MSUCC Matches/Events:

Vanderbilt University Cricket Tournament,06

Date: September 22-24, 2006
Venue:Vanderbilt Campus, Nashville

By Surya Saha

Once again the MSU Cricket Club (MSUCC) has triumphed over challengers from the South East region. MSU reestablished its supremacy in a well-contested and engrossing cricket tournament over 2 days at the Vanderbilt Campus in Nashville this last weekend. This mega tournament features some of the best teams from Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. We had Vanderbilt, Auburn, Tennessee Tech, UT Knoxville besides MSU participating in Vanderbilt University Cricket Tournament, 06. The players and the club had put in a tremendous amount of preparation for this event in the past few weeks and it was all worth it. MSU thrashed UA, Tuscaloosa two weeks back in the run-up to this tournament.

The tournament was almost rained out due to unexpected thunderstorms all across the Midwest but the weather cleared in time for the organizers to conduct a scaled down event. MSU started off the tournament on the wrong foot by losing the opening game to Auburn, a team we have beaten frequently in the past. The next game was against Vanderbilt, the hosts, who had the home ground advantage as well as a good reputation to boot. The Cricket Dawgs knew that this was a crunch game, which could knock them out of contention for the championship and unless they pulled out something really special out of the hat.

MSU bowlers started off with an accurate and deadly opening spell. They scythed through the famed Vanderbilt batting line-up. None of the Vandy batsmen was allowed to settle down and they kept losing wickets regularly. Kotesh and Dipesh bowled a splendid opening spell with Prabhu taking a blinder of a catch off Dipesh’s bowling. There was no respite for Vandy as Alok came in to bowl at the end and bowled a maiden for the penultimate over of the innings to restrict VCC to only 47 runs. The job was only half done as the MSU batsmen had to get used to the new field and overcome a tendency to collapse, something that had been plaguing them in the recent past. The opening pair of Dipesh and Prashanth kept Vandy’s front-line bowlers at bay and kept the scoreboard ticking with singles and doubles. Once the openers were dismissed, Prabhu and Alok came together to put together one of the most swashbuckling displays of attacking batsmanship seen in the tournament. Alok cleared the long straight boundary with two sweetly timed sixes and the two got MSU home with plenty of overs to spare.

The tournament was now interrupted by a torrential downpour which caused rest of the games in the day to be cancelled. The guys got some well-deserved rest back at the team hotel due to this break. The next morning was cloudy but encouraging since no more rains were forecast. The tournament layout was now changed by the organizers to allow for the time lost to rain. According to the new format, MSU were through to the semi-finals and would face Auburn again in what would be a grudge match. The MSU batsmen pulverized the Auburn bowlers this time with shots all over the ground to score 75. Once again Alok and Prabhu came together and did not allow any of the Auburn bowlers to settle down. Alok was in an especially destructive mood and blasted a few sixers down the ground. Sudhir also made some quick runs down the order. The Auburn opening batsmen came out with a tall ask in front of them. The pressure to score quick runs coupled with MSU’s incisive bowling made quick work of the top order. However, since the ground used for this game was small enough for even mishits to go for sixers, they were always in with a chance. The middle overs saw some good aggressive batting from Auburn, especially Prasanna, but they eventually fell well short of the target.

Vanderbilt, meanwhile, had defeated University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the other semi-final to set up an gripping clash of two of the best teams in the tournament. VCC were looking to avenge their opening round defeat from MSU. Meanwhile, MSU wanted to extend its fantastic away run so both the teams knew it would be a close contest.

MSU went in to bat first in the final of one of its biggest away tournaments in recent past. There was plenty of pressure on the opening batsmen, Dipesh and Prashanth, from the Vandy bowlers who employed a close cordon of fielders. They did well to keep the scoreboard ticking with well run singles and two’s. Prashanth has been one of the regular performers for MSUCC of late and he grabbed this opportunity with both hands to smash a huge six and a four. Alok was the next batsman in and he continued with the excellent form he had shown across the tournament. However, he got out against the grain of play going for another sixer. MSU then lost Dipesh who was trying to go after the bowling. This brought Prabhu and Nanda to the crease and they kept on steadily milking the bowling. The left-hand and right-hand combination proved to be a problem for the Vandy bowlers as they bowled a number of wide’s. Sudhir and Arun provided some fireworks in the last few overs with some well-struck hits to the fence to help MSU reach a respectable score of 81 in 12 overs. The VCC batsmen knew that they could win this tournament as they bat deep and have a lot of experience of playing on this field. Their opening batsmen, especially Tim, hit both Kotesh and Dipesh for clean sixers down the ground. Kotesh got the vital breakthrough with Tim edging the ball behind the wicket to Alok who made no mistake. Alok, it should be mentioned, has turned in a fantastic performance behind the stumps pulling off a number of great catches. None of the VCC batsmen could stick around in the middle overs for too long but they managed to keep on scoring runs at a healthy pace, notably Sreemant, despite excellent fielding by MSUCC. It all came down to the last few overs after a good spell during the middle overs by Prabhu. Alok, the captain, tossed the ball to Sudhir who bowled a tight penultimate over to leave VCC needing 10 runs from the last over. Alok now came in to bowl the most crucial over of the tournament. The first four balls resulted in only 2 runs but the fifth ball was hit for a six. Now it meant that VCC needed only 2 runs from the last ball to win the tournament. Even tying the game would mean a victory for Vandy as they had lost lesser number of wickets. Alok bowled a fast yorker that sneaked under the swinging bat of the VCC batsman and through to Prabhu, who promptly hit the stumps to run out the batsman. The whole MSU contingent erupted in wild and ecstatic celebration all over the field with that dismissal. Vanderbilt are a highly ranked team in this region and they had been beaten twice by MSU on their home ground.

The award ceremony brought further laurels to the MSU Cricket Club. A number of people turned in fabulous individual performances during all the games. Both Prabhu and Alok won Man of the Match trophies. Alok was the Man of the Series with a stellar bowling, batting and fielding display. MSUCC also blooded 5 debutants during this tournament: Phani, Sudhir, Chinni, Saurabh and Ananda. They all performed creditably and these players will be the mainstay of the MSU cricket team in the years to come. MSU Cricket Club would like to thank all our sponsors including Department of Recreational Sports, Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, Student Association and International Services for their support.

The MSU Cricket team consisted of the following players:

  1. Alok Singh(C)
  2. Prabhuram Jagadeesan
  3. Prashanth Duvoor
  4. Koteshwar Padamati(VC)
  5. Nanda Kishore Joginipally
  6. Dipesh Patel
  7. Phani Krishna Karnati
  8. Sudhir Koduri
  9. Arun Parupudi
  10. Surya Saha
  11. Saurabh Dayal
  12. Chinni Yalamanchili
  13. Ananda Kumaran