It was pouring heavily on 22nd October evening, here in Chennai. Unexpected was the disappointment of a bunch of gladiators (Class of 2011) , given the relief that the soothing drops of rain bring from the Chennai’s heat. But the situation was not that abstract for those who understand the cricket fabric of India and the competitive spirit of Great Lakes. It was the evening before the much awaited Alumni Vs Gladiators Cricket tournament and “by God” the mood was intense.
It was 9:30 pm in the evening that we confirmed that the match is on and the teams shall reach Mayajaal Cricket Ground by 8 in the morning. The Alumni Committee had everything under control right from the very beginning as the teams reached well in time. The gladiators were split into two teams to create a round-robin tournament with one alumni team fighting it out for the trophy.
Gladiators B vs Alumni
The first match was played between team B and the alumni. The alumni team batted first and had a bad start with Sidharth Bose disturbing the timber in the very first over. The commentators took over the stage with Rahul Pearce of the Gladiator batch alongside Manu Khanna picked up some smart ones on players from either teams in their quintessential style. The bilingual commentary was a real showstopper and entertained the audience and players alike.
Meanwhile, recovering from a slow and shaky start, the Alumni team fought back and ended with a score of 80/8 in the allotted 16 overs. Mahesh topped the runs with a valiant 26.
The gladiators B team came all guns blazing with Sunil and Agastya hitting the bowlers all over the park. It was only after a quick fire 22 that Sunil got out to a miscued shot caught at Long off. The fate of the match however was already sealed and Agastya top scored with 31* to take his team through.
Gladiators A Vs Gladiators B
Now this was more than just a cricket game. It was a culminating battle of the intense practice sessions, team formation negotiation and flexing competitive tactics that enclosed the campus for the last 15 days.
Carrying forward their innings from the last match Agastya and Sumit opened the innings for Team B who chose to bat after winning the toss. The competitive spirit was overwhelming. Right from the very first ball, the bowlers were throwing canons while the batsmen were aggressive in their approach. Agastya was removed early followed by Sunil who got out to a brilliant run out by Kartik which was reflective of the great ground fielding on show by Team A. What followed was sheer domination by Sumit, as he went onto make a fine half century before getting out to Akshay on 51. Abhimanyu played a sensible knock of 32 as Team B finished at 111/7 largely due to some tight bowling in the end by Team A bowlers.
Team A started on a positive note in the first over but soon received a set back in the form of Akshay’s wicket. The bowling of team B was accurate and the slow outfield was making it exceedingly difficult for the batsmen to score fast. It was in their endeavor to push the run rate, that batsmen from Team A kept on loosing their wickets. Nitin was the only batsman who was standing between Team B and victory with a gritty innings thus far. The match got really interesting in the penultimate over with a flurry of runs bringing the runs required to 10 from the last over. The first three balls fetched 4 runs as Sathya took strike with Nitin waiting on the other end. He missed the 4th ball, only to get out on the next ball. Chan faced the last ball as Team A needed six runs. Sunil, bowled the last ball outside the off stump and Chan gave it a wild swing, only to miss and find the ball safe in the hands of the wicketkeeper. It was all over, as Team B celebrated a brilliant win over the rivals. It was a scintillating match.
It was lunchtime and the players were joined by many of their friends coming from the campus to see the match. The lunch was delicious as the hard-work for the day got rewarded with some great food. As the players returned they found senior faculty member, Professor TN Swaminathan and Placement Director, T Madhumohan alongside MrPrabhakar, GM, Academic Administration cheering them up for the last match between Team A and Alumni.
Team A vs Alumni
It was time to keep the disappointment of the last match behind as both teams took to the field. Winning the toss, Alumni decided to put Team A into bat. It was rough start, which only got some stability in the second half of the allotted 12 overs. Manish Jairath made an impressive 22 runs to steer the innings to a respectable score of 80 runs in 12 overs.
The alumni team didn’t start well either. But Vivek played a brilliant innings of 37 to take the match in the grip of the alumni team by the end of the 9th over. The 10th over incepted a change of fortune with 17 runs needed of three over’s Vivek got out to an inviting delivery from Nitin. The Alumni team struggled after his departure and ended up at 77 runs due to some fine bowling by VarunKapoor and other Team A bowlers. Team A won the match sealing a runner’s up position for them.
The prize distribution ceremony was presided by Prof Swaminathan and he commended the players for a great show. He deservedly appreciated the organizing efforts of the Alcom and that of the alumni in particular to spare their time for this wonderful day. Kartikkannan, the President of the Great Lakes Alumni Association was very happy with the day’s proceedings and received a huge applause as he announced Goa as the next venue for the All India Alumni meet in Feb 2011. Next in the list of achievers were Prof VaidyJayraman and Jagdish Kumar who were the umpires for the day. All the captains thanked Jagdish for taking time out from his busy schedule and officiating the match in such immaculate fashion.
Next, was the picture clicking session! The captains collected their mementos from ProffSwaminathan, followed by their respective teams. The day ended with great relief and joy, something that only cricket can stimulate in a country that swears by this game.
Till next time…Adios