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Venturers Vs Star, Wednesday July 12th

The Star 108-7, Venturers 94

The first ball was invalidated by talking in the field. This may have been just as well, as it was a short one down leg: perhaps Ian C was as much distracted as the batsman was. The first ball of the next over showed our more competent side. An impatient pull at Jack went high on the leg side between three fieldsmen, with all the opportunities for messing up that that implies, but instead Gregory called for it firmly and Ben and Ian G dutifully stopped and watched him catch it.

In fact this was not exceptional today: we fielded well. Faisal, Rob, Kapil and Gregory all got near to half-chances but everything we should have caught, we did catch, and the ground fielding was efficient. We also bowled pretty well, without anybody being very good. The small sand dune that stood by the building a week ago has now been spread across the outfield, which made it slow even though the grass was short. Balls bounced along in the deep, kicking up sand at intervals like a kangaroo. Very little went for four: Ben stopped a lot. It wasn’t easy to run on, either: some of us were reminded of the famous Test match in Antigua that got abandoned after a few balls because the bowlers couldn’t keep their footing. But as most of us can’t run anyway, it wasn’t a problem.

We made steady inroads, too. Two of the half-chances came in Imran’s first over and with the last ball he cut the fielding out and simply knocked the middle stump back. Sunny did the same with his first ball, and repeated the trick later on. The most threatening-looking of the batsmen attacked Gregory indicriminately and picked out Jack at mid-off. Faisal, looking rusty, also got a wicket when the rust wore off, and a mad single at the very end was downed by Jack’s direct hit.

We knew that the Star would have capable bowlers, but we weren’t short of batting (Imran batted at 10) so we though 109 was gettable. They started with accurate leg-spin from one end: Rob played it better than Sunny did, although when he did once drop short Sunny cleared the sand altogether. The seamer at the other end had the opposite effect, but Sunny misplaced a shot off a very hittable ball and was well caught at cover. Rob had probably done his bit by the time he missed one, but the innings fell apart during the ninth over, once the leggie was off. It began with two very wide wides and contained some other rubbish, mixed with good stuff, and first Ian G and then Jack got carried away and hit catches to mid-off. At the other end, Kapil, after one of his characteristic deflections, also became ambitious and was caught and bowled.

Ian C and Mushtique saved us from disaster. Mushtique drove wildly at his first six balls, missing the first five by some distance but hitting the sixth firmly, and kept doing that. Ian was more selective. They had some issues with running, and a direct hit would have run Mushtique out. He dived, the ball missed and he found himself still some way from the crease. He crawled frantically but determinedly to safety, as if he were eighteen months old. This turned out to be because he had damaged something and couldn’t run any more, so Ben came out to run for him. That generally ends in a run out, but Mushtique got bowled soon afterwards. Ben soon fell to a good catch.

Ian, though, carried on, now with Faisal as his partner. Faisal’s batting was as rusty as his bowling had been, and had similar moments when everything suddenly worked. They kept going long enough to make us think we might just win, but eventually they both hit catches - Ian’s went very high, but the wicket-keeper was within reach - and Imran and Gregory had too much to do. Imran was bowled by the last possible ball.

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