By Rakesh Nambiar
With plenty of showers in the forecast (which proved wrong in the end!), RCC 1 won the toss and elected to field first. RCC 1 started off very well with both opening bowlers Rakesh and Govind restricting Oxenford to less than 3-per-over in the first 20 overs. Govind went on to finish his spell, bowling 15 overs on the trot and taking 3 wickets in the process, another impressive performance following his MoM spell last week. When it looked like Oxenford would settle for an average total, Vijay (60) came in and started taking the attack to RCC 1. He hit some big shots towards the end of the innings going after Rakesh, in particular, in his second spell and it took some brilliant bowling by Lucky and an excellent running catch by Saurabh to finally send him back to the pavilion. With the momentum back in the innings, Oxenford finished well to post a competitive target of 174. In response, RCC 1 opened their batting with Saurabh and Anand, with captain Martin volunteering to go lower down the order to give the youngster Anand a chance to showcase his batting skills. Both openers started cautiously negotiating some good swing bowling by Oxenford. With the run rate around 3-per-over, which is quite unusual by recent RCC 1 standards, Saurabh decided to break free and play his shots. He hit some good boundaries before he was out caught behind. What we saw next was a mini batting collapse as Sandeep and Lucky were out in quick succession. Romi (45*) went in next and started rebuilding the innings along with Anand who was still batting patiently at one end. Anand was finally out in the 25th over, trying to force the run rate. With the game hanging in the balance, RCC 1 needing around 100 in 20 overs, Rakesh went in next. But he didn’t last long at the crease and was bowled off a dipping low full toss. Mansoor missed out as well and was caught soon after trying to go after the bowling. Oxenford’s tail was now up and were sensing a win, Martin (47*) went in next and looked positive at the crease from the start. With some fine stroke making by Martin and a patient supporting role played by Romi, the partnership flourished and the game started swinging towards RCC 1. Martin and Romi still at the crease, RCC 1 needed 5 runs off the final over and the tension in the dressing room was eased only when Romi hit a boundary off the third bowl to bring the scores level. A single in the next bowl off a misfield completed a remarkable nail-biting victory for RCC 1. What an excellent game of cricket!