Lovely, lovely, lovely. Back on the grass wicket with an electronic scoreboard, a couple of scorers and Lord almighty Eddie’s blessing that stayed with us throughout the day. No football in sight. Village performers attracting scores of cricket admirers from all over the area
Dragon breathes fire on Broxbourne Highgardens after more than a decade
If it was a one-on-one between two best performers on the day never to win a toss, Virat Kohli and Ollie Morgans would be able to have a decent chat.
Not only did the Village skipper not win the toss, he was so enamoured by his deductive investment in a pair of spikes that the debut of the spikes headlined the pre-game huddle and cheers, before the skip was reminded that another Asian looking dude Avi Rao was also making his debut. Pointless clapping (“there are too many of ‘them’ in our team”)
NPT(8-0-35-2) and Archit(5-0-21-2) opened the bowling for Village. You could put one of them in a freezer and he’d still manage to swing the ball either ways from a length. The other one demands that he be sledged hard by his own team mates to get the landing permission. He got sledged in 3 different languages(English, Hindi, Unparliamentary). Both bowled well and struck early, with the debutant Avi taking a sharp catch at covers to dismiss Scott and Adam out LBW to NPT.
Boom Boom bowled exceptionally well through the middle overs(8-0-30-2) and with wicket taking support from Pitcher(5-0-24-1) and EK(8-0-39-1), some tight bowling from TGO(6-0-28-0) and some clever in-out fields, the Village managed to restrict Graces to 196/8 off their 40 overs, on a pitch, which was starting to keep low, take turn and proving batting might not be that easy. Take away the contribution by Frank and we might be chasing 30 or so less. Special mention to Abs, who did reasonably well after stepping up to keep the wickets. He was there (one of the too many of them)
The Village chase started poorly with P Misra getting an inside edge onto his stumps off a length ball that didn’t bounce much. Gone for 1 and rolled himself off the pitch. If there was ever a day to chase like Kohli or play a Ponting type innings, this had to be the day for the Dragon, in at 3. With Potty providing the assurance at one end, the skip started cautiously but confidently to the Graces opening bowlers Ari and Pal, who were bowling in good areas. Not too many scored in the first few overs but any loose balls were punished and scoreboard was kept ticking.
The dragon got into his work with a couple of thumping drives through the off-side and looked different from any other player on that pitch. He was quickly getting into very good positions against some really good bowling. The second wicket managed to put 44 together before Potty (14) decided he is going to let the ball make love to all parts of his body and helmet and then run away to settle down with the wicket-keeper.
We soon found ourselves 98 for 5 (14 and 8 being the other top scores with the bat) and staring down another quick finish like we so often had last year, after similar collapses, when our batsmen couldn’t bear to stay apart from each other for long periods of time. All this, while a Graces spinner was ungracefully trying his best at using some of the lessons he learnt in a mental disintegration crash course taught by a 10 year old Afghani boy in 10 mins.
Amidst the carnage at the other end, the dragon was past his 50, looking dangerous, timing the ball impeccably well and starting to seriously dominate, at will. Good balls were being punished and it seemed he was in a ‘Zone’ of his own. If he gets out, the chase might well be over. He is joined in the middle by the current late-order but forever aspiring to be an old-age opening batsman NPT. The oppo had started to chat how quickly they’ll gobble up the remaining 5 wickets and let everyone have a drink.
The two batsmen at the crease had other ideas putting together a rapid partnership of 97 and taking the Village to within 2 runs of a well-earned victory. After an initial look-in, NPT found his touch and timing and easily looked the second best batsman on the day (39). He could have carried his bat but a pre-meditated and loudly announced slog/sweep/swipe saw him back and Pitcher came in to score the next most important single after Leach.
The Best batsman on the day, sensing the victory was within grasp, patiently navigated the nervous 90’s including a scorer’s reduction in his personal score by 2 runs when he was on 94, got to his second hundred more than a decade after his first one, with a thumping drive and on the very next ball, stamped his authority by charging the bowler ala Hayden and hoisting him for a powerful flat six over long-on, where the admirers had to scurry for cover. He finished with 114 not out and will surely let Kohli know about his six when he chats to him next. You never know Kohli might already have heard of it from someone by now.
Teams pics and a mini sesh followed where skip brought everyone a drink but forgot Bosh's coke, people talked about something called LOD, AC/DC currents and how Asians can be kept out of posh Golf courses. The skip finished his day with a well earned curry and retired to his bed smiling with replays of that six. What would the sesh be like if this game was on a Sat?