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 MCC vs Kingsgrove – June 2nd 2013 
Lombardy league MMXIII : Chapter III

Match photos

The Story so far : played 2, lost 1. We unsurprisingly beat Settimo by 5 wickets, and then stupidly lost to Euratom by 70 runs. Pretty important, then, to win this one, both to have a chance of retaining the trophy and to regain some self-respect.  

A glorious day – temperatures in the high twenties, (centigrade !), clear blue skies and a nice breeze.  Everybody present for the 1 p.m start. Kingsgrove won the toss and elected to bat  the standard 35 overs. 

The bad news    – it transpires that in this year’s Lombardy league Kingsgrove have never scored less  than 300 runs.

The good news – Kingsgrove are also playing a Serie A fixture today, so logically the team we are facing   will be weaker.  

Kingsgrove normally start batting in a calm way – not today : straight to it with some bash : 2 overs gone, 15 runs on the board, openers Zain and Ahmed setting out their stalls from the first ball. But this approach was to prove costly – Brian had Ahmed trapped LBW in the 4th over, and then in the 6th got Zain as well, as Mandeep, running in from the outfield stooped low to take a running catch a few inches off the ground – 34 for 2 off 6 is not  a traditional Kingsgrove opening gambit, so no-one knew what was coming next.  The next two batsmen continued in the same vein – they looked for the singles and guided the ball into the spaces – no out and out wild hitting : the boundaries they scored were mostly though the off or guided down leg side – early wickets notwithstanding, intelligent batting – apart from the run-out in the 15th over ! Alamin gone for 9. But the bowling was more than equal to the task - at the drinks break (18th over ) the total was 72 for 3. 

72 for3 ? Against Kingsgrove ? Now that is a good mid-term result for Milan ! And only 1 wide bowled. Bowlers on song today, particularly Mandeep with an impressive 7 overs for an unknown total of runs

( sadly Kingsgrove score better on the pitch than in the scorebook ) – but for sure it was not many !  Good work in the field by everybody also contributing to the low score.  But drop your guard at your peril against Kingsgrove  .... they always hit the gas when they get to the 20th over. And number 3 batsman Suji was looking very untroubled, building himself a nice score.   

During the break Nand informed the team that the spinners were going to be employed next, and that catches would be forthcoming –how right he was – play resumed and the batsmen both lashed out : forty runs were added in 4 overs – and 3 catches went down ! None especially easy (said in my defence as I spilled 2 of them ) – to make matters worse the ball was in the air a lot, but either by pure luck or by skill, it always seemed to be falling in areas unpatrolled by fielders or just dropping over the boundary out of arm’s length for a six – but finally the breakthrough came in the 27th over – batsman Shannel went for a big shot on the leg, got an outside edge and played on : out for 37 , thus giving Brian his 3rd wicket of the day  - the end of an 80 run partnership – 141 for 4 : the next three overs saw two more wickets fall : Suji was caught behind by deputy keeper Sunil for a very commendable 68 – Brian’s 4th of the day - after which the run rate was reined back in, and the Kingsgrove batted out the overs to close on 177 for 7. High quality bowling from Milan ( only 4 wides conceded) and if you discount my drops the fielding was assured ( I did dive once or twice !) 

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Hold onto your hats : light the fires and kick the tyres – we are weapons free, and it’s Vijay batting – first ball through cow for 4 ! You could almost write this bit yourself  - two more scoring shots, then a six, another four, two more scoring shots and then he’s out – bowled for 20. Such is the Vijay way. All done and dusted half way through the third over, with the other batsman, new man Mark having only faced two balls !! And then he perished : LBW without scoring ! 30 for 2 in just 5 overs – what next ??

At the crease now were Irfan and Mandeep – Irfan’s season had finally taken off in Velden, and we were all fervently hoping for more of the same – Mandeep’s only previous outing had produced a classy half century vs Idle – so more of that, please !

You would never believe it, but apparently when younger Irfan was good for a 100 metres time of 11 seconds – so how come it sometimes takes him 3 weeks when running between the wickets?? Twice he almost ran himself out, surviving only because the Kingsgrove fielders made a complete mess of the return throws (throw to the keeper – that is what he is there for !!!!!!!!!) – anyway : he survived, and he and Mandeep went about the business of scoring – the bowlers could find no way through, and both batsmen made it into the sixties – 17 overs of fine stroke play around the park and no chances for the fielders – the 100 partnership came up in the 22nd over – Irfan was finally dismissed for 67, caught behind as the 135 run partnership came to an end – Ramesh came in to see the innings out but contrived to get himself bowled off a full toss for just a single, so it was left to Sunil to accompany Mandeep to the target, achieved in the 28th over, Mandeep finishing his well-crafted, fluent effort with 72 not out, the 8 Kingsgrove bowlers employed made to look very ordinary for most of the Milan innings, Zain the (relative) best with 2 for 42 off 5. 

Good performances with bat and ball from Milan  – and great to see both Gautam and Bhupi back at the ground ( tho’ mysteriously neither appeared willing to pay a match fee.... ) 



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