Columbia vs Hoboken Friendly – Match Report by Nikhil Kumar
STAGE: You can never go wrong on a decision of playing cricket on a crisp spring morning. While winter and spring still playing hide and seek this Saturday the day of March 31st was as good as it gets. A light breeze and a mellow warm weekend was setting the perfect stage for Columbia’s season opener at home on a fast Kurt green VCP outfield. It was an amazing group of young 24 lads out in whites and on time. Both Columbia and Hoboken team players started warming up to get ready for game. About 40 minutes of warm up and toss led to Columbia batting first.
OPENING ACT: The openers Yousuf and Sarim took on the pitch. Both openers were watchful of VCP’s uneven bounce with Yousuf managing to take lions share of the facing the balls from Hoboken’s opener Dimitry and Patel. Dimitry started on a tight line and length with only 1 run in opening over. At team score of 14 and into 4th over Patel struck Sarim out LBW for just 1. With Sarim back it was now Achal and Yousuf. Both batted with steady pace where Yousuf picking singles and boundaries at will. For Achal he opened with a beautiful on drive for a 4. Before Hoboken realized what happened Achal sent one for MAXIMUM for Columbia’s first home six. Chugging along at a rate 6 rpo Hoboken got the breakthrough in 11th over when their first change bowler Rohit cleaned up Achal’s off-stump on a low one, Columbia was 64/2.
Yousuf was playing in zone, that’s such a wonderful situation to be in. He was joined by Balwanth and as if it was Goldilocks for Columbia. Boundaries were coming fast and freely with Hoboken bowlers no clue of what to do. Balwanth was playing leg glances only to remind you of Sunny or Azhar and Yusuf beast mode was no less than Kohli. Balwanth deliver a boundary and a SIX in a over only to be followed by a MAXIMUM by Yousuf in next. Columbia was coasting at 109 in 15th over when Cricket Gods told us they have a different plans. A hesitation led to a mix up in running between the wickets and boom, Balwanth was runout. Columbia was 109/3.
Yousuf was calm and collective at other end and was joined by smiling Sid. Hoboken had now their best bowlers bowling from both ends to control run flow. Sid was out LBW on the first ball for naught by Karthik. 109/4 and Shifan walks towards the pitch. Shifan was careful and aggressive at same time punishing the lose deliveries.
POST DRINKS: Shifan quickly went on to 12 and hit the first ball of 18th over for a huge SIX of first ball of Karthik’s first over after drinks. Shifan was oozing with confidence and went for a predetermined slog sweep of Karthik’s Yorker only to find himself listening to the timber behind. Shifan made quick fire 18. Just like Yousuf, Karthik was in zone. Karthik welcomed Nikhil with a well bowled Yorker and then bowled him with a in swinging off cutter that nipped in more than a foot with slight inside edge on the way to stumps. In the very next over Sarvan was bowling and Yousuf made his FIFTY. Then Yousuf went for glory and Sarvan got him bowled middle stump. Just like that Columbia lost 4 wickets in 4 overs and were reeling at 122/7 in 19 overs.
Just like that it was Aditya and Abdullah on crease for Columbia. Aditya took a cautious approach and started covering the line of the ball more watchfully. He took the next over from Karthik easy. Sarvan followed suit. Sarvan bowled Aditya on a beautiful inswinger for 10. Abdullah didn’t troubled the scorers and was bowled on a unplayable outswinger off Sarvan. Columbia 162/9.
TEMPEST: Columbia was down to their last 2 wickets (12 player game). With Manish and debutant Sam on the wickets Hoboken was thinking for a shorter outing under the sun. Who knew Manish and Sam had other plans for them. Both started rebuilding the innings as if nothing happened and as if they were opening the innings. Steadying the innings in the tempest brewing the storm of their own. Once their eyes set in and the tired arms of Hoboken bowlers rendering the bowling toothless Manish and Sam started scoring freely. Singles, boundaries and Gargantuan SIXES were all over the VCP. A great display of pure master class batting. A beautiful wisden rated 65 runs partnership to finish allocated 35 overs for 227/9.
SECOND INNINGS: After the lunch break and warm up Columbia took on the field. Hoboken opened with Clarke and Batsman#2. Sam was the opening bowler of Columbia. Opening over went for six runs which included a beautiful cover drive boundary off Sam. Aditya bowled the second over. Early season rustiness could be seen with him bowling 4 straight wides. He recovered well in same over and got Clarke out LBW for a naught. Hoboken were 10/1.
Dharmin came in to bat at three. He was scoring swiftly and freely dealing Sam and Aditya boundaries and MAXIMUMs at will, cover drives, on drives, straight drives, square cuts, pull, and more. Columbia was generous with extras. Sam cleaned up Batsman#2 on a beautiful fast incoming Yorker. Hoboken 34/2 in 5 overs.
Parikshit took the onus of stopping Dharmin’s onslaught. Pari came in as Columbia’s first change bowler replacing Sam and Manish replaced Aditya. Manish couldn’t find his rhythm at all. On other end it was great display of bowling batting contest. Pari varied line, length, speed to Dharmin to an extent that even though Dharmin has quick 50 and just when it seemed game is over, Pari frustrated Dharmin. Yorkers, slow balls, short balls, ball with no room to play shots and finally the reward, Dharmin scooped a sky high catch to Yousuf on Parikshit’s ball. Hoboken suddenly 94/4 in 14 overs.
FINALE: Sarvan and Karthik steadied Hoboken innings and started scoring at will rotating strikes and boundaries every now and then. Contributions through extras were more than you might give away to charity. Sam was brought back into attack and after some rest in second spell he was deadly. He bowled dangerous Sarvan and Yousuf had Karthik LBW. After this it was just formality. Sam, Yousuf, Parikshit, Aditya and Sarim took each of the remaining wickets thus wrapping Hoboken at 185 in 30 overs.
Columbia won by 42 runs.
SILVER-LINING: Columbia won this a as full team effort. The biggest reason Columbia could win this was we had a exceptional day at field. Columbia didn’t drop any catch. While Yousuf caught a sky high catch, Sarim showed glimpse of Johnty Rhodes by catching a blinder diving to his right and completing the catch in left hand on rebound. Columbia saved more than 20 boundaries with Nikhil contributing by saving more than a dozen boundaries out in field. A wonderful team effort and well led bunch by Parikshit, Pari-Boys.