On a brilliant spring afternoon, a friendly XI made its way to the edge of the Innenraum. The beautifully quiet village of Planegg is home to DJK Würmtal, who are incidentally going to be hosting the first round of the Pokal T20 competition in a couple of weeks.
What was scheduled to be 30 overs a side, following a football induced delayed start time, we turned up to the ground excited to get going. There was only one problem, there was no pitch laid!
Only 45 minutes following the anticipated start time, Shashi was the successful tosser and MCC had elected to bat first. The game was reduced to 25 overs, giving rise to the question of whether Würmtal had delayed the start to have a closer look at MCCs T20 capability.
Mudi and Wembo were chosen to open the batting with Wembo being on the back of a successful knock in Malta and Mudi high on confidence after his Lions trial.
Würmtal opened the bowling with a slingy left arm pace bowler, hooping it around. After a couple of attempted cut shots to balls that didn’t get up, Wembo got one that came back into him, there was allegedly an edge, the fielders passionately appealed and following a short consultation with Maiwand at square leg, Shahzad gave Wembo out Caught Behind.
Macca arrived at the crease to join Mudi and they went about trying to build a strong base for the MCC innings. Macca, in typical fashion, pushed the good ball into space and punishing anything too straight or too wide. Mudi at the other end was at his destructive best. When he’s on form he is fun to watch and watch you must… especially as an umpire or non-striker. Mudi started taking aim at Macca and there were repeated missiles hit straight causing permanent damage to the stumps at the bowlers, with the off stump cleanly split in half. Macca found himself ducking or hitting the deck on at least three separate occasions. The score was racing along, until there was one too many “Yes, no, shit, sorry” calls between the two of them and Macca found himself being sold down the Würm and run out by about 6ft.
Busby joined Mudi at the crease and struggled to get going with a number of dots and a was dropped at long off early on. Thankfully Mudi was seeing it like a beach ball and started targeting a leg spinner bowling consistent leg stump half volleys. He hadn’t learnt from Mudassir repeatedly putting him onto the adjacent football pitch. After both batsmen had hit him for 6s in an over, he moved to bowling seam up. It didn’t change the outcome as Mudi came down the wicket and launched him for a monster 6 into the nearby factory. That brought up a drinks break after 17 overs, which may seem slightly generous on a comfortably warm day, but those 17 overs had taken 2 hours.
Shortly after the drinks break, Paul chipped a tame cut shot to cover for 12, bringing Mr Barrett to the crease. After nurdeling his way to 9 and beginning to look comfortable, he played all around a straight ball much to the delight of the bowler.
Shashi came to the wicket and looked to keep the scorecard moving. Timing wasn’t quite on his side but thankfully the Mudi train kept on rolling, stopping only when the fielding side had to go fetch the ball. After a flurry of boundaries, including another massive 6, Mudi went for another big hit straight. A shot that had it carried would have brought up his hundred, ended up being pouched by long off running in. A disappointing end to a fine innings that deserved a hundred.
The runs didn’t dry up with Mudi’s departure as Shashi hit his stride and Pratik, in his first game for MCC, showed the kind of power hitting that was evident in the indoor training. Between the two of them, they put on about 40, with Pratik accounting for ‘around’ 30 of them . As well as his power hitting, he’s also an accomplished scorer, so it’s no surprise that when he was batting the recording of his runs was a little unclear.
MCC finished on a very strong 222-5 off their 25 overs. It was deemed a defendable total but the ground isn’t the biggest and it still required discipline to keep them at bay.
‘Powel’ Scott and Maiwand were chosen to open the bowling. As ever, the miserly Scott honed in on a length and took advantage of the natural variation you get with boards and coconut matting. Maiwand bowled a floaty first over but once he blew the cobwebs out he found pace and bounce off a length with the ball moving away nicely. The opening batsman’s Kashmir willow was no match as a chunk flew off after a particularly full delivery.
The first wicket was generated by a solid piece of fielding from Craig, turning and throwing, whilst simultaneously shouting for Busby to take the bails off. The batsman was short of his ground and MCC were on their way.
Shahzad was brought on to replace an unlucky Maiwand and was unlucky to not finish with at least two wickets. Srikant, Würmtal’s leg spinner was brought in at number 3 to try and close his personal deficit of around 50. He edged through first, second and third slips repeated as well as being dropped by Busby on his way to 10.
Pratik was brought on to replace the ever consistent Paul Scott, who was unlucky to see a thin edge dropped by the other Paul stood up to the stumps. Pratik, a self proclaimed “medium fast” bowler, took a wicket on his first delivery, beating the batsman with pace or lack thereof. A gentle inducker saw the batsman trapped on the crease, giving Pratik his first MCC wicket.
He followed up his first wicket with his second a few balls later, having Srikant caught by Shahzad at backward point.
A change of bowlers saw spin twins, Shashi and Usman brought on. A brave decision with short straight and leg side boundaries, they would need to be on their line and lengths. As always with a pre season game, there was still some rust in the fingers and a few loose balls found their way clearing the boundary.
With Würmtal starting to gather momentum and MCC only having 10 fielders, the gaps in the field were starting to widen as balls were squirted away, flying over the quick outfield for 4. Mudi, fresh off his jug avoiding 94, was diving and sliding around at cover to make up for the missing fielder. Clearly his runs had shaken off the injury he’d sustained the day before. A push to wide mid off, saw him swoop round, off balance on one foot and facing the wrong way, throw the ball under his armpit straight over the stumps. What would have been an easy single anywhere else on the field ended with the batsman 2 feet short of the crease.
Craig ‘moon ball’ Barrett was brought on to really tighten the flow of runs. His ‘flighted’ off breaks excited the Würmtal batsman and they duly took on the challenge of clearing the front leg and swiping at every ball. After a couple of slogs found their way to the fence, he cleaned up Rohit with one that turned and took the stumps.
Pratik shortly followed that wicket with another one, his third, with another gentle inducker flummoxing the well set Suraj. The procession continued as Craig enticed another swing, this time being caught by Paul Scott at a floating slip, gully, third man kind of position.
The skipper brought back Maiwand, who had stayed loose through the innings by patrolling the cow corner boundary. When the batsman finally made contact, he squirted a ball out to cover and took on the arm of Mudi. With two and a half stumps to aim at the non-strikers end he picked the ball up on the turn and hit the stumps with ease. The batsman again a long way short of his ground.
Maiwand finished off by getting a well deserved wicket with a sharp full ball that the batsman didn’t see and the final overs passed by without much of note happening.
Würmtal finished on 168-9, MCC winning the game by 54 runs.
Overall a successful run out for the players involved, against what won’t be the strongest side we’ll face this year. Still, everyone will take away things they need to work on as we swiftly move towards the season start.
MOM – Mudi – For his 94 and two spectacular run outs
TFC – Busby – For my 4 dropped catches and 1 shit shot