Multi-Day Cricket always gives you chance to come back, if you keep fighting. It tests the character of the players under different circumstances and you cannot rule any team out in any situation. It gives your spirit and motive to fight till the end whether it’s for a win or to save the match. Right from day one of planning the Nine Six Trophy, we were desperate to see marathon spells of bowlers, bowlers hunting in pair, batsman fighting till the end, and big partnership under pressure. We also have in the back of our mind what Anantha Narayan mentioned in his article in 2018 on The Cricket Monthly that an individual inning does not become great in isolation. Moreover listening to Harsha Bhogle in one of his presentations of Cric Buzz articulated beautifully that, “Partnerships are the blood of our sport” and that has always been our motto to let teams move forward with partnerships on and off the field to let them achieve the unachievable.
They said one big partnership can change the course and dimension of the match and yes, it did in the fifth match of SunBi Nine Six Trophy Two-Day Cricket Tournament 2077 (Province No.1). In this section called “The Partnership”, we will be taking you back to the longest partnership of Nine Six Trophies in Province No.1. Remembering one good explanation of Harsha Bhogle once again that nothing draws our attention in the cricket field than a fighting partnership between batters at both ends with a passion of fighting for their team. Here’s an exhilarating partnership that inspired us to create this beautiful section that will carry many more fighting stories in the upcoming tournaments too.
United Aadarsha Cricket Academy was facing off Patriotic Cricket Training Centre in the fifth match of the tournament at Beldangi Khel Maidan (Damak). Patriotic Cricket Training Centre opted to bat after winning the luck of the coin. The match was termed as virtual semi-final as the winner was almost certain of qualifying for the final. They were reduced to 23 for 3 in the first hour of the game before skipper Rupak Baral (33-run) joined Bhupal Dangal (33-run) in the middle. Both got a decent start, pulled their team out of a terrible batting collapse with a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket. They failed to capitalize on their start and reduced to 125 all out in 36 overs.
Patriotic picked the first wicket in the second over itself. They put down some catches at crucial moments and boom, the strong batting-line of United put up a mammoth total of 319 and took 194-run first-innings lead in a Two-Day match. There were nearly 8 overs to bat for Patriotic on Day 1. United tightens up their grip in the match with three wickets in that narrow corridor of the pay. Patriotic lost both their openers, one-night watch-man, and reduced to 10-3 in five overs. The match looked one-sided, there was nothing left in Patriotic’s dug-out and United thought they already bat Patriotic out of the match. But Rupak Baral and Bhupal Dangal had different plan. They saw-off last three overs and finished the day with an 18-3 overnight score, still trailed by 176 runs with seven wickets and around 98 overs of play remaining.
Unlike other sports in which players could go solo and score goals and points, cricket, especially batting, revolves around partnerships as explained by Anantha Narayan, a batsman can add runs to the team total only if he has someone at the other end. More often than not it is a partnership between batsmen, that makes scoring look easy and takes a team to a commanding position. Two set batsmen, working in tandem, not only give a sense of assurance to their teammates but also frustrate the opposition bowlers, forcing their plans to be reworked.
They put their everything out and batted according to the merit of the balls. They batted 351 balls together and added 168 runs for the fourth wicket. From taking their side out of troubled waters to putting them in match-winning situations, they reduced 194 runs trail and helped their team to set the target of 74 runs with around 21 overs of play left in the match. They reduced opposition to 16 for 3 in five overs (16 overs remaining). And 54-5 in 16th over (5 overs remaining) but they let down some important catches and the opposition played counter-attack cricket at the last moment. Hence they lost the match by five wickets but it was clearly floating to a one-sided match, one partnership brings life into the match.
Vice-captain Bhupal Dangal played 193 balls to score 94 runs while captain Rupak added 77 runs off 169 balls to record the instrumental partnership. Bhupal scored 64 runs through running between the wicket with three sixes and fours each. All the sixes were smashed with the straight bat in the long-on region. On other hand, Rupak scored his 61 runs by running between the wickets. “We were throwing away our wicket instead of bowlers taking it, so we two opted not to throw it away whatsoever”, Bhupal Dangal said in the post-match presentation. “It’s a very special inning when I look back now, but I kept things simple and make it as ordinary as I can during that inning”, Rupak Baral said when we asked him to look back at that innings. Rupak scored consecutive three half-centuries in the Twenty20 format after that innings which makes four half-centuries in a row. He scored 67, 60, and 70 runs respectively and we believe the amount of time he spends in the middle during his fighting innings in a longer format will boost his confidence which helps him to score in upcoming matches as well.
While for Bhupal, who have grown with a lot of patience and hard work this will set a tone to continue his technically sound batting to escalate one step ahead. With his scintillating moves on the field even Dav Whatmore, the head coach of Nepal (in his recent tour of the Eastern region of Nepal ) was impressed and gave him an additional mantra to improve his game. The Story of Rupak-Bhupal is just a start to exactly how cricket must be played and developed. Recently one of our senior mentors, Rajan Shah quoted and explained to us the necessity of scouting and research in Nepali Cricket so here we have moved our step ahead in identifying as well as presenting one of the best partnerships we have seen live in a multiday tournament in our region to say it to the least.
Hope at this dire times and tough state of minds, we have pulled some brain as well as people to stay calm and concentrate on building partnerships with the near and dear ones as well as your partners in everything you do, the rays of darkness today means there is a beautiful tomorrow and lots of Rupak- Bhupal of our society will inspire us to move ahead in everything we have planned or everything that has been halted for a while. Long live our Partnership with everyone and everything we are connected to.