By Lokeshwar Bandhu
The most anticipated match of the season began with the threat of rain forecast. Radley was sitting comfortably at the top of the table and Risinghurst needed favorable result in every match to topple them. More importantly Risinghurst was determined to beat Radley at their home ground, a fotress that Risinghurst hasn’t been able to breach in recent times.
Govind, on behalf of Martin, won the toss and elected to bowl first. Radley openers were scrutinized by Rakesh and Govind beating both edges repeatedly, finally Govind got the first breakthrough. After watching the customary drop from fielders on his bowling Rakesh decided to take matters om his own hand and castled the stumps of the other opener. The menacing spell from Govind continued at the other end bringing four wickets in total. Sourav and Lucky took over the bowling as Radley was looking to rebuild after the opening spells. Some lusty boundaries from Ali forced Martin to bring JT in place of Sourav and he delivered immediately. JT cleverly varied his length and foxed one to find the timber. Meanwhile, Lucky got Atif and wrapped up the innings in the final over by trapping Ali before the wickets.
Risinghurst started their chase in emphatic fashion, both Saurabh and Martin were severe on any loose balls. Martin stuck to his gameplan and continued attacking Ali through an exhibition of cover drives. Saurabh motored along with characteristic cuts and powerful lofts down the ground. A century stand between the two deflated Radley and they threatened to run away with the game when Martin had a lapse in concentration and handed Atif a simple c&b just falling short of a half-century. Sandeep joined Saurabh in the middle and calmly settled into a solid innings, while Saurabh peppered the leg side boundary with a range of pull shots against the spinners. Suddenly, the clouds grew darker and definite rain forecast created a panic in Risinghurst dressing room – which was further aggravated by Saurabh’s departure. Romi was trusted with his power hitting ability to finish the game before rain, but he fell short in search of quick runs. Sandeep anchored the ship while Lucky was fortunate to get away with some air-borne shots before some sanity settled in – both brought Risinghurst to the shores without any further damage. The rain and storm never arrived on the day but Risinghurst certainly did.
MOTM – Saurabh for a well measured innings.