharms for a brisk 46. At the half way stage they had reached 130 for 3 from 17 overs.
With spin on offer, it was a shame that both Jaynesh and Nikunj were not able to maintain any pressure at the other end as both leaked runs meaning with the start Bharat Sports got off too not many risks were required as they inched closer to victory. However, a couple more wickets from Ajay who could have had 2 from 2 balls if Neil had clung on to a sitter but as it so often has been the case throughout Neil’s career he seems to catch the difficult ones and drop the straight forward chances. This is the man who has been rated by one of our players to have the drive of Tendulkar, the bat of Gayle and the physique of Ranatunga. This was a top class spell of bowling from Ajay who showed how to bowl on a wicket that had a bit to offer for the bowlers . A mini wobble seemed to be on the cards as Neil picked up a couple of wickets meaning the scenario was 30 runs required with 3 wickets in hand. However, there usual number 11 Amit got prompted to number 9 and this move seemed to be justified as he guided the Leicester side home with some calculated hits and without losing any further wickets.
Thus far this has been a poor season for the Birmingham Indians side with just 2 wins from 8 games, it will be a huge test of character if they are to bounce back and have a respectable 2nd half of the season.
Birmingham Indians 219 for 6 from 35 Overs (Jaynesh 66, Ritesh 31 Not Out)
Bharat Sports Leicester 220 for 7 from 30 Overs (Dharms 46, Anonymous 52, Ajay 4 for 31)
Team: Eddie, Jaynesh, Nikunj, Hersal, Ritesh, Amar, Ajay, Neil, Harky, Satty, Jaineil, Iman
Bury St Edmonds AKA Bantock CC Crushed at Old Edwardians by a Rampant B’ham Indians side
SUNDAY 5th June: Birmingham Indians vs Bantock CC (Home)
Following a first-class warm-up that Mosely CC would be proud of, Birmingham Indians seemed determined to overturn the result that haunted them a couple of weeks ago.
After being inserted into bat by Bantock CC the stand in skipper for the 2nd time this season Nikunj decided to open the innings with fielding consultant Ajay Patel and the ever vocal Harky Kang. After warning Harky of Mandeep's pace he decided to don a helmet however after just facing one over he submissively took it off stating his slow. Together they looked solid at the crease and played well selecting the right ball to hit.
Ironically,Harky was hit flush on the shoulder from a vicious bouncer from Mandeep in the 9th over, which lead Harky to respond empathically as next bowl he cut the bowler over point for four and then charging the bowler he played an exquisite cover drive for four all along the turf. By the 10th over the score had raced to 73 for no wicket and things looked ominous. Well the two built a solid opening stand, elsewhere Dharmesh Chahaun was in deep conversation with Neil, Nikunj and Sartak at the clubhouse regarding his remarkable glasses that ‘flex’ 360 degrees and ideal for playing sports.
Demonstrating the flexibility of his glasses much to the astonishment of Dharms they snapped in half which lead to hysterical laughter from his team mates and leading for him to go home to find a replacement. The moral of the story; never go to Specsavers. This clearly disgruntled him as he looked a man out of sorts when coming to the crease as he played all around a straight one to get cleaned up. So for the second time this season ‘what a plank’. As Ajay got a stroke of luck being dropped on 40 as Ramsa dropped a fairly easy chance at midwicket. Harky looked to be the aggressor, which eventually lead to his downfall as he got trapped LBW by Harish for 40. It was a good innings that showed that he still has the potential that he had as an opening batsman in his heydays at Wilclaire CC. Nonetheless it was a fiery opening stand of 90 off only 14 overs. The confident and in-form Nikunj joined Ajay at the crease. Ajay nearing his 50 top edged one to mid wicket which was pounced on sending him back to the pavilion. As mentioned above Dharms who came in at 4 with his new GM Apex never troubled the scorers neither did Sartak who trudged back having made a single, with Harish picking up his 3rd wicket. Nikunj was given a huge reprieve by skipper Harish when he had only scored 1. Flashing at a wide ball it went straight to Harish at gully who thankfully fluffed it. It is almost criminal to drop a man in form and he certainly made Bantock CC pay as thereafter he took a liking to all the bowlers hitting the ball powerfully straight down the ground going on to score 82 before getting run out going for an optimistic second. Bhavin came to the crease wielding his new Kookabura Blade 950 purchased from the Batman Nikunj, he hit four majestic boundaries in one over much to the surprise of Bhavin who looked at the bat each time he hit a four not quite believing the power in the bat. As wickets consistently tumbled a swashbuckling 30 not out including two huge sixes by debutant Mitesh Chudasama propelled the B’hams Indians to a formidable 287 for 8.
