Munich, 29th April 2023
The ground was soggy from the shower the evening before, and one side of the field
was littered with goose droppings. But the sun shone in the sky and it looked like
another excellent day of 50-over cricket. It would also be Deep’s captaincy debut,
and it started well with him losing the toss. But he got the desired result, and results
are what matter. MCC were bowling first. Waqas (6.3-1-20-4) continued from where
he left off the week before, sharing opening duties with Sunny (5-0-24-0). Both
bowled fast and aggressive, putting the opposition under pressure throughout the
powerplay. This pressure (or was it a lapse in concentration?) led to a run-out of the
POCC number 3 for a diamond duck. Even when they didn’t run themselves out, all
but one of the POCC batsmen seemed to find scoring runs difficult; tight bowling by
Shiv (5-1-15-1), Mucca (5-0-14-0), Floris (6-2-7-2), and Neeraj (6-2-20-2) in the
middle overs kept them in check. When their only real run-scorer fell in the 26 th over
to leave POCC 6 down, he had scored 38 of the team’s 74 runs. A wicket every
couple of overs from there restricted them to 112.
With the first inning done, MCC could be happy with the quality of the bowling,
fielding, and energy in the field. The irregular keeper Owen showed his chops behind
the stumps, letting through just one bye, dismissing the POCC top scorer, and
combining with Floris to runout the number 3. This list would have included a
stumping had the square-leg umpire felt generous that day. All in all, it was shaping
up to be a familiar Hirsch chase of 100-odd, this time with 50 overs to play with.
Those 50 overs quickly seemed very far away when new MCC opener Dan copped
an unlucky submarine of a ball in the 2 nd over (welcome to the Hirsch), and his
opening partner Owen fell in the 3 rd . Floris and Such (10) did some repair work,
which involved a lot of blocking and leaving, scraping together a partnership of 18.
Such did get a couple of nice shots away, scoring 1 of the 3 boundaries scored in the
whole MCC inning. But they both fell in quick succession, leaving the score at 22-4 in
the 15 th over. A great one-handed catch by the mid-on fielder then ended Deep’s first
batting inning as captain. This brought Mucca (24) and Hans together, and they
stuck around for another 10 overs, producing the inning’s most valuable partnership
(a handsome 21). After another couple of wickets (44-6 and 49-7), Mucca combined
with Neeraj to put on another 19, and it looked like the pair might have a chance to
make it a close game if they could stay in until the end. But banking on long innings
on the flix is a dangerous strategy, and once Neeraj departed in the 40 th over, Mucca
and Sunny soon followed. MCC finished the inning 73 all out in the 43 rd over.
It was, quite literally, a game of two halves: an excellent performance in the field
followed by a lacklustre batting performance. Bowling honours were shared all
round. Batting honours ought to go to Mucca for his gritty 24, and Hans and Neeraj
for sticking around with him. Overall the game was played in high spirits, and the
team can look forward to next weekend knowing they only really need to improve on
half of their game (!).