Sonnet Cricket Club, which has been using borrowed land for practice after it was evicted from its base at Sri Venkateswara College on April 30, has not allowed it to deter its onward march in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) Hot Weather Cricket League.
The club, which is over half-a-century old, defeated Golden Hawks by 41 runs at the St Stephen’s grounds in a rain-affected semi-final on Monday which was reduced to 15-overs-a-side.
Sonnet will face Food Corporation of India (FCI), which beat Delhi Colts by eight wickets, also on Monday, at the Modern School grounds in a game that was reduced to 32 overs.
Ahead of the semis, there was much confusion with the DDCA league committee looking to postpone the semi-finals in the wake of heavy rains that had rendered the grounds, especially St Stephen’s, unplayable.
The St Stephen’s ground, which also hosts Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) matches, was affected more partly because the cover on the ground was not up to standard and was actually a tarpaulin sheet. Water had seeped in.
Even during the GG Dutt tournament at the venue last month, the cover had blown away due to heavy winds, leaving the pitch exposed ahead of a match.
However, DDCA president Rohan Jaitley and the league committee eventually let the match happen, giving Sonnet and Hawks 15 overs each on a ground that was hastily dried with a mat even though there remained a wet patch on the pitch.
With the game reduced drastically, Sonnet players came out with the singular objective of hammering the bowlers. Samarth Singh (47 off 24) and Yash Sehrawat (34 off 19) added 77 for the second wicket in just six overs to set a good platform and towards the end, Aryan Dalal (35 off 14) and Naman Tiwari (44 off just 13 balls) hunted down the Hawks and took the game beyond the reach of their batsmen.
Tiwari went berserk, even hitting straight sixes off the backfoot from well inside his crease. He hit five sixes and two fours, taking 25 runs off the last over which saw Sonnet blitz to 198 in their allotted 15 overs.
“The pitch had moisture and there was a patch on it which created a bit of a problem. When I had gone in to bat towards the end, my mindset was that I will hit the ball normally,” said the 20-year-old Tiwari after the match.
“We had to be careful about the patch because the ball falling on the patch was turning a lot,” added Tiwari, who has been with Sonnet for eight years.
The target was steep but 19-year-old Ankit Kumar, a frail boy who has been one of the shining stars of this year’s league, blazed to a half century. He hit stunning shots and was undeterred by the pitch and the target. One of his shots, a scoop-sweep drew applause even from the fielding side.
“The bowler was bowling yorkers, I was prepared and moved towards the off-side and scooped the ball over deep square leg,” Kumar, who hit 69 off 28 balls, explained the shot.
But soon after that, he was caught in the deep and the Hawks’ batting crumbled against stiff target. “The pitch had a patch but I took it out of the equation.”
Ayush Badoni (2/12) and Hrithik Shokeen (2/24) bowled three tight overs each to suffocate Golden Hawks.
In the other game, veteran Chetan Sharma (51) and Umang Sharma (69) scored half-centuries to help FCI chase down the 162-run target set by Delhi Colts losing just two wickets. Colts were cruising at 89/1 in 14 overs before FCI spinners tightened the screws.