As tea was taken the skies appeared to be darkening and rain was in the air, so after the team had consumed several Dhokra’s , B’ham Indians were keen to get the over’s in. Hersal who donned the wicket keeping duties for the day seemed to be collecting the bowl much like a Crocodile catches his preys which eventually lead to the Skipper changing him with the comical yet talented keeper our ‘Pro’ Neil. As we all knew much would depend on centurion from the previous game Ramsa if Bantock CC were to get anywhere near the total. In spite of this, it soon became apparent that Bantock would always be behind the 8 ball as our bowlers bowled much more disciplined lines as Mitesh and Neil bowled a testing opening spell and in the process picking up 3 wickets in the first 12 over’s including the dangerous Ramsa trapped in front by Neil.
It has to be said that the catching was impeccable as Bhavin took a low catch at mid-on to dismiss Harish and then Dharmesh made up for his batting shambles taking the catch of the game running back and taking it over his shoulder dismissing the submissive Vijay who whacked Neil in the previous over for a couple of fours and a six. The only blemish was Neil standing up to a clearly suprised Dharmesh dropped a sitter which then lead to Dhamrs bowling a flurry of wides. It was evident that Bantock CC we’re not going to die wandering and each batsmen came out with intent to hit boundaries from bowl one which may have lead to their swift downfall. The nail was hit in the coffin when U19 Warwickshire star Kishen Patel dismissed both Mandeep and Silly in the same over. Special mention to Vikesh who picked up his first wicket for the B’ham Indians. In the end the score had proved too much for Bantock CC who succumbed to being dismissed for 126 all out.
Scores: Birmingham Indian 287 for 8 (Nikunj 82, Ajay 46, Harky 40; Harish 3-31)
Bantock CC 126 for All Out (Kishen Patel 3-10)
Birmingham Indians Win by 164 Runs
Team: Harky Kang, Ajay Patel, Nikunj Patel, Kishen Patel, Sartak Saini, Neil Budhia, Dharmesh Chauhan, Hersal Parmar, Mitesh Chudasama, Bhavin Ratore and Vikesh Chadva
This was being billed by many as the mother of all games, due to the instance rivalry between the two teams. This was warranted as Neil declared that he had a sleepless night before the game, much like Sachin Tendulkar did before the 2003 WC clash between India vs Pakistan. In spite of this, the intensity did drop a notch once the opponents arrived as they looked like an inexperienced side with some young players.
Once again the ever reliable Birmingham Indians Skipper Amar won the toss and decided to bowl first with conditions being overcast and the prospect of a bit of early swing movement likely. Asian Sports Skipper Mr Pressure aka Mani and youngster Aaron opened proceedings and begin fairly confidently with both taking their time to assess the pitch and playing quite circumspectly as they tried to weather an early storm from the tried and tested combination of Amar and Satty, who proved difficult to score off with both bowlers beating the bat consistently. It was not until the 8th Over until any intent was shown with Aaron taking three boundaries in one over off Amar to get things moving in the right direction for the away side. Was it time for some spin bowling perhaps? Not just yet….After 10 overs they had moved onto 40 without loss with Amar deciding to introduce Harky and Neil first change, though Harky troubled both batsmen he tended to bowl the odd loose bowl in the over which released any pressure that was built. At the other end the evergreen Neil bowled a spell that really disturbed Aaron… that uncertain channel outside off stump, beating the bat on numerous occasions before putting Aaron out of his misery perishing for a well constructed 35. He was particular severe on anything full on his legs but as they say your strength can be your weakness sometimes as he looked to work another one off his legs but it went straight to mid-on.
