I seem to get the sunny days as captain and Sid seems to get the wet ones but the results have been the same.
We were playing in Epsom and traffic causes difficulties in getting to the ground. With a delayed start and 3 players missing we won the toss and I decided to bat as I didn't fancy fielding with 9 men and no keeper.
We were missing our 2 regular openers (Harish and Sandeep) so Gaurav and Punit opened. They got us off to a flyer with Gaurav hitting a 6 and two 4s in the opening over. Gaurav raced to 26 but was out LBW in the 4th over. Punit continued with some good confident stroke play, he must have been scoring some runs on his trip to Kenya as he defiantly had his eye in until he left a straight one and was clean bowled by their extra slow ‘spin’ bowling senior player for 20. At this point we were on track for a score of 200 which we thought would be par.
Sabs and I decided to consolidate and pick up the singles as their slow senior player was proving harder to get away then it looked. Sabs gave in to the temptation and was caught out. Harish arrived in time to bat at 5 and we were hoping for him to hammer the slow bowler around and get himself into form but unfortunately his bad luck continued and he was caught by 1st slip by a very good dive. It was his first duck for PPCC so let’s hope that’s the end of his bad luck this season. Hitesh was in next and he proved he is a true all-rounder by playing a great innings. He took the bowlers on by hitting 2 big 6s and he kept the scoreboard ticking with sometimes some very aggressive running. I was undone by a ball that bounced twice which I should have hit along the ground but I tried to clear the long on fielder but was caught out for 24.
Next in was MP3 and he played well to support H. Sandeep arrived with 7 overs remaining so MP3 was given a licence to hit out so we could get Sandeep to the crease but this proved to be our downfall. Sandeep batting at number 8 went in hoping to get us to the 200 mark but was bowled for only 2. Hitesh then was out caught but played very well for 43. Ritesh was in next and was bowled for 1. We found ourselves in danger of being bowled out so were hoping for Kunal and Junior to see out the overs but Kunals eyes lit up and he was caught playing an aggressive shot.
With 173 on the board we knew we were about 20 runs short and with a strong batting line up we should have batted more sensibly towards the end but we just lost our heads.
However we had runs on the board and chasing 173 would be tough if we bowled well. We had a very strong bowling line up so we were confident when we stepped onto the field. Kunal and H opened the bowling and we were off to a flyer with both picking up a wicket clean bowling their number 2 and 3 batsmen leaving them 2 down for only 4 runs.
Junior was 1st change and as always kept it tight bowling 8 on the trot for only 23 runs. The batsman were frustrated by Juniors perfect line and length so decided to see him out and target the bowler at the other end and that happened to be Ritesh. Rits struggled to keep the pressure on in his first 2 over spell so MP3 was into the attack earlier then we would have liked. MP3 kept it tight in his 8 overs for 22 runs and he picked up the prize wicket of their opener with a great catch by Junior on the rope. Juniors fielding was very good and he even had the opposition in shock with his good handling on the ropes.
The required rate was up to 5.5 an over in the last 10 and we desperately needed to take wickets so H came on to finish is allocation and he picked up a wicket with a clever slower ball ending up with figures of 8 overs 2 for 11! At the other end Rits and Sandeep struggled to tie the batsmen down or take wickets and they were scoring freely and we were bowling way to many wide’s (32 wides in the innings). The opposition reached their target with two and a half overs remaining.
We batted well in the first 30 overs and bowled well in the first 30 overs but we didn’t have the composure in the last 10 to finish the job. Batsmen need to realise that they have a role to play even if batting all the way down to 11. Fielding in general was very good especially Junior and Gaurav but there were a couple of other slip ups of people not concentrating in the field and the energy levels dropped after 30 overs. Everyone needs to encourage the bowlers and be loud just like the opposition were when we were batting. Don’t be afraid to give them some friendly banter!
Timekeeping was poor and it put us in a difficult situation but Sandeep redeemed himself by buying the first round of drinks afterwards. (I think the standard has been set for anyone who is late in the future). We are very close to a win and we are playing good cricket so I know when we get our first win we will be hard to stop. Overall it was a very enjoyable game and it would be great if we can play them again next year.
See you all next week!