Match Report by Bryan Caine
Following the great success and fun of last year’s Philadelphia tour, Columbia returned to the City Of Brotherly Love this past weekend. Unfortunately, everything did not go as planned, with Saturday’s opposition dropping out only five days before, and a handful of players changing their commitments.
On Saturday, six players traveled to Philadelphia anyway. Bryan was picked last minute to play with the NY Kookaburras at the historic Philadelphia Cricket Club, while others took in a bit of the game, explored Center City throughout the day, and joined the Kooks for a social event in the evening.
On Sunday, 10 Columbia players arrived at Philadephia CC, the ground drenched in sunshine and poised to play well. Columbia won the toss and chose to bat first in a 35 over contest. Amit and Ajay opened the scoring campaign with a 37 run partnership in 9 overs before Ajay fell to a stumping. Khurram started well but fell for 6 after a brilliant catch by the PCC fielder. Ratesh’s long awaited return to Columbia was a great success, scoring 33 off 46 balls before being run out. Opener Amit retired on 51, per friendly ground rules. Sid batted well for his 18 off 32 and Bryan was run out for just 1 after some confusion running between the wickets. The tail would wag, though, with Saurabh, Anantha, Ash Patel, and Partha swinging for the fences in the last 4 overs and adding 28 runs. Columbia batted safe most of the day, keeping the run rate slow, and finishing on 174 for 7. Columbia went into lunch at full confidence.
The bowling innings started ominously, though, with the first over going for 15. Adjustments were made quickly and three wickets fell in the next 5 overs, 2 from Ash Patel and 1 from Saurabh. The next 3 batsmen proved the most difficult, holding a steady guard and taking advantage of their opportunities. Also in this period, Partha & Saurabh were called for chucking, adding valuable extra runs for PCC and disturbing the bowling order plans. Sid was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets while Khurram, spinning the ball square, got two batsmen caught behind by keeper Bryan. Saurabh and Ratesh also took good catches to dismiss set batsmen.
In the end, PCC chased the total in just 30 overs for the loss of 8 wickets. They were aided by a disappointing deluge of wides and no balls, 40 total in the match.
Any match in such pristine conditions is an honor and a privilege for those of us used to NYC grounds and the PCC hospitality is legendary. The teams enjoyed a full service lunch at the mid-innings break and the keg was flowing immediately after the last ball. Thanks to all who participated.