afaqs! AMCL is gaining popularity every year, as is evident from the number of participating teams, which has gone up to about 50 in Season 3. Increasing its expanse and moving south, the tournament has added Bengaluru as one of the venues for the regional league matches.
Mercantile Advertising versus Studio Thorn
Mercantile Advertising and Studio Thorn played the first match of the season at the Kalka Public School ground in the Delhi leg of the tournament. Studio Thorn won the toss and elected to bowl first, aiming to take full advantage of the dew-laden moist pitch.
Chanchal gave an easy catch to Studio Thorn's Zia-ul-Haq off a ball from Bharat. Next on the pitch was Joginder, who played a successful second-wicket partnership of 153 runs with Daivesh. Joginder played a mature game and delighted spectators as he rained boundaries and sixes across the field, much to the bowlers' dismay.
With 15 extra runs given, the bowling line up of Bharat, Prannoy, Zia-ul-Haq and Sujeet could do little to restrain mounting pressure and increasing target. Taking full advantage of the opponent's lack-lustre fielding and its own experienced team members, Mercantile started the day by building up an impressive score of 174 runs, losing only one wicket.
Amid blaring vuvuzelas, Raman Ghai bowled the first over to Bharat of Studio Thorn. Facing a mighty target of 175 runs, the chasing team could hardly hold its act together. The opening batsmen could not stand to Raman's fierce bowling attack. Bharat looked impressive initially, but was soon heading back to the stands after scoring nine runs (off four balls, 2X4).
The batting order of Zia-ul-Haq, Sahil, Ramit and Sujeet mustered 28 runs collectively (off 22 balls, 2X4 and 2X6). Powerful bowling by Mercantile (the team did not concede a single extra run), coupled with tight fielding, made the innings a mere cakewalk as the opponents wrapped up at 93 runs, losing seven wickets.
BBDO India versus Pioneer Next
The second match of Day 1 of AMCL was played between BBDO India and Pioneer Next. BBDO India won the toss and decided to bat. The advertising agency established a humble score of 98 runs by losing six wickets. The opposing side, with Gaurav, Rohit and Gulrez, made the catching up easier with a smooth spattering of fours and sixes.
Gaurav Nagar, the opening batsman of Pioneer Next, made his intent clear from the very first ball. The gutsy player looked determined to roll up the innings in five overs, when, upping the ante, he sent four balls for two boundaries and two sixes, respectively.
Clinching 22 runs (4-4-6-6-1-1) off the very first over bowled, Nagar scored 38 runs (off 11 balls) before he was caught unawares by a raging Vivek Thakkar. Thakkar, who bowled three overs, gave away 39 runs and took two wickets for his team. After a few hiccups, BBDO India had a promising start when Vivek Sharma timed the ball well and drove it high for a few sixes and took the total to 44 runs.
DraftFCB Ulka versus GroupM
Though spectators had their share of winsome cricket through the day, Season 3 of AMCL had more action in store. The third and the penultimate match of the day, between DraftFCB Ulka and GroupM, was the most exciting face-off as it trailed to a perfect nail-biting finish.
DraftFCB Ulka won the toss and elected to bat first. The inning was opened by Sumeet and Arun, but the partnership could not stand for too long as Junaid of GroupM stumped Sumeet on his third ball. Anirudh came to bat next, but had to return in the second over of the match. Deepanshu of GroupM took his wicket. The talented bowler also sent Naresh Dutt (captain, DraftFCB Ulka) packing on a duck, when he caught Dutt's flying delivery on the pitch.
Arun Rawat, from the opening pair of DraftFCB Ulka, kept his cool amid all this and scored two consecutive boundaries on the leg side. However, he scored only 10 (off eight balls, 2X4). The highest scoring batsman of DraftFCB Ulka was Anurag Bhalla, who managed 66 runs (in 33 balls, 9X4, 3X6).
However, Sumit effortlessly caught the last ball bowled by Praveen Sharma to GroupM's Deepanshu amid deafening cheers from his teammates, who had already started celebrating.
Starcom versus OMD
The last match of the day was played between Starcom and OMD. The former won the toss and decided to field first. OMD 'Fighters' (as the team was named) fought as a team to place a target of 107 runs at a loss of seven wickets. Sachin, Deepak and Naveen, all falling prey to Starcom's Bhavdeep, were the star performers. The trio scored 29, 28 and 26 runs, respectively. Bhavdeep made credible efforts to curb OMD's score within 100, but even after taking four crucial wickets, could not lead his team to victory. OMD won the match by 14 runs and Deepak (who scored 28 runs and took two wickets) was declared the Man of the Match.
For the complete scorecard, click here.
"I've been a regular at afaqs! AMCL, I really like this endeavour and Team afaqs!"
"Bowling with a good length and bounce could fetch wickets for any bowler on this ground."
"I just played my game, had no strategy in mind. This is a bowler's ground for the first half of the day, thereafter batsmen reign supreme."
"When you have a target of 171 runs to breach, you are already under pressure. Our bowling side could have been stronger; boundaries were scored all around."
"If we bat first, we can score around 130 runs. We have three good bowlers and two seasoned batsmen. Pioneer Next makes for a good opponent."
"Amit is a good batsman. The Affle team might be playing for the first time in AMCL. I would say, they have 80 per cent chances of winning today."
Amar Ujala AMCL-2011 is powered by Images Bazaar and is supported by associate sponsors UTV Action and All Sports magazine. The radio partner for the cricket tournament is Fever FM and the outdoor partner is Katha. The cricket partner for the season is SG, while Cricket Today is the magazine partner. Indigo Nation is the gift partner for the initiative.