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Joy to the World

Fürstens v SVL, 14th May 2022

With the Fürstens T20 campaign hanging by a thread and just three weekends remaining, J. Altmann needs all the help he can get to get his team in next round. The excitable Australian has proved a welcome captain to the Munich CC side since stepping into the extremely big boots vacated by the ever absent A. Sinha, and J. Deverill before that, and had been calling on the combined forces of luminaries such as Mahatma Gandhi and JFK in a bid to motivate his players for their crucial ding-dong against Lohhof at the Hirsch.

It were his words that inflicted self confidence among the players and after losing the hotly contested first game, came out just on top in the second.

Heavy rain right before the Friday training ensured that Hirsch got all soggy and spongy. With flicx laid down on top, net session was hard labour for batsmen. There were higher chances of meeting a subdued Jehovahs Witness than finding the middle of your bat. A naughty two paced track with variable bounce.

Both teams and the umpire arrived on time the Saturday morning. As customary for an MCC captain, Altmann lost the toss and we were sent in to bat. Nothing of note happened, except for slow start from V. Bhatia (3) before being bowled by an inswinging yorker. Some suicidal calling followed, courtesy J. Altmann (4), C. Foskett (2) and later M. Khan (12), and we were 10-3 after 6 overs. Khan then stablised the inning with S. Desai (10) and S. Machado (15). Some quick running between the wickets from S. Danilewiczs (10)1 and J. O’Shea (6*) helped MCC collect about 20 runs in last 3 overs and finished the innings with 73/7 after 20 overs.

Commendable bowling and fielding effort from the away side, notably from A. Mishra (3-0-6-0) and M. Bylaiah (3-1-8-2)

With match almost in SVL’s bags, things took an unexpected turn when M. Khan (4-2-4-3) and C. Foskett (3-1-6-1) ran down through their top order, leaving them 10-4 after 7 overs with an additonal calamity of R. Roy (retired hurt 0). S. Machado (2-0-13-0) and S. Desai 3-0-25-0) couldnt quite match the high standards, with with lots of full-tosses and wide balls on offer. Sensible batting by M. Dinakaran (25) and P. Gujjari (15*) brought them closer to target before S. Danilewiczs (2-0-10-1) got him leg-befored. There was that slightest scare for SVL when R. Swaminathan (19*) skewed one in the air to mid wicket when on 0. Cam “Half-meter” Foskett did well to grab it jumping backwards, only to land behind the boundary. SVL chased down the the target down in 15 overs and won it by 5 wickets.

MCC players stretched out the otherwise soggy flicx in the hope of evening out the playing surface a bit. Sun had been quite kind on us the whole day and the ground moisture was quickly gone.

As not very customary for an MCC captain, J. Altmann won the toss for the 2nd game and elected to bat first. All predictions about the enhancements regarding the flicx proved false dawn as the surface was still two paced and the field was lush as Stacey’s mom. Both the openers found it hard to go along with J. Altmann (2) parishing in the first over; with V. Bhatia (5) following him 4 overs later.

Time for calm heads, S. Desai (26) and M. Khan (23) played an incredibly shrewd innings and picked up quick singles whenever on offer. Their partnership of 30 runs in about 11 overs was snailing us towards the par score, before S. Desai was caught at long-off. Short stays from C. Foskett (0) and S. Machado (5) were followed by blistering quick-fire from J. O’Shea (11*) and 2-runs-a-ball P. Bowes (2*). MCC finished off with 87/6 after their 20 overs with evergreen A. Mishra (4-0-10-2) and V. Kumarmath (3-0-13-2) conspicuous for the bowling team.

If MCC bowlers could get a similar kick-off to the last game, this was game on. This is where all the wise words from skip J. Altmann came handy and everyone was oozing with self-confidence.

SVL batsmen were quite vigilant and were willing to see out our opening duo. They were 30/1 after 6 overs, with P. Gujjari (11) getting to bowled to M. Khan the only inroad. Our second change A. Joy had plentiful of his namesake in making best use of the flicx. Some rash shots assisted by woeful calling from V. Deshpande (9) meant SVL for 38/4 after 9 overs with M. Bylaiah (11) and R. Roy (0) parishing too. Thanks for coming Roy!

More motivational words from Altmann, more self belief was evident.

Pressure was on and some sturdy bowling effort from S. Danilewiczs (4-0-17-1) and A. Joy (3-0-19-3) ensured wickets were falling at regular intervals. M. Khan (4-0-13-3) was brought in and he took another 2 wickets before completing his quote of overs.

The game was almost lost when SVL’s star batsman R. Swaminathan smashed S. Desai (1-0-8-1) for a massive six over cow and took the single of his next ball, needing 6 to win with 2 wickets in hand. V. Kumarnath couldnt control his strike though and aired last ball of Desai’s over towards mid-on. J. O’Shea circussing forward to grab a blinder. 6 runs to defend with 1 wicket to go.

On came the skipper J. Altmann with field spread out against the in-form batsman. 2 dot balls before a massive shot over cow, another massive six!!!, and SVL wins this thriller by a wicket, hawk-eyed S. Desai has covered miles to get under it and grabs it Aussie-style!!!!!! Everyone goes mental, just running around in circles, hardly believing what had just transpired. MCC won it by the skin of their teeth, 5 runs to quantify that teeth skin.

Our ardent fans couldnt believe their ears when the news reached them

It was a great day of cricket, 2 hard fought matches, played in best of spirits. Copious amounts of beers were consumed in the aftermath and it was a pleasure to see some of the old faces back at the Hirsch. Thank you SVL for being great guests; and a massive thank you to our umpire on the day, Sarang from Wurmtal. He is one of the finer umpires we have in the league together with Rahul from CCB. Also a colossal thanks to our new guy Karthik who assisted us with everything, from scoring to packing the flicx.

Dang Ling-Wang

[1] I’d love to see S. Danilewiczs and D. Llewellyn work together for a run-out, just to fuck with the scorer’s head.