Constrasting tales of two captains on a typical rainy Bengaluru day

Veda Krishnamurthy and Prathyusha C having a discussion. © Women's CricZone/Gomesh S

If there was ever a day that summed up Bengaluru climate, it was Wednesday (January 6), day three of the Falcons Golden Jubilee T20 Tournament. It was drizzling at one minute and not the next, gloomy in a moment and the sun was scorching in the next. And this went on in a loop throughout the day. Just like the contrasting climate, Veda Krishnamurthy and Prathyusha C, the skippers of Ameya Sports and KiNi RR Sports respectively had very different stories to tell at the end of the day.

The day started with a slight drizzle, and the toss was delayed, due to dampness in the pitch. Ameya skipper Krishnamurthy won the toss opted to bowl. Before the start of innings, she could be heard saying to her team in the huddle that their seamers have to do well for them to win this match. She wanted them to attack the stumps consistently. They aimed to restrict the KiNi to a total that is less than 100.

However a confident start by Vanitha VR, who scored 48 in the previous match, saw Akanksha Kohli being smashed for three fours in the second over, which turned out to be the only one she bowled in the match.

The Ameya bowlers then dragged the game back, thanks to an economical spell by Pranavi, who gave away just 16 in her four overs. After 18 overs, KiNi were struggling to get going at 107 for four. But both Anuja Patil and Sahana Pawar bowled in the slot to Arundhati Reddy and Prathyusha, as a result of which, in the last 12 balls, Ameya conceded 33 runs.

Understandably, Krishnamurthy was not impressed. In the post-match presentation, she acknowledged that their bowling in the last two overs made a difference in the game.

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“If you bowl like that in this kind of wicket, later on, it is always going to be pressure scoring. I don’t think any of our bowlers bowled well apart from Pranavi, who did a good job. Nikki (Prasad) bowled really well. Our senior bowlers were really bad today. If you are not learning and anything repeating the same mistake, the whole purpose of the tournament is lost,” Krishnamurthy said.

Her counterpart, on the other hand, had a memorable outing. With the bat, she steered the KiNi innings and remained not out till the end. When Reddy was going berserk with the bat, Prathyusha was more than happy to rotate the strike and stay at the other end. She eventually ended with 33 runs from 25 balls. However, more than her batting, what stood out the most was the way she led her troops from the front while defending the total.

Barring Reddy’s two-over opening spell, remaining eight overs in the first half of the innings were spinners. She opened with Reddy and Rameshwari Gayakwad, and from there on, Radha Yadav and Chandu V Om took over. Prathyusha ensured that the Ameya openers were not getting any pace on the ball to play their shots.

It was not until both the openers were dismissed, Prathyusha brought in the second seamer in Shishira Gowda. When it looked like Prasad and Krishnamurthy were building a partnership, Prathyusha took over the reins with the ball and dismissed the former for a 28-ball 22 and broke the partnership.

She was spot on with her bowling changes and field placements. When Ameya needed 37 runs in the last four overs, Prathyusha had two of her experienced bowlers at her disposal. They successfully defended the target and handed a 22-run victory for KiNi.

The difference between the two teams could be a lot of things. One of the most important things is the way their captain led the team. Despite Reddy going for 12 runs in her second over, Prathyusha brought her back into the attack for the final overs. And the seamer delivered.

It was almost as if whatever she touched turned into gold; to an extent where the rain that stayed away till the last over of the innings came showering down right after the match ended. It stayed just for a few minutes, and soon the Herons and Sheen players were on the field for their warm-ups. Just after the toss, the drizzles were back and delayed the start of play. When the match finally began, the Herons managed to secure a bonus point in the power play before crumbling to the Sheen Sports bowlers.

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The target for the Sheen was the same as it was against Ameya in their previous encounter. However, it was only a matter of time before rain returned. Twice when it seemed like reducing, there were discussions regarding the revised playing conditions. And every time when was a glimmer of hope of match starting, the players from both the teams were out on the boundary line itching to get back on the field. The cut off time for a five-over chase was 4.40 pm IST. But the consistent drizzle ensured that it was not the case and the points had to be shared.

It might not be what Herons wanted, but they might not be too disappointed with the outcome. They might have got that one point from the bonus even if the result had not gone their way. Given the way the Sheen has played so far, Herons would not mind them having a point less than what they would have, had they won.

With the first round of the league stage coming to an end, Sheen are at the top with two wins and a shared point. They are followed by KiNi, Ameya and Herons. The forecast for the next few days does not look very promising. Provided the rain permits play, it would be interesting to see how Ameya and Herons adapt themselves to climb up the points table.

As Krishnamurthy said after the match, cricket is a funny sport. Things can change so quickly that one might not even remember what happened earlier, just like the Bengaluru rains on Tuesday. One might never know what will happen in the next match. For now, the two captains had contrasting stories to tell.

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