Andre (MVP 2019 T20) on right & Chuck (Best Batsman 2019 T20) on left celebrate their success from last season!
St. Bess, perennial finalists/champions, came calling on an extra windy day to kickoff the SFCA 30 Over Season. The home team, Palm Beach Titans, coming off a winless off-season recognized the tall task at hand, but optimism reigned supreme in the build up to the game. Skipper Paul won the toss and decided to have a bat. See video below.
That said, within a space of just 8 overs, the Titans formidable top order of Chuck, Suraj, Praveen & Andre were all back in the shed with only 20 runs on the board. From that foundation, the scope of the challenge became clear to all fans and players present. In case misery needed company, just a few overs later, Avi’s unfortunate run out added to the misfortune of two sketchy LBW decisions that were given to last season’s leading run scorers (Chuck & Andre). The bright spots of the batting innings included:
- Rocky’s innings that signalled the recovery.
- Leju’s composed second half century in as many games.
- Leju batting to the penultimate ball and the rest of the squad rallying around him to score another 113 runs and bat out the 22 overs that were left at a rate of 5+ runs per over.
It was noted and heartfelt that no other team in the league has the batting depth that this Titans team has, but in reality a score of 133 would take some serious defending.
A pervasive tension could be felt as the team took the field. Maruthi’s first over going for 10 added to the woe and the normally vociferous Palm Beach fielding unit was relatively sedate. Leju as he did all day, was again a diamond in the rough, as he bowled beautifully on his end to finish on 4 overs 19 runs 0 wickets. Sadly for him a dolly was dropped off a Powell (77*) mishit when he was barely into double figures, he would then go on to top score and take the Man of the Match honors thanks to his all round effort, which included excellent bowling figures of 5 overs 2 maidens 12 runs 3 wickets . With one end leaking runs, the Skipper tried to come to the rescue, but that proved to be an even more expensive move. Andre eventually would come in to finally tidy things up on the south end and bowled well in a partnership with Vice Captain Atif. Overall, several chances were not accepted by the fielders and the game ended up a rout with only one wicket falling in the 17 overs needed to overhaul the meagre target and a whopping 12 extras adding insult to injury.
The post game chat was constructive and allowed for players and fans alike to leave in higher spirits. The divide between the top teams and the current Titans unit may appear to be massive after this game, but it was likely amplified by bad umpiring and first game jitters. The team will use the taste of this defeat as motivation, but also need to forget quickly about it and focus on the next contest which features another playoff power coming to town.