The real howler of the day came from our fielding coach Ajay Patel. Showing off his new toy before the game (The Katchet Training Aid) and pulling off some sharp catches. He dropped a real sitter in the slips off a visibly shocked Neil and Mani had his first reprieve. Ajay later stated that the Katchet training tool the balls comes faster and also it is somehow hard to pick up behind the site screen! At the half way stage Asian Sports were 81 for 1 with drinks being taken, the captain to decided it was time for spin from both ends with Jaynesh and Nikunj being introduced This bought instant success with Nikunj snapping up the wickets of (Mani with a googly) and their number 3 with a quicker one from consecutive over’s. Jaynesh at the other end failed to apply much pressure as he failed to control his line or length. This enabled Devin to keep finding the boundaries and quickly blasted a 50. With 10 over remaining a score of 180 seemed about par for the course, as Amar picked up a couple of late wickets at the death, however a stupendously bad over from Neil which went for 20 and some modest fielding boosted the total to 211 for 8 from 40 overs.
With the Birmingham Indians batting line-up this should be a walk in the park, or will it. Jaynesh and our pro Eddie strolled to the wicket to begin the action. After slashing the bowl to third man for Six, Jaynesh was comprehensibly bowled by perhaps the bowl of the day, swinging in late, clipping the top of middle stump. A bowl later thankfully Jets pulled his hamstring and was replaced by their Skipper. Mani bowled an impressive teasing channel to our once premier batsmen Ritesh and he eventually got rid of him after a visibly frustrated Ritesh went for a lofted drive over cover which was expertly judged by injured Jets to send him back to the showers. Once again Nikunj and Hersal were reunited at the crease after the mammoth partnership the week before. Things begin rather the same with Hersal looking edgy but then all of a sudden he would hit the bowl over the boundary with some lusty blows. As it so often is in cricket his mental approach let him down as a shot which is on par with Harky’s Vs Coventry Bharat Sports a few weeks back. A slog across the line disturbed the timber much to the jubilation of Aaron. A poor shot for a batsmen batting at number four. Ajay might have been right though, there was certainly something in the air as both Hersal and Eddie were let off the hook with Jets at first slip spilling simple catches. Much too the disappointed of the Birmingham Indians fans both were not able to capitalise on their let-offs.
The old hand of Neil and the in-form Nikunj begin to rebuild the innings and the game situation was nicely poised at drinks as Birmingham Indians were 80 for 4 at the half way stage, perhaps losing too many wickets. Nikunj took particular liking to their spinner Bhavesh after drinks and took him for three fours off one over. However, Bhavesh extracted his revenge by bowling Nikunj in the next over with one that was tossed up nicely. In a surprise move the Skipper promoted Vikesh up the batting order, though this seemed to have back fired as Vikesh lasted all but three balls. Ajay and Neil the two most experienced players in the team batted with a cool head and were on course to steer the home side to victory, before Neil playing a thoughtless shot trying to work the ball of the stumps and getting bowled for 35. Now the onus rested on Ajay to take the team to the finish line with 50 runs to get. However, the game turned on its head in the closing stages as Mani dismissed both Amar and Satty in the same over and with 18 required of the last two overs and only Harky remaining for company things looked unpromising. In the penultimate over Ajay was bowled to what looked like a bowl destined to be hit to the boundary yet somehow due to the lack of pace on the ball he edged it straight the keeper. Consequently the game was lost by 12 runs.
It was yet another tense game; however those 2 wickets of Amar and Satty at the end switched the tide towards the away side. Plenty of room for improvement for the Birmingham Indians team who are having a disappointing season thus far.
