With JD unable to skipper due to personal reasons, the reigns were handed to Craig Barrett to take charge of the team for the day. The weather forecast was for hot and sunny weather and it proved to be spot on. Unfortunately for the team and skipper Barrett, we had to endure the heat with 10 players after a late withdrawal.
The format for the day was two T20 matches between the sides. Barrett joined the opposition skipper and ‘umpire’ (in name only) for the toss. A successful call saw us batting first.
Wembo and Fulton were asked to apply the pads and begin the task of setting a score to chase. Before a ball could be bowled there was disagreement about whether it was permissible under applicable local laws for Fulton to wear shorts rather than black trousers. After much confusion and discussion and the involvement of skipper Barrett, the game finally commenced. The initial disagreement was a sign of what was to come from the ‘umpire’.
Both openers struggled to get the pace of the wicket and were unable to get the team off to the quick start sought after by Barrett. Following the dismissal of both openers, Varun and Sandeep came together for what proved to be an excellent partnership. Although before the partnership could even begin, the ‘umpire’ stepped in to question the clothing being worn by Sandeep. The man clearly had a thing for players and their clothing! A further disagreement took place with the cantankerous ‘umpire’ requiring Barrett to take the field and protest in Sandeep’s defence. The ‘umpire’ and the opposing skipper finally relented and allowed play to continue, as the colouration of the clothing was consistent with local playing laws. MCC tongue biting continued not to mention head shaking!
After the rather unnecessary impasse things continued and we got the inning back on track. Varun ended up with 32 and Sandeep 26. Fine work by both gents to get the total ticking along. The rest of the innings saw Imitaiz smoke a couple over the boundary and end up with 24 runs. We ended up with 124, which, after the start, was potentially competitive.
We were wrong about being competitive! The local openers took to us from the beginning of the innings albeit with one or two streaky shots. We needed to hold every chance and we didn’t do so early on with one or two tough chances being floored. It is fair to say no bowler found their stride and the runs kept coming at a fair clip and the game ended all rather quickly.
The farcical theme of the match from the offset did however continue into the opposition second innings. The opposing captain (Milan) decided to retire citing urgent toiletry requirements, but insisted he was not out rather than out. Clearly a local law on this unique ground he crafted himself on the day – nothing like keeping the red ink dry in the scorebook!
Onwards and hopefully upwards!
The second game took place after the luncheon interval.
This time MCC took to the field in the hope of restricting the home side to a lower total. The same two openers came out to face the MCC bowlers. Milan, perhaps feeling slightly lighter and nimbler after his retirement break, once again took to the opening bowlers and got going. The opening partnership was in excess of 100 in quick time and we were firmly on the back foot.
Imitiaz proved difficult and the pick of the bowlers for MCC. A return of three scalps no less! When he got his line and length the batsmen struggled and his wickets were just reward. Brooks toiled hard and got one wicket and Sandeep bowled well too. MCC was left with a hefty task of chasing 213 off 20 overs. We were going to need a flying start and a lot of luck!
With ‘umpire’ neutrality and knowledge of the laws of cricket (or anything for that matter) firmly in question, chasing 213 was going to be rather challenging. This proved to be the case and the total was never really threatened. MCC’s innings was one of many contributions with the most from Vish 17, Wembo 22* and Imitiaz 13*.
In summary, a day to look back and laugh at in due course. We left the ground snickering and laughing like Muttley the dog after the comedy that had unfolded.