By Lance Jenkinson
Keilor was left deflated after letting slip a chance against top two side Doutta Stars in the Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division.
The Blues appeared to be on track for victory, but suffered a dramatic batting collapse to finish 16 runs short of the 151 target in a see-sawing one-day game at the Joe Brown Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
Blues captain Daniel Stavris was devastated after the loss and put the blame squarely at the feet of the batsmen.
“We were 0-60 and then all out for 135,” he said. “There were some poor shots and bad decision making.
“No one took it upon themselves to get the job done.”
In what is shaping as a tight season with all teams top to bottom still in the running to play finals, this is one loss that could come back to haunt Keilor. The Blues could have been sitting inside the top four and still in the running for a home semi-final, but they sunk to second-last on the ladder and almost certainly saw their top two aspirations go up in smoke.
Still, they are only one game out of the top four, such is the closeness of the competition, and will need to lick their wounds and move on with a huge one-day clash against third-placed Sunshine United at Selwyn Park on Saturday.
“You can’t really harp on the loss,” Stavris said.
“As much as I’m upset and disappointed about it, we have to learn from what we did this week and beat Sunshine United next week.
“There’s no room for any more poor games now. Every game is a massive game.”
It was frustrating to lose for Keilor because its bowlers could not have done a better job at getting it into a winning position.
New ball operators Dinesh Daminda (1-26) and Upal Bandara (3-25) got the Blues off to a good start before the spin brigade of Kaushal Lokuarachchi (0-40), Shafraz Mohamed (0-17) and Bhakihi Jayesinghe (3-40) finished off the job.
“Everyone bowled well – that certainly wasn’t our problem,” Stavris said.
“We probably saved about 20 runs in the field.
“If you said at the start of the game that we’d be chasing 150, I would’ve been rapt.”
Outside of Lokuarachchi, who made 38 runs off 27 balls, including five fours, it was not a cupboard stocked with runs for Keilor.
“He made it look like a different pitch compared to all of us,” Stavris said.
“He was under control and playing some nice shots.”
Many Keilor players got starts – seven out of the 11 reached double figures – only to give up their wicket when they looked set.
Once the shock of the loss subsided, the Blues were left to ponder what might have been.
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