Scores: Asian Sports Wolverhampton; 211 for 8 from 40 Over (Devin 50, Amar 2-30, Nikunj 2-18)
Birmingham Indians; 199 All Out (Ajay 37 not out, Mani 4-25)
Team: Jaynesh Patel, Eddie Hulbert, Ritesh Pate, Hersal Pate, Nikunj Pate, Neil Budhia, Vikesh Chadva, Ajay Pate, Amar Budhia, Satty Kang, Harky Kang
Fielding a new look side with as many as 3 debutants( Ravi Rathod, Bhavin Rathod & Sundeep Genu), it was a pretty untested & unproven side as Prasad, Dharmesh and Vikesh also only having played one game for the Birmingham Indians prior to this fixture. With the regular skipper Amar off on a romantic weekend away and the vice captain Jaynesh suspected to be revising for exams, ex captain Nikunj was once again brought to the fore of leading the side. Things begin well with Nikunj winning the toss and electing to bat establishing the fact the pitch was used for the league game on Saturday and looked like it would keep low and slow.
Bhavin and Ajay opened proceedings and appeared to find run scoring difficult as the bowl didn’t appear to be coming on. Soon, a perturbed and hungover Ajay departed with one that bounced more than expected which caught the top end of his bat to be caught at point. Subsequently, Bhavin also walked back to the pavilion after miscuing a pull shot and being caught at midwicket. Neil after playing a couple of fantastic shots fall to a loose shot and tamely hit one to point which was gleefully accepted. The wily Bantock captain Harish snapping up Prasad with an arm ball which caught him plumb in front. Leaving the B’ham Indians side reeling at 37 for 4 from 14 overs.
Hersal and Nikunj then slowly begin to rebuild the innings, combining quick running between the wickets and powerful strokes down the ground. It was a wonderful re-guard effort from the two batsmen who put on 150 for the 5th wicket. One shot in particular by Nikunj a back foot slash for six over third man was described by Neil as Sehwag- esque. Hersal notched up his maiden 50 with an empathic clip to the boundary. Which brought scenes of wild celebrations from the young lad going down on his knees (which he is used too) and kissing the sacred turf followed by his trademark Bhangra moves.
However, the shot of the day came from Warnie aka Hunsa Aka Honey, as Nikunj Patel (80) and Hersal (57) departed both getting stumped in a effort to up the ante. A score of 200 was looking tricky. Though Honey had other ideas as he played a gorgeous cover drive over extra cover for four followed by a straight drive straight back past the bowler, it was one for the purists for sure. At the innings break we managed to post a respectable 211 off 40 overs, a great recovery considering nearly half the team were out before the team could reach 40.
Hunting down 212, the Bantock were in all sorts of bother at 40 for 3 as Neil began to make inroads. Bowling against the wind which was actually a gale. He troubled most of the batsman with constantly hitting the penny and trapping two of the batsman in front to take a couple of early wickets. Though, the innings begin with a huge mix up as both batmen ended up at the strikers end and Ravi throwing the ball back to Dharmesh at the non-strikers end to the astonishment of the skipper Dharmesh started walking back to his mark with the ball, only a cry of anguish from Nikunj forced Dharmesh to take off the bails. Still unaware that he had run their opener out. What a plank! Following the early set-backs steady partnerships begin to form and at the 20 over stage the game was evenly poised at 104 for 3. Wickets were required and Nikunj decided to put himself on straight after drinks and was rewarded first ball. It has to be said it was probably the worst ball of the day that produced the wicket, but I guess sometimes you got to take what you can get. This brought to the crease Salu (Ramesh’s son) who after a couple of leg side swipes got run out by his Father. Leaving the game in the balance with them still requiring 90 with 5 wickets in hand off 17 overs. The B’ham Indians bowlers could not apply any sort of pressure as runs were being scored freely and catches and misfields occurring consistently. This enabled Bantock to secure an easy win with 5 overs remaining and with 4 wickets in hand.
