MCC in another thriller away at Erlangen

Travelling to Erlangen on Whitsunday. It was painful for some of us to leave the sheets on a bitterly cold and rainy morning. Nevertheless the team plus scorer plus umpire Waleed Basit were on time outside the Hirsch at 9:30. Bhamare had to go back home as he had lost one of his contact lenses but returned around 09:40. We collected the match helmets with the go-faster insignia from the kit box and had some unnecessarily long discussions as to how many cars we needed and finished up with three. We said farewell to Garner who had come to see us off and after only 12 Kms we had to leave the autobahn as Maxi Hoeck had run out of petrol. He filled up and while everone was slowly, very slowly, stirring sugar into their coffees Maxi had the hood of his vehicle raised and was probing around with a puzzled look on his face. Would we actually make it to Erlangen? Finally, the coffee was stirred, the hood was lowered and at 10:18 we set out once again.

The trip thereafter was uneventful and fast for we all arrived just after 11:30 in time for the 12 noon start. The weather was awful, under 10°C, rain squalls and at least a 10°C wind chill factor. But the rain stopped and the toss was made. Captain Weston duly lost and we were asked to bat.

The Erlangen ground is a fast run scoring ground with close boundaries, short grass and a hard, fast outfield. MCC openers Veser and Weston scored freely at five an over until Veser went for 17 with the score on 52 in the 11th over. They had been particularly good in taking quick singles putting the fielders under pressure and causing a few dropped catches. Sarma and Weston put on 91 for the second wicket before Weston was run out to a very good direct hit from Gursher Singh. Butt who replaced him didn`t stay long being caught behind for five and two runs later, with the score on 159 Sarma departed. After 20 overs we had been 143 for one down and looking for a 300 plus score. Mascarenhas played a useful cameo 14 from 16 balls including two sixes but the fifth wicket went down in the 30th over with the score on 182 and we were looking at finishing with a very modest total. In strode the motor mechanic Hoeck who played himself in slowly with 2 from 10 balls, 15 from 22 balls but finished with 46 from 38 balls which included some magnificent straight drives for six. Bhamare, complete with contact lens and Ayub saw out the innings and we finished on 260 for 7 down.

During the innings break the heavens opened, the icy wind from the artic grew in force but the umpire insisted the innings be started in pouring rain punctually. MCC opened with Blades and Weston reasoning that the game may well be abandoned and the 20 over score could determine the winner. After one over the match was halted, the players took shelter under trees there being no other protection at the Erlangen ground and after some five minutes play was resumed. The openers bowled very tightly and after their 16 overs the score was 61 for 1 down. At 20 overs they were 83 for one so needed nine an over for the remaining 20 overs and we were feeling confident. However in the 22nd over their opener, who had used up a lot of balls, was bowled by Mascarenhas bringing their captain Bilal Ahmed to the crease. He rather took us apart scoring 27 from 10 balls, got his fifty in 20 balls and finished the innings not out on 88 from 57 balls. By the 30th over Erlangen were ahead or our equivalent score and gradually built up this lead until after 36 overs they were 235 for five down, needing 26 to win from four overs. (MCC had scored 48 from our last four overs). Inspired bowling changes bringing on Ayub and Wembridge meant that the final four overs went for 3, 9, 4 and 9 respectively. It was magnificent bowling at the death and the final ball of the innings was a scrambled two with some panicky fielding and throwing resulting in a run out before a third run could be completed and resulting in a tied match.

Veser, 17, bowled,

Weston, 87, run out, 8 overs, 0 mdns, 24 runs, 1 wkt

Sarma, 27, caught, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 27 runs, 0 wkts, 2 catches

Butt, 5, caught, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 31 runs, 2 wkts

Wembriuge, 28, caught, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 18 runs, 0 wkts, 1 catch

Mascarenhas, 14, caught, 8 overs, 0 mdns, 62 runs 2 wkts,

Hoeck, 46, caught, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 18 runs, 0 wkts, 1 catch

Ayub, 1*, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 7 runs, 2 wkts

Bhamare, 4*

Blades, DNB, 8 overs, 0 mdns, 36 runs, 0 wkts, 1 catch

Govendar, DNB, 2 overs, 0 mdns, 34 runs, 0 wkts, 1 catch

MCC, 260 for 7 after 40 overs tied with Erlangen, 260 for 8 after 40 overs.

There were a number of candidates for MOM including Hoeck and Ayub for tteir batting and bowling respectively but, after due consideration:

MCC MOM: Weston