Sharks 2nd XI vs Paddy Foleys 1st XI Sano International Cricket Ground 1
13 September 2020 by KB
Before a ball was bowled we had a few things that went well; we had an XI. We had five recognized, or at least recognizable, bowlers. We had cooler weather. We had yet another debutant! The captain even had a cunning plan. And we were NOT at a Sano river ground.
Today we were:
Ajeet, Erika, Ashley, Santosh, Hamid (on debut), Arthur, Adit, Deepak, Mairaj, Koji, (in for his first game of the season), and KB.
Our opponents, Paddy Foleys, are an established JCA club that now finds itself consisting of one team and in Division 2. On paper, their record this year is under-whelming. That belies how good they have been and can be – could be – both with bat and ball. They also contain two ex-Sharks, Prashant (captain/keeper) and Ashiq. To have any chance we would have to do everything very, very well, and take the game to them. Maybe spring a few surprises.
The cunning plan mentioned above consisted of doing what Paddys might not expect us to do, like bowl first! The first part of that plan panned out because Prashant called the coin correctly and batted.
Research showed that Paddys start fast and hard. With that come chances. It was cloudy and swing could be in the air so we hoped Adit could bend it a bit our way. Also, our other main surprise was letting Ashley loose with his spin. After 4 overs PF were 1-41. Ash took the great brunt of the battering, but also took the wicket. He enticed a frustrated swing from veteran Kamran and the huge top edge few the way of Mairaj. He waited patiently until it came down and clutched to his big-hearted chest!
Enter Ashiq and although the aim was to cramp him he still got a few away. The big leg-side swing opener was finally undone by a bowling change, and it really brought a smile to everyone! Adit, who had bowled well but with no luck, made way for Hamid’s first bowl in Japan (!). We had no idea what he bowled. Well, the first one was a beautiful length at good speed which nipped away, taking the edge on the way through to Ajeet! A diamond wicket!!! You beauty!!!
This brought PF captain and ex-Shark veteran Prashant to the crease, and chances were we weren’t going to get many chances. It was basically a series of dots then a boundary – and the outfield was lightning fast! But the next bowling change also bore fruit. With his second ball Arthur’s extra bounce off his length took a piece of Ashiq’s glove and Ajeet took a fine catch tumble down leg. 3-83.
Unfortunately, that was all the joy we had for a quite a while. KB was dealt with easily and harshly, and unless the ball went anywhere near Erika, who was supreme at cover, once the field was pierced it was 4. We let ourselves done with some fielding efforts that could have been better.
Still, a little bit of sweet revenge was exacted when Adit, as tired as he was, accepted a return catch to remove his very set former teammate, Prashant, to make it 4-190. And while the PF foot was firmly on the accelerator, Hamid had his second wicket when the ball caught KB positioned a short mid-on. 5-220.
I will just say from here that things got out of hand. Badly, terribly out of hand. To the tune of 160-some runs in 13 overs. The PF No. 6 and No. 7 just went berserk and just about every bowler suffered. An effort to ‘mix it up’ with some part-timers to conjure a surprise wicket didn’t work. Our next wicket only came from an act of sheer arrogance when a single was attempted as the ball sat murmuring in the block-hole. Hamid sent the doomed runner on his way and then removed the incoming batsman LBW first ball.
The final 10 overs was? were? has been?, whatever the bloody grammar – an awful, awful end to the innings. That even I cannot image what it might have been like if we were at Sano 1 is one of the few bright spots. Aditya bowled exceptionally well for his 1-43 off 8 overs. Hamid went through three batsmen and three pairs of shoes for his 3-54 off 8. He is a find!! Ash did it very tough, but his last over amid the run avalanche went for just one run. Arthur bowled with great vigour and did not deserve his figures of 1-73. The old-timers, Mairaj and KB, took two good catches and Ajeet was sharp behind the stumps. We probably would have been chasing 450 if not for Erika!
We got to our highest total of the season – 88. Still short of the elusive three figures… and a long way short of 40 overs. The bowling was not threatening, but it was consistent and varied and competent. We probably let ourselves down a little by not being patient enough in letting balls go.
We did, however, find the boundary much more than before. Ajeet laced a beautiful brace of 4s through point. Santosh cracked a couple in his diligent stay. Hamid just avoided a diamond duck to go with his diamond wicket, then mashed one over cow corner and then was back. Arthur showed he can defend and hit, slamming 4 x 4 to all parts. He should have had five and a longer stay but was freakishly caught by fine leg on the circle. Adit and Mairaj got on to a few between them. It all gave us something to cheer about. KB added another ten marbles to his season’s big bag.
It is sort of ridiculous to think that this team had only one win for the season until they pulverized us. But it is also a ridiculously even competition (except for us). Rangers sit near the top with three wins, but have not lost a game. But, as in life, you don’t necessarily have to lose to be losers.
And you don’t have to always win to be winners. And Sharks 2nds have the winning-est smiles in the competition!