With seven members attending the tournament in Austrian Velden it had been difficult to get a team together to travel to this match in Nürnberg but, fortunately, two league match virgins, Jadwani and Sestan, pitched in and Algar confirmed late on Friday, making eleven hardy travellers. We met at the Hirschanger at 0930 to collect the kit and left as a convoy shortly after 1000, complete with a cooler box filled with heavenly smelling freshly roasted semmeln, cheese, wurst, biscuits and apples for lunch/teas. Within 10 minutes the convoy disintegrated and the three cars made their separate ways to Nürnberg but all arrived at the expected time of 12 noon. It was a warm summers day, temperatures around 23°C and a hazy cloud cover which thickened as the afternoon progressed and the first raindrops fell about half an hour after the match finished.
The Nürnberg playing area is two soccer pitches and the cricket pitch is a layer of concrete covered with matting and laid permanently between the two soccer pitches. The outfield is short, pretty flat and well drained, in other words it looked like it would be a “proper” cricket playing field.
Once the two soccer games being played finished we met the SV team, a group of young, pleasant fellows and inspected the wicket, our bowlers trying to stop drooling before the match began. Captain Weston won the toss and chose to bat, not considering that MCC batters might like to see how the pitch played first and very confident of our ability to bat and bowl on such a pitch. Before the game commenced, umpire Uday Kapadia inspected the IDs of those he didn`t know already, as required by the DCB playing rules. I was amazed that people actually carry these things around with them as, in my early days in Germany, I was forever suffering summary fines for not having ID, car papers or driving license wth me.
O`Meagher and Weston opened for MCC and Weston showed how good the outfield was by hitting fours off the second and third balls of the first over which went for 11 runs in total. Their run rate was good but they didn`t stay long, O`Meagher going for 5 in the third over and Weston for an equal highest score of 13 in the fourth over, the score then being 23 for 2. Algar looked good hitting two 2’s and a 4 in the 10 balls he faced but fell in the 6th over, the score now being 33 for 3. Feguson and Sarma steadied the ship and put on 40 for the 4th wicket, the highest of the innings, the highest of the match actually, before Ferguson went for 13 in the 14th over. Sarma followed, also with 13, two runs later in the 14th over and MCC were 75 for 5 down. In came Jadwani for his maiden innings for the club and Garner who hit an impressive straight driven six off the fourth ball he faced – the only six of the match – but he went for eight in the 19th over. Jadwani was out the next ball well caught on the boundary having faced 19 balls, the third highest number of balls faced by any MCC batsman, to enter the duck race. Sestan had replaced Garner and now Blades replaced Jadwani with the score on 84 for 7 at the drinks break. Sestan went for one, a delightful leg glance, first ball after the drinks break to be replaced by Gill who looked to be very comfortable on this wicket, finishing up not out for 8. Blades did his damnedest to stay there facing 19 balls for his 2 runs and wearing a couple of medals for the club in the process. He fell in the 27th over and was replaced by Scott who played some lusty shots, mostly to fielders before being given out LBW in the 29th over to a ball he appeared to have nicked. MCC then were all out for 102 in 29 overs and wondering if this was defendable as SV were expected to know how to bat on this concrete pitch.
After the innings break Scott opened the bowling for MCC and showed once again just how much he enjoys bowling on “proper” pitches, hardly a wide and very aggressive. With his third ball he got their opener, Ali, caught Garner at backward point fending away a very good rising ball. Ferguson followed with a maiden and SV were 1 for 1 after two overs and wondering what had hit them. The bowlers continued their excellent lines and lengths and the second wicket fell to Scott, bowled in the 5th over, SV now 11 for 2 down. Mudassar, their captain and Asher put up some resistance and put on 14 for the 3rd wicket before Mudassar fell for 12, LBW Scott in the 11th over. Asher went in the 12th over, a wicket maiden for Ferguson, well caught behind by Weston so SV were now 25 for four down. Mahmood and Kamran battled out the remaining overs of MCC´s opening bowlers and the rest of the team were shouting encouragement that there was only one ball left of Ferguson’s spell to face and then there would be different bowlers.
Little did they know what captain Weston had up his sleeve. O’Meagher replaced Scott and his first over was very fast, accurate and again SV were wondering what to do against it. Gill replaced Ferguson and his first over was a wicket maiden of fast accurate balls. O`Meagher got his first wicket in the next over and SV were now 40 for 6 down and, at the drinks break were 50 for 6. O’Meagher got his second wicket in the first over after drinks and his third in the 25th over. In the 29th over he got his fourth and in the 31st he got his Michelle getting Mirzawaqas, their most dogged batsman who faced 34 balls, more than anyone in the match, for 16 caught by Sarma in the covers.
A shell shocked SV1873 were all out for 79 in 30. 3 overs, keeper Weston taking four superb catches and dreaming of playing on Perth pitches again. It was another remarkable team performance by MCC after last week`s match against Serendib, the fielding and bowling were superb and it was proved once again that low scoring matches are the most exciting of all.
It was interesting to compare some statistics between the Serendib match on the soggy Flix at Hirschanger and the SV1873 match on the hard concrete pitch.
Serendib match: Serendib scoring balls: 78 (32.37%), MCC scoring balls: 85 (37.61%)
SV1873 match: SV1873 scoring balls: 31 (16.85), MCC scoring balls: 43 (24.43%)
The number of dot balls and plays & misses encouraged Sarma in particular to come up with some very innovative sledging.
O`Meagher, 5, bowled, 7.3 overs, 0 mdns, 26 runs, 5 wkts
Weston, 13, caught, 4 catches
Sarma, 13, caught, 1 catch
Algar, 8, LBW,
Ferguson, 13, LBW, 8 overs, 2 mdns, 13 runs, 1 wkt
Jadwani, 0, caught
Garner, 8, caught, 2 catches
Sestan, 1, bowled
Blades, 2, bowled
Gill, 8 not out, 7 overs, 2 mdns, 17 runs, 1 wkt
Scott, 1, LBW, 8 overs, 1 mdn 21 runs, 3 wkts
MCC, 102 for 10 beat SV1873, 79 for 10 by 23 runs
MCC MOM O`Meagher for his beautiful Michelle