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Home > News & Events | Skipper's Semifinal Summary

Skipper's Semifinal Summary

Walt H. Rambaransingh | Date 01/01/70

As the sun set on Miramar Regional Park the season came to a jolting end for a talented Titans squad.  On that fateful Sunday, to look around at the hung heads and thoroughly desolate group sporadically spaced on the bleachers was surreal.  Not one man among them expected their season to end on that day, but yet it had.  Not one man wanted to lose in another semi-final and every man among them wanted to elicit victory over Port Saint Lucie CC.  A team is comprised of individuals and the result is a sum of their combined efforts.  I’ve opted to write this final match summary, quite probably my last game as a Captain in competitive cricket, to remind my teammates of a few things.  Let’s look a bit closer and let’s read between the lines.  Not everything is as it appears at first glance.

As of Thursday, after the selection call, Titans felt good about the impending match even though first teamers Tiki (out of town on business) & Phani (injury) were not in the mix.  Still, at that moment, the team maintained confidence in the balance of their attack.  I (Paul) had started to show promise with my bowling again, Krishna was in good touch with the ball all season, our three spinners in Sammy, Deo and Tanmay looked too much for any team to handle…and Bunny was a magical sixth bowler all season long.  However, by Saturday night we had learned that Sammy was to have emergency surgery and that Tanmay had injured himself.  This would certainly complicate matters on Sunday.

Sunday morning arrived.  A good vibe was present in the team, optimism and camaraderie in full swing.  Tanmay had strapped up both knees and was ready for action, Rakesh had qualified under rule 23b and was ready to give it his all for his team and both DK & Walt were ready to do their part for substitutions and off the field support.  I felt nervy given the bowling attack’s missing pieces, but I felt confident upon winning the toss that our batsmen would deliver enough runs to make that point moot.  I felt confident in the batting for the first time as a Titans Captain in the semifinals….I felt it was our strength on the day.  I knew that in Chuck, Prabu & Sunil we had experience and loads of runs if they got going.  I knew that in Bunny & Atul we had rising stars with the bat.  In Dalip, the best counter punch in the league on his day.  And in myself and Krishna the most solid lower middle order on offer.  Not to mention that we bat to 11 with Rakesh, Tanmay and Deo more than capable of producing strong cameos.  It seemed a strong batting card albeit missing Tiki. 

That was where the optimism ended and reality began to set in.  Chuck had been middling it nicely of recent  but got the yorker of the tournament to dismiss him.  Sunil never got going and that was a big loss as he was our leading run scorer for the season with over 400 runs.  Bunny and Prabu consolidated and just as Prabu seemed to be set…a case of bad timing hit the team hard as he mishit one and was caught at extra cover.  This was a major setback for the team as we all know that if you get  a start in the top order you must carry on to a 50 or 100.  Atul looked good from ball one and he and Bunny seemed to tease at a much needed partnership, but it was not meant to be.  Soon both we back in pavilion with Dalip and Krishna carrying the hopes of the team on their shoulders.  Krishna was unlucky with a questionable LBW decision after getting a start and although Dalip was the team’s 2nd highest run getter in the season,  he was bowled soon after  leaving the skipper and lower order with a lot to do.  In the end Titans were bowled out for 173 in 38.1 overs.  What had seemed  our strength turned out to be a dismal failure and we were going to have to bowl and field at a high level to defend such a paltry total on a fast outfield and decent batting track.

The team regrouped and gathered courage for the task ahead on the field.  The skipper took the new ball for over #1 (a risky move given recent history) and the start was picture perfect…over # 1…one wicket in the bag thanks to a good ball and great catch by young Atul at gully.  Over #2 from Krishna let the batsmen know the battle was on.  Over #3 an old nemesis returned…that of dropped catches.  Trini was let off at first slip…that was the first of 5-6 chances for him and he went on to contribute  the opposition’s top score of 44.  Some inspired bowling from Deo yielded chances but they were mostly not taken and so we gave the game to our opponents yet again….and they graciously accepted.  Tanmay was a fighter to the end, but he was not his usual self due to injured knees and Bunny was not quite up to the task of a full 5th bowler role on the day.  In the end, once again the seemingly better team had given the game away to lesser opposition.

All said, the positives of a good season, new additions, emergence of new talent and return of our depth players bode well for the future of the club.  We must remember that Rome was not built in one day.  We must remember why we lost…”catches win matches”.  We must resolve this issue and it will require roster changes, because catching is not just about fitness, skill but most importantly a player’s confidence and his mentality.  Winners take catches and losers go home blaming everything else.  That said, I saw enough as Captain in 2013 to feel confident about the future of the club.  I wish I could be there in the next 40 Overs competition…because I know how close we are as a team.  As our Vice Captain Chuck gears up for the his stint at the helm in the T20 I wish him well.  I also realize that several of our best players will represent India in the Classic, so my focus for the remainder of my term as Skipper will be to lead the team in our offseason fixtures, nurture our developing players and create a scenario where those players will challenge and push for first team spots in 2014.  Many of you know that I am keen to expand my family…so cricket next year is not on cards for me…I feel I will miss being a part of our first championship and believe it or not…it brings a wry smile to my face to feel that way.  It is and always will be an honor to be a Titan and play among such a passionate group of men.  My wife has stated “I will drop dead if I find you at home on Sunday”…my response was simply that “bribery won’t work”…lol.  As long as this club exists we must strive to play this game we all love with high intensity and love the game and each other especially in when the going gets tough.  Remember that cricket will be there for the future generations also…so take time to reflect on the lessons learned and share those with the eager and open minds of our youth and our sons…they are our future…and our lessons can serve to prepare them.  In closing, the emotional response to the loss by our manager Walt sums up the great sense of opportunity lost.  I thank him for making it easy for me to lead this year.  I hope that future leaders and players will repay the efforts of all Titans that came before them and one day fulfill our goal of becoming champions.