Serendib snatch victory in hard fought Division I match in Neu-Perlach (27 May 2017)

The first really early-summer`s day for cricket. Temperatures in the high twenties and a start set for 12 noon with the request for all selected players to be there at 11:30. Why are Waqas and Imtiaz always late, even later than Khalid who arrived hot and sweaty at 11:45? Abijith also took a while to saunter along to the ground in Neu-Perlach but, at least at the appointed time, there were seven players there so the toss was not lost automatically.

The toss was won by Serendib who chose to bat to face MCC opening bowlers Altmann and Ahmad (Imtiaz). They were very tight, particularly Altmann and after eight Overs Serendib were 31 for 0 on this small ground. Barrett was brought on as a surprise experiment but was still in Kirchanschöring mode although not quite up to Bowes`s standard. After going for 19 he was replaced by Khan Waqas, who kept the runs pegged back along with the very measly Altmann who finished with 0 – 24 from eight overs and gave way for captain Ayub. The first wicket fell to Waqas in the 16th over, a splendid Australian style catch from Altmann, leaving them on 73 for 1 at the end of the over. The second wicket fell in the 22nd, their opener Roshan bowled by Khan Mahmud for 67. Many of the MCC fielders felt he had been run out very much earlier but the square leg umpire was sleeping and claimed it was close and he can`t give close-calls out. This rather soured the atmosphere and there were a number of similar incidents from both sides which spoiled an exciting game. In the next over Ayub got his first wicket, caught behind by Altmann who had taken over the gloves from Butt. Their fourth fell to a superb catch by Kotru off Ayub`s bowling and they were now 137 for 4 down in the 27th over. A good partnership of 37 for the fifth was broken when Altman took another catch off Ayub in the 33rd over. In the 36th over Butt got the first of his three wickets, a fine catch by Mustaq and the score now 197 at the end of the over. At 200 Khan Waqas got his second, again a good catch behind by Altmann. No more wickets fell until the 40th over when Butt got his second and third as well as a run out so Serendib were 225 for 10 after 40 overs exactly.

After the 30 minute tea break MCC opened the batting with Kotru and Khan M. The partnership brought 24 runs but lasted only for 4.5 overs, Kotru skying one for a good catch to be taken. Altmann replaced him and set about building an innings while the rest of the top order floundered around him, Khan M and Bhatia going for six runs between them. Butt steadied the ship for a while in a partnership with Altmann of 37 for the fourth wicket but fell for 14 in the 18th over. Mushtaq replaced him and played very defensively scoring three runs from his first 20 balls. However for a defensive player he rather inexplicably got into the habit of charging the bowler and eventually paid the price being stumped for 6 in the 26th over with the score on 101. Captain Ayub replaced him and the partnership was ended when Altmann was run out for 54 responding to a suicidal call. In came Barret, he who knows no boundaries, and built a marvellous picket fence as part of the 47 run partnership with Ayub before leaving in the 36th over having score 11 from 22 balls. (This astonishing run rate so weakened him he had to rush off immediately after the match).He was followed by Bhamare who was in a very aggressive mood hitting two glorious straight sixes before being out caught for 15 from 9 balls and the score now 192 for 8 down in the 39th over. Khan Waqas was run out for 0 with four balls left and the next ball Ayub was out caught with Imtiaz not having faced a ball. So MCC lost a very exciting match spoiled only by the atmosphere created by questionable decisions from square leg umpires and emotional reaction from both sides.

Kotru, 15, caught, 1 catch

Khan M, 5, caught, 3 overs, 0 mdns, 36 runs, 1 wkt

Altmann, 54, run out, 8 overs, 1 mdn, 24 runs, 0 wkts, 4 catches

Bhatia, 1, bowled

Butt, 14, caught, 7 overs, 0 mdns, 43 runs, 3wkts

Mushtaq, 6, stumped, 1 catch

Ayub, 56, caught, 8 overs, 2 mdns, 30 runs, 2 wkts

Barrett, 11, caught, 1 over, 0 mdns, 189 runsl 0 wkts

Bhamare, 15, caught

Khan W, 0, run out, 7 overs, 0 mdns, 39 runs, 2 wkts

Ahmad I, 0*, 4 overs, 0 mdns, 17 runs, 0 wkts.

MCC, 203 – 10 in 39.3 overs, lost to Serendib, 225 for 10 in 40 overs by 22 rins

MCC MOM: Altman for a half century, four catches and steadying the ship when the top order sank