Whalers CC vs Octopus CC, Barn Elms Sports Trust, 6th August 2023
Whalers have had a fantastic season so far with 6 great wins and after having completely decimated Quokkas with a 9 wicket victory, Whalers were up for the next challenge. This time they were facing the formidable Octopus CC(was established in 1947, which my Indian eyes couldn’t help but notice). Whalers have had too many games where they were forced to bowl first either by sheer luck or by sometimes the captain generously giving the opponents the option to bat because they were short. The Whalers captain was dead set to bat first on winning the toss, which eventually ended up happening.
Dean and Raman opened the innings for Whalers. The lefty-righty duo was met with a lefty-righty bowling combination(insert our battle will be legendary meme). The conditions were favoring the bowlers and the relatively slow outfield meant a frustrating start for the batsmen unable to settle down with those confidence boosting drives. Early in the spell the Octopus bowler bowled a surprising yorker to Raman which he couldn’t find the answer to and was clean bowled for 7. Amit, the skipper for the game came in at number 3 and started strong with a couple boundaries but in an awkward front foot misjudged the ball from the left handed pacer and was bowled out at 8. Fraser followed Amit on a very similar dismissal and Roland joined the party to what was turning out to be yet another Whalers collapse, which I must say had become surprisingly rare. Dean, who was looking in great touch, quickly followed after scoring 18. The scoreboard read 34-5 and our newcomer Karan was leisurely gearing up to bat next without any worry in the world. There were great efforts in the team trying best not to pressurize the new batsman by asking him to hurry. There were some “take it nice and slow, and try not to concede wicket” suggestions, I wonder if there was more emphasis on the first part of the sentence. Well, Karan came to the crease and was quickly dismissed for a duck. Whalers were down to 40-6 with Rohan and Paul at the crease. The Octopus had a bowler who bowled some very tempting deliveries trying to lure in the batsman and given the situation Paul and Rohan decided to take it easy and play sensible cricket. They steadily added 28 runs for the seventh wicket when Paul was dismissed for 13. Sangamesh joined Rohan in the effort to get to a fighting total. Rohan was having difficulty finding those initial boundaries and was running singles and doubles which didn’t look like he was enjoying the most. Amit, who was now umpiring, saw an Octopus bowler whom he remembered from a different club was completely fanboying over how great of an allrounder he was. Rohan decided to switch gears on hearing those praises and a few boundaries started to flow and Whalers finally crossed the 100 run mark. Rohan, looking well settled at this point, decided to just swing the bat on an extremely slow short pitched delivery which went up a fair amount and was well caught by the Octopus skipper. It was a well fought innings of 40. Sangamesh quickly followed Rohan and Nirmal’s 4 was the last Whalers boundary for the day. Kamal’s dismissal finished the Whalers innings at 110.
The Octopus were facing a comfortable total of 111 to chase in 35 overs. Sangamesh and Rohan started with the new ball. The Octopus openers took their sweet time to settle in letting Rohan bowl 3 back to back maidens in his first 3. 6 overs in and not having lost a wicket the Octopus openers began showing intent and picked up the pace. Nirmal and Amit came in to bowl and they were in for some sweetly timed boundaries until Amit gave Whalers their first breakthrough with Sangamesh making a big deal out of a dolly with a single handed catch. The second batsman quickly followed with an inside edge and it looked like Amit’s spell was giving Whalers a fighting chance. This misconception went for a toss when one of their well settled openers started punishing anything and everything that came to him. Whalers tried to play their trump card by bringing in Special K into the attack but to no effect and what looked like a blink of an eye and countless boundaries(not to mention some well practiced scoops) they quickly chased 111 in 17 overs with their star opening batsman top scoring with 91 runs. This match was a total opposite of the Quokkas game and there was an unusual popular consensus over skipping fines and going back home. I hope the Whalers come out stronger from this devastating loss as they face the Cricketers(pun intended in retrospective).
Match Report by Rohan Bhandari