Article - ROAD TO FINALS - Part 2
ROAD TO FINALS - Part 2 (nfcl)

3) Chillers CC
Match 1:
Gators forfeited their game. Chillers got 4 points.
Match 2:
Refer to match 3 of Tallahassee.
Match 3:
Chillers having lost their 2nd match completely to the hands of Farman, travelled to Savannah hoping for an away win. Savannah electing to bowl were wayward in the beginning with some great stroke plays from Chillers openers Gokul (19) and Malar (25). Hitesh came into picture and struck 3 wickets in quick succession, rash strokes from the batsmen. There was no real big partnerships developing in the Chillers innings. From 93/4 they completely collapsed to 99 all out. A typical poor display of batting. Requiring just 100, SCC was progressing decently with some resistance from Vikas (28). Bhagwant and Chandu bowled amazing spells and brought Chillers to a real possibility of win. They took 2 wickets a piece and left SCC clueless. Then Mihir and Rohit took them to victory, with 2 drop catches from Chillers. Job made easy and target reached. Hitesh was the man of the match for his 4.
Match 4:
Refer to Match 3 of Marianna's schedule
Match 5:
Gaining some confidence from MCC victory, Chillers faced JCF in a tense match. JCF won the toss and chose to bat. Survived some early swing from the bowlers, openers made a decent start. Chandu took a great return catch to dismiss Adrian (28) and cleaned up Harris next ball. From there JCF just kept losing wickets at regular intervals, Pinak the survivor stranded on the other end running out of partners. Pinak was eventually dismissed for 35. Some accelerating scoring from Imran (30) and other tail enders took JCF to 166. Requiring more than 5.5 runs an over, Chillers lost Gokul in the 2nd over. Malar and Bharat took them to a decent run before Malar perished at short mid-wicket. Bharat and Murli (23) then piled up the runs and duo added 85 runs, before cramps sent Murli back to the dug out, retired hurt. This gave an opening to JCF and they started claiming quick wickets. Then Hemant (22) played a superb cameo to take Chillers into the hands of victory. Bharat (86) took them home, with a composed innings. He was the man of the match for a brilliant innings in the chase.
Match 6:
Chillers faced DCC for the next game and victory was very essential. DCC elected to bat and got to a decent start with some inconsistent bowling by the new ball bowlers. But then the bowlers came back strong making batsmen clueless. DCC had a very poor strike rotation and their strike rates were very low. Faisal composed an accelerating innings and got them to a respectable 120. In reply, Malar got out early and from there Bhaumik (23) and Bharat (36) took over. They eased away with runs and once Bhaumik was out, Gokul took over in partnership with Arun. Needing 14 runs in the 24th over to get the bonus point, Gokul fired brilliant 4 and 6 and took them home with a bonus point and was rewarded with man of the match for his efforts.
Match 7:
Chillers faced FCC in their last game both needing a win. Whoever wins would take the playoff position. This was the last game of the season and a low scoring thriller. Electing to bat, they had a bad start with Gokul perishing to Abhi's flight and got stumped. Malar kept one side going but regular wickets fall with poor shot selection never kept their innings going. Malar (20) also perished mis-reading the line and losing his wicket. Arun (28) played some fantastic drives and cuts, before getting one on the pad playing across. The tail did not provide any resistance and the team made a mess of it with just 104 on the board. Upender bagged 4 wkts. In reply, Asad fell to the spin of Aditya and Vijay was trapped in front to the same bowler. Gokul took a great skier to dismiss Ram off Murli. Kotesh was the only guy who stayed with determination to win, but was witnessing tumbling of wickets at the other end. Aditya was the bowler who made that happen. He got rewarded with a hatrick for his excellent line and length. Bhagwant cleaned up Kotesh (22) stump and Bharat bagged the tail to give Chillers a bonus point win!! With a mere 105 to defend they came out all in for this must win and got there. Aditya, the hatrick man was the man of the day. As far as I know, this is the only hatrick in NFCL tournament history so far.
Chillers like Marianna, lost their first 2 eventual games and came back strong to finish 3rd in the standings.
4) JCF
JCF winner of last year winter tournament, started as one of the favourites with balance in their batting and bowling. They were expected to make it to the play-off this time as well. Lets see how they progressed.