It was a superb performance by the Bantock batsmen with Ramesh clattering a century ably supported by Kets who blasted the ball to all parts after being dropped twice in one over firstly by Dharmesh (sitter, excuse the sun) secondly and more surprisingly by Neil at long-off, Vikesh being the unlucky bowler once again who bowled a good second spell without any help from the fielders. Later that evening it was observed by Ravi Rathod that Neil was in fact the best fielder in the team and the fastest as well, this was bewildering and humorous to many of the other team mates especially with one going through his legs at square leg. Ramesh aka Rumsa played a knock which epitomised how to play an innings of controlled aggression and lead his side to a convincing victory in the end even though he was dimissed by a Yorker from Neil but it was far too late. It left plenty of questions for the B’ham Indians side whose bowling attack seemed depleted apart from our Old Edwardians Pro Neil Budhia.
B’ham Indians will need to be switched on come next Sunday.
Match Summary: Birmingham Indians Innings: 211 for 8 (Nikunj Patel 80, Hersal 57)
Bantock CC Innings: 214 for 6 (Ramesh 110, Kets 58*, Neil 3/31)
Team: Bhavin Rathod, Ajay Patel, Neil Budhia, Nikunj Patel, Prasad Visnu, Hersal Parmar, Ravi Rathod, Dharmesh, Hanish Vadher, Sandeep Genu, Vikash Chadva
Toss won by Sandwell Action who elected to field
Birmingham Indians - 166 a/o - Nikunj Patel 46 (retired)
Sandwell Action - 161 a/o
Team - Ajay Patel, Nikunj Patel, Harky Singh, Hershall Parmar, Prasad, Ritesh Patel, Neil Budhia, Dharmesh Chauhan, Nishal Chauhan, Iman Singh, Amar Budhia.
Birmingham Indians Captain Amar won the toss (100% record) and had no hesitation to bowl first on a damp pitch with also having one eye on the Manchester Untied versus Chelsea fixture later in the afternoon. This in the midst of the game originally being scheduled to start at 1pm with the B’ham Indians side arriving at the ground at 12pm. However, after consultation with their captain Jay via Blackberry messenger it was deemed the match would start at 2pm even though Neil was e-mailed a 1pm start time. This gave some of the players an easy excuse to hit the bar to grab a pint and some bacon baps.
This decision was justified early on as both openers looked tentative at the wicket with Amar and Satveer bowling with great control aided by some swing movement. Satveer was then rewarded with some accurate bowling and got rid of the opener and there number 3 bat Vitesh in consecutive over’s. This left them in a spot of bother at 25 for 2. It could have been 25 for 3 as the unlucky Amar had their number 4 Mitesh fishing at a wide delivery, which went straight to Hersal at gully, who appeared to have reacted late and attempted an unnecessary dive. At this stage we did not know how costly the drop would be. However, after a great opening spell from both Amar and Satveer things begin to go wrong for the Indains. As both the first change bowlers Harky and Krishan were crashed to the boundary almost at will as Harky tended to bowl leg stump half- volleys and Krishan was guilty of bowling a length which the batsman could get under and hit straight down the ground. This bought an enforced change from the skipper who introduced the spin twins Jaynesh and Nikunj, to see whether they could ebb the run flow as the team had raced to a 115 for two after 17 over’s. The next couple of over’s begin well for the away side though this never lasted long as the spinners constantly got there lengths wrong serving up full tosses and long hops that were dispatched to the boundary on numerous occasions. It has to be said this was aided by lack of commitment on the field as on a couple of instances from the senior players Neil and Harky were using their feet as opposed to their hands to stop the ball, on both occasions the ball went for four. Maybe this was due tiring bodies due to the years of putting their bodies on the line. Would this affect the end result? Only time would tell. Jaynesh then took a sharp caught and bowled chance to get rid of their threatening opener who notched up his 50. Even though this wicket came at a crucial time the spinners still leaked runs which meant the skipper had no choice but to replace them. Amar opted for the two most experienced bowlers, a dubious choice of Harky bowling spin and Neil at the other end with his two step run-up. Nonetheless, what followed was carnage with the batsman making merry and at one stage looked like the away team would be chasing around 300. In the process there batsman Mitesh making a well made ton and also Neil being hit for 3 consecutive sixes continually getting the yorker wrong and being hit over midwicket. It required some nous from Nikunj to counsel Neil to bowl wide outside off stump and was soon rewarded with a couple of wickets with Krishan taking a CATCH . Amar tried his best to restrict the final score with some tight bowling at the end, but the damage had already been done and Bharat Sports Coventry had amassed 262 for 9.
