Every year in Software AG, a cricket tournament named CRICKETSHETRA is held. We were looking for the St. John’s grounds, Koramangala where previous year’s tournament was held. The ground needs to be booked a month prior because many other companies or other colleges book for the same. Luckily, somewhere in the first week of October, we got the ground for 14 November 2014. We sent out the survey to the employees and in a span of week, we had the list of people who wanted to participate in the tournament. After looking into the count, we randomly divided them into 8 teams with 12 players each. Every year we tend to do something different than the previous year, we (Employee Club members) decided to meet and discuss. After loads of discussion and options, we opted to have different colours caps for 8 teams.
In the meantime, teams started jelling up with their team mates and came back with their captain names and team names. I was a part of one of the teams i.e. Team 7. My team has couple of oldies and new players whom I haven’t interacted with. I self nominated myself as captain of the team as no one responded to the mails 😉 and I named the team as CRAZY 11. As days were passing by, cricket mania was taking people’s mind. Teams started going to practice by 4.30-5 PM. My team was still not active where no one showed interest in practising except couple of guys. At last one fine day, we all team mates met for a brief moment and discussed the game plan. Also discussed that we should go as a team to practice atleast once but as expected it went into vain. Also few of team-mates expressed to change the team name so I renamed it to SAG THUNDERBOLTS. There was something which I felt might go wrong or felt suspicious, so just to keep my mind calm I dropped a mail asking if someone is dropping out at 11th hour and quick came a reply from one of my team-mate who won’t b able to attend the match day. I thought, it’s ok we shall play with 10 guys in a team.
Finally, the Match day arrived and our team’s match was scheduled at 9.20 and team were informed to be atleast 20 mins before. I reached the ground around 8.45 AM. But as it’s customary in India that, time is never to be followed. It was around 9 that I started calling up my team-mates and to my horror they said they won’t be available for the match as their answers were something like “not ready”, “just woke up”, “leaving now”, “not well”, “doctor’s appointment” etc.. I don’t know which of the excuses are true but frankly speaking, I believed none. It was 9.20 and only 4 team mates were present on the ground. Call it high spirited or adamant, we wanted to play with 4-6 players. Luckily we lost the toss and opponent team opted to field. Haran and Naga went as openers from my team but bad luck was still lingering on our team and we lost the first wicket in the first over of the match. Saurabh was one of the key players of our team and he played in for couple of overs before he got out. We wanted to play all 8 overs and we did that and managed to get a defendable score of 66 with some late hitting by Haran. While play was in progress, we got couple of new players and late comers and joined in. We now had 10 players and it was up to bowlers to win the match and we did win with some strategically game of play. We pulled up a win and surprised everyone.
The next match was semi final which was scheduled at 2:40 PM and we were waiting for our opponents which will be decided in the last league match. We expected GANGS of SAG to take the fourth semi final spot and it happened as expected. The first semi final was between SAG RIDERS v/s SAG WARRIORS. Warriors were more balanced team than their opponents and they won comfortable chasing the score. We (Azhar and Me) were the captains of GANGS of SAG and SAG THUNDERBOLTS respectively. Azhar won the toss and elected to field first. We were happy to bat first and piled up a huge score of 100 in 8 overs. We knew that the score could be chased easily as they had good strikers of the ball but we bowled to our plan which was not to give anything leg-side. And we got the desired result i.e we won against the last time champions. The match was set for the finals against SAG WARRIORS v/s SAG THUNDERBOLTS.
We were high in confidence and wanted to win this badly. We won the toss and elected to BAT as it was working for us. We started very well and put up a score of 101 runs at the end of 8 overs, thanks to Surajit who played a gem of an innings. SAG WARRIORS were awarded 10 runs as bonus as per one of the rules wherein if a lady is in playing XI and the opponent doesn’t then team which has lady cricketer gets bonus runs. So it was 91 runs for us to defend. We were bowling well and keeping them at bay which pulled us close to be the champions. But as they say in cricket, nothing is over until the last ball is bowled. We were in such situation where in 29 runs were required in last over. We thought we have it from here but what followed shook us. One of our surprise bowler (aka PUNEETH) gave away too many wides and boundaries. It all came down to 9 runs in 3 balls, yes you heard it correct. 20 runs were scored in last 3 balls, we were dumbstruck at this. We quickly gathered and gave encouragement to the bowler. The penultimate ball of the match brought us a wicket of one of the key player of the opponent team which brought was a big relief. They still needed 7 runs from 1 ball and we told the bowler, it’s ok to bowl as he feel because even if he hits for a six, it doesn’t matter. It was a dot ball and we were jubilant with the result. We are the NEW CHAMPIONS, it felt great having won the tournament from a nowhere team to top team in the tournament. Everyone was surprised and happy seeing us win the tournament. Even though we weren’t strong team of the tournament but still managed to clinch the title and display great dedication, passion, strategy and grit, which yielded great results.