Match 1:
Please refer to Match 1 under TCC
Match 2:
After a heavy loss against TCC, JCF were keen to get back to winning ways on a stronger fashion and they just did that in their match 2. Facing Savannah CC (SCC), they bowled first on a gloomy day. SCC had a decent start with their openers shaping off the new ball. But wickets fell at regular interval with the stranded batsman left alone on the other side Kaushal. Utpal, gave good company to him and they started piling up the runs. Once Utpal was dismissed, Kaushal (49) was all by himself and took them to a respectable 150. Almost everyone in JCF chipped in with wickets with Adrian and West being the pick of the bowlers. In reply JCF lost Pinak early in a mixup runout. But Adrian (41) and Harris (24) continued to score in quick fashion and they were well on course. Their fall didn't disturb JCF as Shabaka (31) and Nathan (21) continued to blow away the runs. JCF eventually ended up picking a bonus point and made the chase looks very easy. SCC bowling was wayward and inconsistent in their length and were taken for toss. Adrian bagged the man of the match for his all-round performance.
Match 3:
JCF started to take lot of confidence in their batting from game 2 which was a main reason for them to emerge victorious in game 3. FCC, electing to bat, made a great start with openers piling 72 in just 10 overs. Then Kotesh fell for 32. With no more major contributions from other batsmen, Ram took up the responsibility and crafter a 93 in his own style of aggression. Trying to get to a 100 in the finishing overs, he perished at 93 in the 29th over. JCF couldn't control the run flow and set themselves a target of 188. In reply, Rahim was dismissed cheaply for 0. But, Pinak joined Adrian and the dup added runs at run a ball rate before Pinak went back to pavilion for 30. Adrian carried on with a well compiled 70, thanks to the triple drop chance in field by FCC. Then it was left to the middle order to carry on in finishing the game and they reached the target with 6 balls to spare and 5 wkts in hand. Had FCC put up a good show on the field in their catching, the match could have been ended up with a different result.
Match 4:
Gators forfeited and JCF got 4 points.
Match 5:
JCF were definitely proving to be a stronger batting team and they carried on with another superb batting display in the 5th game. Opting to wear batting pads first against Deerwood, they just kept piling up runs. Rahim was once again a early failure. But from there it was all JCF and their bat making the talk. Adrian (81) once again amongst the runs and ably supported by Harris (33). Both fell to immediate deliveries, but captain Shabaka just stole the show with support from Nathan (24) from the other end. Shabaka smashed 44 in just 19 balls, with 3 sixes and fours. JCF made a mammoth 217 in their quota. As the score suggests, DCC were simply clueless for the strokes from JCF and leaked runs every over. In reply, DCC never looked in hunt for their target. They kept losing wickets and did not handle the swing of JCF's bowling. Sailesh (34) and Vijay Reddy (15), the only 2 batsmen showing resistance. DCC ended up to a 117 run defeat and handed JCF a bonus point and a huge boost to the NRR.
Match 6:
Refer to match 5 of Chillers.
Match 7:
Refer to match 7 of Marianna.
So JCF after losing their 1st, grabbed some huge wins and were surely into the playoffs at the end of their 5th. Lack of focus lost them the finals 2 games, yet they assured themselves a play-off spot number 4.