At the half way stage Birmingham Indians seemed quietly confident of chasing the target as the wicket appeared flat and the sun had dried the wicket. Playing his first game in a while Ajay opened the batting with Jaynesh. Opening at one end with a spinner who struggled with his line and anther with a slow slow seamer it soon become clear that the chase would prove difficult as there bowlers offered no pace to work with and minus the spinner bowled very straight homing in on the stumps. Ajay soon perished attempting a hit straight down the ground however he could only spoon it to mid-off. At this stage we had got off to a quick start with 30 for 1 after 5 overs. This brought to the crease the in-form Neil Budhia on the back of making two half-centuries. Early on Neil appeared to be troubled by the spinner who had a couple of appeals turned down for leg before. Thereafter, with the left-right hand combination clearly troubling the bowlers. Jaynesh and Neil showed why they are regarded amongst the most feared batsmen in the circuit as they formed a formidable partnership keeping in check the run rate and playing sun-kissed strokes all around the wicket. Neil as he so often does, after notching up yet another 50 gave his wicket away going for a hit straight down the ground and being caught on the boundary. This left us at 130 odd for 2 and still sensing victory was within our sights. Nikunj then came in with his borrowed Newbery bat from Hersal and thought that he could hit sixes for jokes, however after a few lusty blows he got bowled to one that kept low. This brought to the crease the self acclaimed Gautam Gambhir AKA Ritesh, though he was saying a few people have called him Yuvi. Anyway, back to the cricket. Ritesh and Jaynesh formed a steady partnership with Ritesh trying to give Jaynesh much of the strike. Jaynesh soon fell getting bowled trying to go for a slog over cow corner. Hersal strolled to the crease looking rather nervous with around 80 required to win. Things were going well until Ritesh perished going for another boundary and getting cleaned up much to the joy of the opponents. This left the deficit to acquiring 55 of around 8 over’s. It appeared that the tide was turning in the favour of the batting team as Hersal hit a four and a six off one over to bring it down to 35 from 5 over’s. The following over was becoming a very tidy over which forced Hersal to go down town and throw his wicket away. Leaving the nerveless Satveer at the other end stranded. This bought to the crease his Father Harky with 8 an over required from the last four all that was required was some sensible batting. The shot can only described as the worst shot so far in the season as he went for an ugly swipe across the line leaving his stumps in tatters. Even though the bowl before just missed his stumps by a whisker attempting the same shot. Much to the disgust of his son Satveer who still kept remarkably composed throughout and took us very close to winning the game with only 13 needed off the last over with his brother Iman for company. Even though they tried their best a tight over meant they could only muster 8 runs, losing the game by 5 runs. WHAT A GAME.
It was an excellent knock by the 15 year-old Satveer nonetheless, who showed great maturity in his innings and displayed to his more senior team mates on how to construct an innings and not to panic under pressure. Ultimately, it was the poor support bowling following a tidy opening spell along with some ordinary fielding that cost us the game. The home team showed that by bowling wicket to wicket that even a formidable batting line-up cannot compensate for some shocking bowling.
