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THCC Rot-Gelb Hamburg 156/9 off 32.4 ov. (Surya 49, Vinay 48*, Ehsan 9.4-0-35-5, Ali 8-2-12-2) beat Viktoria 1889 Berlin 152 all out off 33.2 ov. (Waqas 44, Mohsin 39*, Bipin 9.2-2-42-4, Vivek 8-0-47-4) by 1 wicket and qualify for the German club championship final

THCC 1st XI: Surya (capt./wkt.), Bipin, George, Guru, Jatin, Sandeep, Satish, Silva, Trived, Vinay, Vivek, Shiva (12th) and Arpit (scorer) Hamburg 25.8.2013, Semi final bulletin by Max Minor, THCC cricket correspondent

152/7 – 152/8 – 152/9 – the scoreboard is ticking, but it is not the tally that is growing. The target is 153. “Are you kidding?” a stalwart asks. The tension at THCC’s picturesque ground in Hamburg Klein Flottbek is almost unbearable this sunny Sunday afternoon. Even spectators completely new to the game are spellbound. One wicket falls after another under the barrage of the Berlin bowlers. But the total seems to be frozen. Where shall the last run come from, who can score for the home team and nudge them into the final?

Captain Surya cannot bear to watch what is going on at the crease. No-one remembers having seen him so tense and pale. Well, you cannot see him at all really, because he has retreated behind the bench and hidden his face in his hands. His heart skips a beat or two – or maybe three. Is this the time to try the new defibrillator? “No need for nail cutters” the former German international comments after the match.

Surya had come in at 69/5 and put on 76 runs in an impressive partnership with opener Vinay, who appears to possess an indestructible wicket this season. Thus the score is pushed within a mere 8 runs of the 153-target, namely to 145/6. After altogether ten magnificent boundaries, one of the captain’s massive hits towards the tennis courts does not quite make it and he is caught unluckily on 49. The captain does not like this situation; he is convinced the game is far from over. “Jatin, pad up” he calls to the no. 10 batsman before withdrawing.

In comes Trived and together with Vinay shifts the tally to 152. Only one run to win. With the scores level the home crowd is convinced THCC have all but won the match. Nobody knows the rules for a potential tie. Now Viktoria Berlin start appealing after almost every ball. German international Ehsan pounds in at top speed from the school end; Ali spins the ball from the pavilion end. Soon, big-hitting Silva is given out lbw not having scored. So left handed all-rounder Jatin calmly enters the crease, only to bite the dust caught behind without being able to get the one run. Vinay, on 48, has cleverly defended his wicket against the onslaught of the second maiden over by Ali. Now he is stuck at the non-striker’s end. How deep is the notorious strength of the THCC batting order? This is the last man standing! Bipin, do you feel the pressure? Will you be your captain’s, no, your team’s hero today?

Another fast delivery zooms in. Bipin is not interested in wasting time on the pitch. The left-hander hoiks the ball over the covers into the boundary nets: 4 runs! THCC have won their very first semi-final in German club cricket. Everyone races onto the pitch – led by a resuscitated Surya. What an end to a memorable day!

Earlier, THCC had won the toss and decided to bowl. The immaculately pre-pared turf pitch yielded some early wickets, especially to Bipin (4-42) and Vi-vek (4-47), so that Viktoria only crept to 43/5 after 9 overs and 67/6 after 13. Although it did not look likely, the Berlin batsmen somehow reached the drinks break with a more solid partnership. Soon thereafter, the tailenders were caught by Sandeep and Vinay. Jatin also held a lovely catch and produced a run-out. The opponents’ top scoring Waqas was eliminated by Surya behind the wicket.

After the lunch break, Vinay, Sandeep and Guru put on 61/2 before an alarming middle order collapse. At 69/5 Surya entered the stage. A true captain’s innings combined with altogether marvellous efforts by all players led to a remarkable win over a strong opposition. It is perhaps the team spirit which made the difference between the two sides on this day. Whether the North German champions win the final or not, none of the players or the spectators will forget this semi final.
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