Below are the teams that progressed to the playoffs in this tournament:
(teams mentioned with Played, Win, Lost, Bonus, Points)
1. Tallahassee CC - 7    6     1     2     27
2. Marianna CC -    7    5     2     3     25
3. Chillers CC -        7    5     2     2     24
4. Jacksonville CF - 7   4     3     2     21
So the semi finals line-up was:
1) TCC vs JCF
2) Marianna vs Chillers
Semi Finals 1:
TCC hosted the semis as they topped the league and got their preference of choosing the ground. The hosts had a certain plan for the visitors and elected to field, and were straight away in action. By the 3rd over, they got both the openers cheaply. Then came a superb turnaround with Harris (64) and Pinak (41) taking charge on TCC bowling and scoring at run a ball. JCF were comfortably poised at 106/2 in the 18th, with some hard-hitting batsmen waiting to carry the innings. Then came the see-saw going down. Harris was dismissed by Baskar and a typical collapse. From 106/2, JCF just succumbed to 132 all out in 24.2. None of their batsmen showed responsibility in staying at the wicket and play the right shots. Maybe they were in a hurry to get back to Jacksonville. Ambrish claimed 4 wkts and TCC ended up happily with 133 as their target. With a hope of 133, TCC went in with some nerves and it showed straight away, with 4 wkts taker Ambrish dismissed for naught. Then Omar (19) and Farman (40) steadied the ship. Once Omar was dismissed there was no real support for Farman from the other end, but he tried to carry their innings on his shoulder. With score at 79, he also perished to Adrian, leaving TCC in a spot of bother with half the side gone. Then they got to 126 when Baskar was dismissed leaving them with 7 runs to get in 14 balls, Venroy held his nerve they got there in the 29th over. JCF couldn't grab that 1 wicket to turn the tense game their way. TCC survived the day with 1 wkt win. Farman was the man of the match.
Semi Final 2:
Marianna vs Chillers
As mentioned earlier, the tournament format was like 92 WC with everyone playing against other teams once. As 92 WC 2nd semi final was a sea-saw rain hit tense game, this semis turned out to be the same. Winning the toss MCC chose to bat on a gloomy day. Chillers were right on target claiming 3 quick wickets leaving MCC at 10 for 3. They again lost 2 wickets in quick succession to Bhagwant leaving the score at 32 for 5. Then Mehul joined Kinal and duo survived some terrific bowling spells from Chillers. They reached to 71 when Montu perished to Murli for 15. Then Kinal and Dhvanit carried the game till 107 before Dhvanit was bowled for 19. Then they lost the remaining wickets to the sheer pace of Bhagwant, who ended up breaking the stumps into pieces. MCC set a target of 117. 117 looks easy with Chillers batting?? It's not that easy of an equation. As the clouds covered up while starting to bat, Chillers wanted to be in line of D/L method in 12 overs, so they tried to start aggressive, but full credits to Marianna. They kept the pressure, line and length in the right place and got 2 quick wickets. Then Malar and Arun steadied and eased the nerves with some boundaries from Malar before becoming a soft dismissal victim to Paresh for 16. Arun and Murli joined together in an important partnership to be on track with D/L. MCC bowled good spells, where they dried up the runs. Just before the break at 15 overs when rain was threatening, trying to be on track for D/L, Arun was dismissed for 14. Chillers were on course with steady partnerships from there on, but rain rain go away was their only song for the day. The pressure of D/L lead them to lose wickets at regular intervals. Rain started pouring and play was stopped, after 30 mins play resumed. Chillers were soon on track with D/L in a span of 8 balls with contributions from Bhagwant (15) and Bhaumik (10). When rain started heavy again, there was more drama: Darshan claimed Bhaumik with a leg before, a close call at that moment, and here you go, rain started pouring again!!! With no further play possible Marianna were ahead in D/L by 2 runs!!! The whole match was full of action, drama, tension, yet there has to be a winner on a day and it was Marianna!! Unlucky to the team who exited the tournament in a wet fashion, but full credits to MCC for a splendid show after losing the 1st 2 games of the tournament and made to finals. Kinal and Bhagwant were awarded the man of the match.
The finals would be an interesting contest between 2 deserving teams who played outstanding cricket. TCC were clinical and held nerves in tricky situations and came up with performances from bat and ball. On the other hand, all of us should stand and applaud the efforts taken by Marianna to travel for all the games to Jax. That shows the passion for the game. Well balanced 2 sides clashing for the title, it should be a thrilling final. Hope the best team wins.
Last but not the least, there had been some outstanding performances in the tournament from various players but 3 awards - Best batsman, bowler and all-rounder had deserving candidates (league matches only).
Best Batsman - Bharat K from Chillers with 283 runs in 6 games at an avg of 71 with 3 50s
Best Bowler - Senthil R from TCC with 14 wickets in 7 games at an avg of 11 with two 4 wicket hauls
Best All - rounder - Bharat K from Chillers, apart from batting, he also took 9 wickets at an avg of 14.
Many congratulations to the award winners.
From NFCL EC and Chillers team,
Murlidharan V B 

You can also enter comments by CricClubs Login