Food Corporation of India (FCI), comprising veterans and a few youngsters on stipend, sprang a surprise as they crushed the more fancied Sonnet Cricket Club by eight wickets to lift the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Hot Weather Cricket title on Wednesday at the Modern School grounds.
Sonnet coach Devender Sharma blamed the loss on his batsmen’s impatient batting against a disciplined bowling that made the scoring tough.
“I thought the batsmen went for too many shots. You have to respect the opposition and cannot go for shots on every ball even on a good batting pitch like this,” said a disappointed Sharma after the final.
Sonnet had won the toss and elected to bat. But contrary to expectations, they lost early wickets to FCI pace bowlers, the senior Rajinder Bisht (3/38), who bowls slow medium, and youngster Himanshu Chauhan (2/33).
Ayush Badoni, Hrithik Shokeen and Samarth Singh – all first-class players with the two former also IPL performers were dismissed along with Yash Sehrawat and Shubham Sharma by the 11th over as Sonnet had moved to just 56.
Any hopes of a recovery by the lower half of Sonnet’s batting were snuffed out by Rahul Chaudhary, who returned with 3/7 in four overs as Sonnet capitulated for 117 in 30.4 overs.
The second phase of the innings was a long hard grind.
“There was just one over in which Naman Tiwari scored 13 runs (23rd). But barring that, their intent was dead after the early loss of wickets. It made them play out the overs,” said left-arm spinner Chaudhary who was man of the match in the final.
“I put the ball in the right place, not bowled any loose ball and varied the pace. I let the batsman to make mistakes. We fielded very well and supported each other. They collapsed,” he added.
The 21-year-old Chaudhary was part of the Delhi under-25 squad last season.
The small target was a cakewalk for FCI.
Skipper Chetan Sharma, a former Delhi T20 player, made 46 and added 78 runs for the second wicket with Umang Sharma (50 not out) to dash any hopes that Sonnet had of a comeback.
The experience of the likes of Sharma and Bisht worked well with the enthusiasm of youngsters whereas Sonnet were found wanting on calmness as their coach admitted.
“We contained runs and that allowed the pressure to build and eventually led to wickets. We wanted to build pressure and knew that even if once we leak runs on this small ground, then obviously runs wouldn’t stop,” said skipper Chetan Sharma while praising his bowlers.
“All the bowlers performed well but Chaudhary was very good as he bowled wicket to wicket and didn’t allow them to recover by frustrating them,” he concluded.
Interestingly, Sonnet had beaten FCI in both the 40 overs and T20 overs format in the league earlier in the season.