If I continue eulogising about PPCC’s great talent Tejas Thakkar I fear I may end up writing his autobiography.
From last week’s sunny sub continental conditions this week’s game was more Headingley than Hambantota
The teams were greeted were grey overcast conditions and with another strong bowling line up at his disposal you guessed it the unpredictable Priory captain Sandeep Nair decided to bat!
Whether this was a tactical decision or peer pressure from his team resenting 3 hours in the field in cold conditions we will never know
With the early loss of Punit caught behind there were those in the team already sharpening their knives to criticise such an audacious decision to bat. Priory’s captain however had a knowing look on his face.
Tejas is in the form of his life and in this mood he can bat anywhere in the world on any track. He batted very maturely as Elthorne’s accurate seam bowlers caused problems with away swing backed up by some tight fielding. Tejas was joined at the crease by Priory’s very own ‘the wall’ Vijay Jani. Vijay sets his own tempo and gets into a zone that the modern blockers of our time Dravid, Kallis and Cook would be proud of. He simply switches off everything else going on around him whether it be Tejas blazing blade at the other end or the yawns from the crowd watching his masterful forward defence. Priory could not be more grateful as Vijay allows the rest of the team to bat around him to create a perfect careful and carefree combination
Tejas and Vijay’s partnership really set the tone for the innings, Vijay rotated strike whilst giving several of their fielders sore hands. Tejas lusciously stroked away in imperious fashion, hitting the gaps and utilising the short boundaries to his advantage. Priory are in such confident mood these days they lent one of their promising young talents, Anish to the opposition. He bowled tidily with a great deal of promise but was unfortunate to be bowling to Priory’s man of the moment. He did have his Priory hat on when dropping a couple of tough chances in the field, most notably that of his Dad Harish. Some felt he was after an above inflation pocket money rise
Tejas and Vijay had seen off Elthorne’s main bowlers and their back up bowlers did not have the same penetration or movement. With a base set the captain wanted to up the tempo on what was probably the flattest and most even paced pitch we have seen this year. A hundred was on for the masterful Tejas however he went for one stroke too many and was finally caught out. This was a man playing for the team and not for individual records. Vijay continued to bat like it was his last innings, the defiant Jani refused to give his wicket away and never looked in trouble
The game was now into cameo season requiring some hard hitting batsmen. Gaurav and Harish played flashing knocks of 21 apiece to increase the run rate. The running between the wickets throughout both innings was something to be admired. Both teams had real purpose and it is obvious that the advent of T20 and more short form games than ever is really influencing cricketers all over the land
Both these power players took the game to Elthorne who were terrified of Harish Hambo’s new Rambo weapon of a bat
Further camoes from Sandeep, Sid and Vasa all batting around the resolute Vijay led to a strong total of 210 from 35 overs. Runs on the board with scoreboard pressure, the critics had been silenced. The question was whether it was enough on glorious batting pitch with small boundaries. Could the bowlers and fielders match the continued consistency of Priory’s batting this year
Kuni and Junior were given the new ball and rose to the challenge. Kuni was a man possessed today as he marked his run up with absolute precision. This is a man who clearly loves to bowl, something to behold in today’s batsmen friendly era. Both new ball bowlers bowled accurately and Kuni continued his luck from last week with a wicket from a full toss. This was the only lucky aspect of Kuni’s spell as he charged in picking up a further two wickets and what bizarrely should have been a fourth overall but for the superglue like bails not falling off after a Kuni inswinger. Elthorne was all at sea to Kuni’s aggressive attack and Junior’s accuracy. Junior was unlucky to pick up wickets at the other end
Elthorne were three cheap wickets down but there was always going to be one key partnership. Two experienced players with clear acumen of the situation decided to counter attack. Priory were caught by surprise. The game was drifting away with an easy win around the corner and perhaps Priory are only at their best with their backs to the wall or when the going is tough. The change bowlers Vasa and Hitesh bowled a few looseners to which they attacked as well as a final assault on Junior’s last few overs.
The game had changed but Priory had not changed with it. The match could have been finished by 6pm but for a flurry of glorious opportunities missed in the field. As Elthorne chanced their arm, good balls were being edged to the boundary, cheap singles were being taken and most crucially catches were dropped. Both players were dropped before making a real impact off Vasa’s bowling. Further more difficult chances were also not taken and the pressure told when Priory started to concede overthrows
The momentum changed dramatically with a bowling change. The pacy and bouncy Gaurav was brought into the attack to rustle a few feathers and try and hustle the players out with a line that usually heads towards the batsmans chest. His sheer strength in upper body got one of his short balls to rise and steal an edge off Elthorne’s set batsman. The game had changed again and this was the wake up call Priory needed to sense victory was again within their grasp. Sandeep’s bodyline tactic had worked and in Gaurav he had a bowler he knew exactly how to implement the strategy
Still Elthorne slogged away and the captain thought he may be able to buy a wicket by bringing on the medium pace of Sid. If it worked it would have been a masterstroke however the batsmen took a liking to Sid’s bowling and took 31 runs off his two overs to swing the game back in the balance. However Sandeep had one trump card left to play. The Ace in his pack
Elthorne had little idea that Priory’s opening batsman Tejas could also bowl a bit! Not just bowl a bit but come on and kill a game off by bowling Yorkers at ease. From a bowlers perspective this is a difficult art, missing your length can result in a full toss and easy runs but suc is the confidence of the man he gambled and won. A wicket every over consigned Elthorne to defeat despite the lone efforts of their brave number three who looked the part with the bat but simply ran out of partners as Priory targeted one end. With rallying calls from Priory’s big allrounder H after every over the team were finally in the groove in the field and would not let up. Elthorne’s chance of an excellent run chase had gone
Priory realised their chance of a famous victory, their first ever against this opposition who had become something of a bogey team. With form and momentum behind them Priory can now look to embark on an unbeaten run that will take them long into this wonderful season of cricket
Man of the match was the man for all seasons. Need I say more…