Bharat Sports Coventry: 262 for 9 from 40 Overs (Mitesh 130, Satveer 2-11)
Birmingham Indians: 258 for 9 from 40 Overs (Jaynesh 70, Neil 52)
Team: Jaynesh, Ajay, Neil, Nikunj, Ritesh, Hersal, Satveer, Krishan, Amar, Harky, Iman
Some said Early April would be too soon for a game of Cricket, how they were wrong. It was a glorious sunny day and with a new name, new captain and a fairly new look side Kings Heath decided to stick us in after winning the toss. The first few over begin rather tentatively as there was some early swing movement on offer with the brand new Woodworm bowl, consequently Eddie nicked behind without troubling the scorers. Thankfully, things soon changed as Birmingham Indians Premier Batsman Neil came to the middle and stroked the ball to all parts of the ground, one shot that particularly stood out was a jaw dropping on-drive all along the ground for four. This seemed like a rejuvenated Neil who proudly became a father only a month back. Looking on course for a rapid 50 he fell to a long hop that should have ended up in the gardens but he tamely gave catching practice to square leg (falling for 42). At this point the score was 80 for 2. Then strolled in ex-captain Nikunj who begin nervously to a deceptive leg break-googly bowler. However, after getting his eye-in Nikunj and Jaynesh both took the King’s Heath spinners apart and in the process both notched up there half-centuries in double quick time. At this point things looked set for a score of around 250. Against the run of play Jaynesh went for one shot too many after being dropped the bowl before and holed out to Jattin in the deep for a well made 65. At this stage the score was around 160 for 3. Hersal after impressing in the winter nets came in and lasted all but two balls playing across the line to a straight one. Soon after wickets tumbled with as many as 5 batsman batsmen getting ducks and Nikunj departing for the 7th Wicket for 60. This was reminiscent of the WC game between India vs South Africa on March 12th were a huge total was on the cards but with not much depth in the batting the last 8 wickets fall for 40 runs. The irony was Krishan was left stranded making 8 not out and with 3 over left to bat of the innings. We finished the innings on 196 all out which was well below par for the surface and relatively short boundaries. Though at the halfway stage we was confident with are bowling line up that we could defend the target.
There openers begin fairly confidently putting on about 30 runs for the first wicket before Shivang who was fresh from the tour of South Africa struck the first blow. Jaynesh taken a good low catch at short cover. Thereafter a partnership formed and Rizwan their opener was hitting boundaries regularly which took the pressure off them. This was aided by some average bowling as many bowlers were missing there length and bowling full tosses. A visible tired and injured Rizwan who received physio treatment for 10 minutes (rapped on the knee by Shivang) then fall to Nikunj bowling his first over… another well judged catch taken by Jaynesh at the mid-on boundary. Leaving them 90 for 2…Jattin then fall to a lovely leg break that drew the batsmen out of the crease and Eddie did the rest behind the stumps. Nikunj again being the wicket taker. Just as the game was going in our favour and pressure mounting on the batsmen another steady partnership blossomed before Nikunj trapping there number 4 batsman for 49. This left the game nicely poised at 140 for 4 with not much batting to come. As Nikunj finished his spell of 8 overs for 29 with 3 wickets. It has to be said that Nikunj had plenty of variety to his bowling with a new well disguised quicker bowl and a bowl that Neil termed the ‘Carrom Ball’. The skipper decided that brining the premier bowler Shivang on would tilt the game Birmingham Indians way as Neil pulled of a one handed catch off his own bowling to leave them 150 for 5. This nearly paid off as there hard hitting batsment Shak hit one straight up in the air towards Mid off which Hersal dropped. This was a crucial juncture in the game as at this point they would have been 155 for 6 however a succession of lusty blows from Shak and further dropped catches by Nikunj and Eddie ultimately cost us the game. Shivang being the unlucky bowler as 4 catches were dropped in his 2nd spell….In the end they scored 199 for 5 with 4 overs remaining. This was none the less a decent work out for the team and showed areas we need to work on as a team. I feel what cost us was the batting collapse with 5 or more batsmen not troubling the scorers, average bowling and at times shocking fielding.
Birmingham Indians: 196 all out 37 overs (Jaynesh 65, Nikunj 60, Neil 42, Shak 4-21)
Kings Heath: 199 for 5 (Rizwan 40, Nikunj 3-29)
Eddie Hulbert, Jaynesh Patel, Neil Budhia, Nikunj Patel, Harky Singh, Hersal Parmar, Krishan Patel,
Vikesh Chavda, Amar Budhia, Iman Singh, Shivang Patel.