MILAN CRICKET CLUB
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Game 2 in our quest to be the Victor Ludorum, and so now it is appropriate to ask : “ is Vic there ?”
By your performance against the best shall ye be judged……… cause for concern ? Well, yes – previous results in recent years have, if I’m not mistaken, all gone in Kingsgrove’s favour, and there was nothing to suggest that this year would be any easier.
A cool, cloudy day: the threat of rain constant. Kingsgrove won the toss and decided to bat. A ha !: I can tell you three things about their batting:
: They always start slowly.
Phase 3 : Towards the end they will steal seemingly impossible singles from right under your nose.
So the key to beating them is to pin them back for as long as possible…… Milan, are you listening ?
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A fast and fiery opening bowling attack did just that : pinned them back and allowed Kingsgrove to score very few runs: after 11 overs they had only 25 on the board for the loss of opener Fabio, caught behind – well done Yogesh and Sunil ( although I pause to note that 40% of the runs were wides …. ) - the bowling changes saw more runs flow but after 15 overs K’grove were on 54 for 3, opener Islam bowled by Yogesh for 12 ( broken bail last week, broken stump this ! ) and Amjad run out for 6 attempting an insane run, having hit the ball straight to Vikhi at mid off. Now the run rate started to edge up to 4 an over to leave K’grove on 73 for 3 at the halfway stage, leaving Milan please with their efforts to date and feeling cautiously optimistic.
Yep – exactly as they always do : the middle order started hitting hard, throwing the bat at anything and everything with a level of insouciance that screamed arrogance – well: runs will always be added like this but at what cost ? As the fielding team you are always in with a chance if the batsmen are going for it – and in fact good line and length ( and noticeable lack of desire to defend ) eventually accounted for 2 of the big hitters : Tharindu ( 50 ) and Madesh ( 31 ) both bowled by Vikhi.
Yep – as they always do : the remaining batsmen scampered up and down like rabbits on speed ( or was it just the ash ? ) but good line and length continued to take its toll as only one of the tail enders made it into double figures – the successful suicidal run out of the day saw Milan bowl Kingsgrove out within the allotted overs for 159 : Yogesh with 3 for 30, Sonu and Vikhi with 2 for 20 each. I mention ( again ) that 31 of the total of 159 runs were extras ………..
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So we have established that Kingsgrove bat to a plan : slow / bash / run hell for leather. Now do Milan have a plan, and can they stick to it ? Let’s hope so: Milan are definitely in with a chance here – rain permitting – 160 is a more than gettable total, but history shows that Milan have often contrived to produce a batting collapse against Kingsgrove - would history repeat itself ?
It seemed it would : opener Gurmail was bowled by the one that didn’t bounce in the second over , Ramesh was in and out without scoring, LBW playing across the line. Great: 12 for 2 and we are only in the third over ! A strong sense of déjà vu permeated the atmosphere, especially as two batsmen ( Nand and Sunil ) were sufficiently bruised as to not really be able to bat. But Sonu and Bhupi settled to the task, unfazed by either my French phrase or the inclement weather and put together a majestic partnership of 110 runs spanning some 19 overs – Sonu eventually holed out to mid off for a total of 66 off the bowling of a rather excitable Mr Zain ( for those of you who remember him Jagath was quite catatonic in comparison ! ) - the score was now a most respectable 123 for 3, 22 overs played – after Jonathan had got out AGAIN playing his customary silly playing across the line swipe it was left to Bhupi
( not out 44 ) and Sunil ( not out 23 ) to see Milan over the ( rather damp ) finishing line – a victory by a handsome 6 wickets with 8 overs in hand.
So: played 2, won 2, and still 2 to play. – dare we dream ? We dare, but there is the no small matter of the “auld enemy” fixture next weekend ……. Forza Milan: cut out the wides, stop playing across the line and one day, lad, all this will be yours !