Aug 14 2022, 02:00 PM EDT
|Date & Time||Aug 14 2022, 02:00 PM EDT|
In high spirits
With double victories, the boys were pumped up for the next games. The team chat and the general atmosphere in the dressing room really described the mood we were in. At the same time, we always had one eye on the matches next week. Cricket is a great leveller and the momentum could change pretty fast and before we realise what hit us, we could be licking our wounds. The coaches set out to work to channel the positive energies productively plugging the chinks in the Armor. Strengthening the middle order batting was our main priority along with a general sharpening of our strategies on the bowling front. The opening pair of Narine and Milind really showed their class and we were excited to see what they could offer going forward. With a lot of positivity and determination to keep the momentum going, we head to Howe athletic complex to face the formidable New Jersey Stallions.
Why do we fall?...
Confident Philadelphians unit went to the field in their first encounter against the New Jersey Stallions. We were prepared to prove a point to our detractors in the bowling friendly pitch of Howe Athletic Complex. We won the toss and elected to bat hoping to choke them under scoreboard pressure after putting up a competitive score. The star opening pair of Narine and Milind were dismissed early, forcing us to play catch up. Veqar fell soon after the twin blows with our batting line up in a panic contagion. It was left to Jonathan Foo and Chiru Bhatia to pick up the tab. Just when the partnership started showing promise, Chiru Bhatia was dismissed by an unfortunate run out. A horrible mix up done Chiru in. Jonathan Foo and Abdullah Syed curbed their flamboyant instincts, stitching a cautious partnership that took us to a position of some respectability. Jonathan Foo anchored the innings throughout with his 57 runs off 47 balls. We ended our 20 overs with a below par 124/7. It was left to our bowlers to punch above their weight in defending 124.
Our bowlers went for the kill early on. But New Jersey openers had answers for the questions posed by our bowlers during their opening burst. NJS ensured that no wickets fell even if it meant falling short of run rate. A 50-run opening partnership meant that the match was well within their grasp early on. Although we pulled it back slightly with a few good overs and a couple of wickets, 124 was never going to be enough. New Jersey Stallions romped home with an eight wickets victory with 2 overs to spare. The ghost of inconsistency came back to haunt us again as we head to the next game against Empire State titans. We've had the better of EST in previous encounters but we were in no mood for complacency as we headed to Exton Park
Empire State titans won the toss and elected to bowl. A decision that they would rue later given the batting friendly nature of Exton Park track. Milind and Narine set out to make amends for the failure of the previous game. Narine fell early on in the innings as the star of the previous game Jonathan Foo joined Milind Kumar. Foo set the ground on fire with lusty blows while Milind played the role of an anchor masterfully giving strike to Foo. The cameo was short-lived as Jonathan Foo was dismissed for 24 runs off 10 balls. Milind carried on with his merry ways as he has always done throughout the tournament with another Philly stalwart Chiru Bhatia offering the perfect support. Milind scored 68 runs off 40 deliveries with 5 huge sixes for which he would be adjudged Man of the Match. The young Anirudh Immanuel provided the final flourish taking the Philadelphians to a highly competitive 176/5. With the batting shrugging off the monkey of yesterday's game, it was left to the bowlers to complete the formalities with a comprehensive performance.
The bowling unit set out to work holding a tight line at the start not giving anything away. Pressure finally gave in as Keon Joseph scalped Van Tull. Couple of wickets fell soon after with Milind spinning a web to scalp Savan Patel. The game was far from over as Patton Jr. and Gauranshu Sharma provided the counter attack for Empire State Titans. But the Philly bowling unit firmly had a grip of the game. With incisive on-field strategies and penetrative bowling, wickets kept falling from one end as Gauranshu looked on from the other end. The over cautious approach meant the EST batsmen dug themselves a hole unable to catch up with the required run rate. The Philadelphians completed a comprehensive victory defeating Empire State Titans by 26 runs.
The Philadelphians once again showed chutzpah and its ability to rise again from adversity. While at times we felt it was Deja Vu after the first defeat, the boys showed character to get over the defeat overnight. A tough ask given the longevity of the tournament. The Philadelphians unit showed tremendous integrity and did not exhibit any sense of physical or mental fatigue. Milind was outstanding playing a captain's knock helping the team recover and also displaying on the feet thinking responding to changing situations in the course of the game. All credit to the coaches and mentors in helping to keep the momentum of last week's victories going and extracting the best out of each player in the squad. We are excited to see what Philadelphians can offer going forward in the next season and beyond. It has been a privilege to be part of this exhilarating journey to see our boys rising just when we thought it was all over. That phenomenon is a testament to the Philly spirit.
Let's go, Philly !!!!