Defending champions United Club defeated Town Club under lights at the DSA Stadium by 3 wickets on Sunday evening to retain the 2nd Narayan Paul Memorial Super Division Cricket Tournament 2020-21. Town Club lost their opening batsman Adarsh Thakuri(2) after being put in to bat and rebuilt with a healthy partnership between opener Subham Mandal (26) and Yasir Ali (51) before the former perished to a soft dismissal lobbing a ball at a comfortable height to the highest wicket-taker of the tournament, off-spinner Fajlur Rahman.
Yasir and number four, Mujibur Ali (17) batted sensibly before the left-arm spinner Nirjhar Das went through the highest runscorer of the tournament Yasir Ali immediately after the drinks break. That brought captain Samik Das to the crease and he played a gem of an innings with wickets falling around him. Mujibur was soon after trapped in front by the left-arm spinner Abhay Yadav.
The Town Club innings could never gather momentum after that and the United Club bowlers were all over them like a rash. The bowling was accurate and the spinners strangulated the batsmen. There were no notable contributions from Krishanu Dutta (3), the U-16 captain Abhishek Deb (6) and the hard-hitting Rahul Karan (3). Captain Samik (38) tried his best to provide the batting display with some impetus but found no support at the other end. He refused singles towards the end and faced the lion’s share of the last 3 overs. He hit the most sizzling shot of the afternoon that saw the pacer Pradip Sarkar travel over midwicket for 6.
Thanks to that critical innings Town Club got to 162 in their allotted 40 overs. The offspinner Sukanta Dey (3 for 34) controlled the middle overs and Pradip(3 for 26) bowled well in his second spell. Captain Masarob Hussain was aggressive throughout and United Club never let the game get away from them.
In reply, the defending champions lost their opener Pradip (6) who mistimed a good length ball from pacer Dibakar Johri and skied the ball to Subham Mandal at mid-off. Sukanta, in at number 3, was watchful and steadied the run-chase with Man of the Match Raju Das (50) who played some delightful shots en route to his half-century. A spark of sheer brilliance would end the partnership. Captain Samik Das took a one-handed screamer at first slip, the ball landing right in the palm of his right hand after taking a sharp edge from Sukanta’s blade off the left-arm spinner Sudarshan Sinha’s bowling.
It was truly magical-a reflex catch of a lifetime for Samik and also for the audience. Prasenjit Sarkar (10) was looking good before playing a false shot straight back to Yasir, who could do no wrong tonight. Soon after Raju was adjudged LBW after missing an inswinger from Captain Samik. United Captain Masarob (15) walked in and lived dangerously after surviving two missed runout opportunities. He built a crucial partnership with Anubhav Sinha (28) who played one of the most gritty innings under pressure you will see.
Barring the cracking off-drive past point off Samik’s bowling, he was content with the 1s and the 2s. The pacer Santanu picked up Anubhav, Captain Mosarob, and Fajlur (a brisk 11) keeping Town Club in the contest. The asking rate never crossed 7 but United Club was losing wickets. Abhik Lala (11) who came to the crease at the fall of Fajlur’s wicket combined with Anubhav to take United Club close to their target of 163. The left-handed Abhay walked out at No.9 with 6 to win off the last over.
The left-arm pacer Mujibur conceded a single off the first ball to bring the new man Abhay on strike. Sudarshan Sinha, who was so good with ball in hand, put down a sitter at midwicket shattering all hopes for Town Club. Lala came back on strike as the batsmen scampered through for a single and deservedly hit the winning runs-a a gorgeous boundary past deep midwicket to complete a memorable win for United Club.
After a dreadful 2020, cricket offers solace to people in agony. The floodlights offer a welcome break from our mundane existence.
Look forward to an action-packed season ahead!!!!!