Hotdogs Cricket Shanghai

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1st XI vs. Bashers

Date: 
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Hotdogs team: 
Hotdogs 1st team
Hotdogs score: 
176 ( Rain Reduced Target 175)
Opposition team: 
Bashers
Opposition score: 
248

At the start of the day, with the Bashers at the top of the table, and the Hot Dogs, missing several regulars, at the foot, the Bashers were even more confident than usual of victory. The Hot Dogs though, with the weight of history and the power of fortitude on their side, knew they would always be in with a chance.

Indeed, the mental degradation of the Bashers began on the bus, with the Dogs quickly claiming the rear, and Ben Goodwin disturbing the accompanying Bashers WAGs and parents (and probably some of the Bashers too) by broadcasting too much information about his personal life.

As rain was in the air, upon winning the toss the Hot Dogs elected to field. Things didn’t start well, with Ben, for once struggling to find the landing strip, delivering three Harmison-esque wides with his first three attempts.  He soon settled into another tight and probing 8-over spell though, while at the other end James Keel tested the batsmen with both movement and bounce. The pressure eventually told when Phil Mildenhall nicked one of Ben’s outswingers to the wicket-keeper, Pratik Shukla.

The Hot Dogs team featured three spinners, so although conditions were difficult, they had to be brought on early.  Irfan Idrees bowled a solitary over and then Rak Mistry was brought on to lay down the gauntlet for the Bashers.  As a big spinner of the ball who gets bounce, he can be difficult to hit, and after building some pressure he struck in his second over.  Kevin Wright, who’d batted very fluently for 30, drilled a full toss straight at mid-on, where Alex Cummings clung on gleefully. Rak 1 Bashers 0.

With the Bashers danger pair of Mike Hall and Darren Manning now at the crease, Irfan and Faisal Wahid were brought on to make timing it over cow corner as hard as possible. It wasn’t long before Irfan had Darren excellently caught by James - at cow corner.  Mike Hall continued to bat aggressively, and when he failed to clear the boundary, generally managed to land the ball in space (sometimes even between the fielders on the rope, and the rope itself).  A solid partnership with Ollie Austin was finally broken when Faisal picked up a deserved wicket, Ollie skying him to Mike Tsesmelis at cover.

With wickets in hand, the Bashers continued to attack, and Mike Hall finally fell for 99 when Faisal held onto a stinging chance at cover off Mike’s bowling.  It was a tough day to be in the field (Alex, James and Ben in particular covered a lot of wet, slippery ground), and the Bashers finished on 248-6. Irfan (2-37) and Ben (2-32) were the pick of the bowlers. Credit to everyone for battling to the end, and Vikrant for keeping the spirits up with his appealing!

With the rain falling increasingly heavily, and the rain rules meaning that when time is lost overs are deducted but at the same run-rate, there was little motivation for the Hot Dogs to get back on the field. Let the Games Begin. Umbrellas magically appeared and were offered to umpire Riaz.  Irfan took Riaz off on a long, winding walk for a deep and meaningful. When he returned, detailed meteorological analysis was presented to explain that the rain was about to return. When Riaz and Phil sought Mike to discuss the state of play, he had conveniently disappeared for yet another bathroom break.

When the Bashers could take no more, Damon put all his PWC partnership skills to use, and after a detailed and protracted negotiation, the Dogs target had been reduced to 175 off 27 overs. Game on.

Damon and Alex began the chase, and although few runs were coming off the bat, Damon’s left-handedness proved invaluable yet again as the extras piled up.  Alex was caught behind off Pap Smear, who also bowled Damon, which brought James Keel and Vikrant Rathore to the crease. James was looking in good touch, and with Vikrant keen to run everything, a few productive overs followed.  Vikrant then fell victim to the wet conditions, slipping and injuring himself to bring Mike to the crease.  He didn’t last long either though, soon nibbling one to the keeper of Nick Bangs.

With around 100 needed off 12 overs, James was joined by Ben Goodwin, and the Bashers thought they were home and dry. Boundary hitting was becoming increasingly difficult over the long wet outfield, so the pair had little choice but to run as much as possible. And run they did. Every time the run rate seemed to be creeping up, they found something else, and the constant pressure on the fielders started to take its toll.  Even Phil ‘I’m the best fielder in Shanghai’ Mildenhall was unable to stop them running twos to him, and it was duly left to the Hot Dogs tent to question his fielding prowess, captaincy and sexuality.

100 off 72 had come down to 40 off 30.  40 off 30 became 22 off 18. With Ben and James showing no signs of tiring, they looked set to complete a famous run chase, until Ben was caught for a superb 53 off 43 balls (2 fours). Six runs were needed off the last over, to be bowled by Phil, with Gavin Morgan on strike to face his first ball in a high pressure finale.

Phil fired it into the pads, and a single was taken. James took a comfortable single off the next ball, with the field still mysteriously set deep to save the two. The next ball was wide, and Gav’s eyes lit up and cut hard, but straight to point, where it crucially burst through Mike Hall’s hands and away for a single.  James took another single off the next, leaving Gav on strike again with 2 needed from 2. Phil pitched it up and Gav flicked it powerfully up and away over midwicket towards the boundary to the sound of victorious roars from the Dogs tent, and whimpers of defeat from Basher fielders.

James finished on 83* (5 fours), a wonderful, composed match-winning innings that will go down in the annals of the History of the Republic.  It was so good, that Irfan offered to buy him a beer in the Camel.

The bus ride back with the Bashers to the Camel was in a word, sweet.  Drinking the Bashers’ beer made it even sweeter.  With the Dogs dominance once again re-affirmed, there was only one question that remained. It had been asked earlier in the day by an older, wise Indian gentleman, answering to the name of Mr. Mistry: “Is my son crap?”.

Comments

Rak's picture

Did you not know that my Dad taught Peter Kay?

Rak