'T Rex' guides Hornets to finals
Kalyanraman takes team out of trouble to beat defending champions Scorpions
By tradition, sons of Kerala in India, are named after the town in which they are born and also take their father's name. Hence Tiruviwamala (town) Ramachandran (dad's name) Kalyanraman - aka TR. To make matters simple, let's just call him 'T Rex'.
For T Rex Kalyanraman certainly had the voracious appetite of the carnivorous dinosaur and the patience of a hunter as he guided KCC Hornets into the final of the Sunday Cup yesterday with a sterling knock of 65 that saw them score a five-wicket win over defending champions HKCC Scorpions.
In the other semi-final at Mission Road, Pakistan Association scored an eight-wicket victory over Vagabonds. Chasing 171 for victory, Pakistan Association were cruising along at 120 for one, lost seven wickets, including one to a 'Mankading' run-out, before reaching home safely.
Up at Wong Nei Chung Gap Road, Kalyanraman and Ravi Sujanani shored KCC up from a difficult position - struggling at 24 for three, with master batsman Rahul Sharma back in the pavilion, out to a superb diving catch by wicketkeeper Jon Powell.
But the left-handed Kalyanraman was in fine touch and played a chanceless innings off 68 deliveries that included three sixes and five fours. With Sujanani offering good back-up, they first saw off dangerous fast bowler Ryan Eagleson and medium-pacer Luke Rewega. Then they set about collecting the runs with panache.
Kalyanraman was particularly harsh on Martin Lever, hitting him for 18 runs in the 15th over and then one over later, for another 10. His three sixes were all off Lever, and came off sweetly timed pull shots over the mid-wicket/square leg region.
'He batted very well. He needed that innings. It was a good partnership and it took us out of trouble,' said KCC skipper Graham Jardine. Coming in at the fall of Sujanani's wicket with another 50 runs needed, Jardine did not hang around long as he hammered a quickfire 35 off 17 deliveries, including eight boundaries, to see his side stay on course for the double this season.
'Once again our success this season had been built around everyone taking responsibility and doing their bit. It has been sheer team work,' said a pleased Jardine.
The team effort was exemplified in the Scorpions innings. After opening bowlers Afzaal Haider and Mohammed Zubair had bowled tight spells, the good work was continued by Chris Williams, Roy Lamsam and Manoj Cheruparambil.
But it was wicket-keeper Ray Brewster who provided the turning point when he pulled off a magnificent piece of stumping, whipping the bails off in a flash with danger man Eagleson having his back foot momentarily lifted off the crease.
The square leg umpire had no hesitation in giving him out and Scorpions hopes of a huge total nosedived. Richard Norris hit a gutsy 48 and gave the core some respectability, but in the end, it was never going to be enough - not when T Rex was on the rampage.