Munich, 30th July 2022
Looking at the forecast on Friday night, we expected to wake to grey, rainy skies. As is often the case, the weather report was wrong and what greeted The MCC at The Hirsch was beautiful sunshine and a pleasantly warm day, for another fierce battle against ladder leaders POCC.
The POCC captain, showed he was quite the tosser, correctly calling tails and sent MCC into field. Wickets were hard to come by early and an obvious inside edge wasn’t seen or heard by the umpire. Probably due to him listening to music while umpiring. The wonders of German cricket never cease to amaze. The very fortunate batsman going on to make 60, when he really should have been back in the sheds for 2.
Waqas and JD used the new ball well, restricting scoring opportunities and keeping pressure on the batsmen. POCC were 0-30 after 10 overs. Neeraj and Altmann then took the ball. The POCC batsmen started to take a few more risk and got lucky sweeping against the spin of Neeraj and managing to get a few big swipes to the ropes off Altmann. In the 16th Over Altmann finally got the break through, MCC had been pushing hard for. At drinks POCC were 1/80. MCC had their work cut out for them to restrict POCC from here.
With a change of ends after the drinks break, the wickets finally started to come for Neeraj. He finished with 2/47 at the end of his allotted 8 overs. Mucca and Deep continued to put pressure on POCC batsmen, who were struggling a bit for timing as the flicx spat and pop whenever a ball landed on a good length. Deep was the pick of the bowlers, continually hitting good areas and the wickets just kept coming. Deep finished with 5/22 off just 5.5 overs and brought the POCC inning to a close 179 All Out after 39.5. A strong second half of the innings from MCC and every chance to bring up victory, on the lightning fast dry outfield at the Hirsch.
MCC’s chase started promisingly with Such taking up the opening position, alongside Joy, after Vishv injured himself in the field, late in the innings. Joy took after the bowling early, applying a positive mindset to the chase and putting pressure on the bowlers early. He was starting to look good before he got one that popped off the flicx, unable to get his bat out the way as it flew through to the keeper. This wicket put the brakes on the run rate. Such was the next to go and MCC were 2/23 after 8 overs. The next 12 overs were extremely slow going, with MCC only managing to push the score to 2/45 at the drinks break including 8 runs in the over before the break. It was certainly time to get a wriggle on.
MCC now had a difficult task ahead them, needing to score almost 7 runs an over for the last 20 overs Even though the outfield was fast, the pitch was still playing a few tricks. Mucca was starting to feel the pressure and after trying a few all mighty heaves was eventually caught off a top edge, attempting to reverse sweep his way out of trouble.
Altmann joined Deep in the middle and it was the spark that Deep needed to get his legs moving. The running between the wickets improved and suddenly the field was spreading and MCC finally started to put some pressure back on the bowling side. Altmann departed following a lengthy discussion with the umpire of the legitimacy of the bowling action being used. Chucking is acceptable as long as you’ve been playing cricket long enough was the conclusion. But the break in play was enough for Altmann to lose concentration and play a stupid shot trying to smash the chucker into the Eisbach. MCC now 4/91 after 28.3.
Flo and JD came and went, looking for much needed quick runs. Deep was the next to go, only 1 short of his 50. He was really starting to get going, but the scoreboard pressure was proving too immense, as he fell going for one shot too many. The MCC battled on with the injured Bhatia coming in at number 11, hoping for a miracle with 35 runs needed off 10 balls. Bhatia immediately hit the ball into the gap taking off for a quick single before realising the injury to his thigh might be worse that initially hoped. He hobbled down the pitch to complete one run. The next ball Amol put one into the air, trying clear the boundary and MCC’s innings came to a close 34 runs short. An opportunity lost but plenty of learnings to take from the game, especially when it comes to chasing.
MOM – Deep 5/22 and 49 (68)
Author - Hans Oldman