MILAN CRICKET CLUB
And so, after weeks of rained-off games, to Zuoz, arguably the most attractive fixture of the cricketing year (unless, of course, you have been to the Canadian tournament — but you haven’t, have you?).
Sadly only 6 MCC regulars made the effort to go : hats off, then, to Naghaman, Bali, MJ, Irshad and Sahasrajit (= Ramesh junior) who played as well — thank you one and all.
Glorious weather, lots of old familiar faces, scenery to die for and more expensive cars than you can dream of (was that really a Bugatti Veyron I saw ? crikey…).
And, of course, some cricket, which brings me to …
Match 1 : MCC vs Zuoz Old Boys XI, aka “Schmock XI” (pitch 1)
Milan lost the toss and were put into bat — openers Ramesh and Naghaman started brightly enough with the assistance of some wayward bowling (18 runs scored in the second over !) and after only 4 overs the score stood at 36 — then bowlers raised their game and the openers succumbed to the “Yum- that’s-an-easy-ball-I’ll-have-that-oops-I’m-out” syndrome (hands up who knows what I’m talking about here) and then Milan suddenly found themselves on 65 for 4 after ten overs. Still, seen worse, so on we go ! Newcomer MJ accompanied first by Nand and then Irshad moved the score along, MJ scoring a smashy 37 as the score moved up into 3 figures, but the innings rather ran out of steam as the last 3 failed to score (credit to Jack Ross Gower who batted for 25 minutes !) — interesting to note that 7 Milan batsmen were out caught. Final score : all out for 142, Schmidt and the beguilingly slow Mr Bob (not the builder) claiming 3 wickets a piece. But would it be enough ? The opposition clearly thought not ….
(At this point I should apologise for my interpretation of the scorebook pages – it is difficult me for to score and field at the same time, so if you were there and saw things differently do try to understand !)
The opening bowlers worked hard to keep the batsmen from scoring, and it must be noted that “The Schmocks” (now stop it !!!) scored far fewer boundaries and benefitted from fewer extras than Milan did — Meindl was bowled by Sunil for 20 and Hoeck was run out for 21 — then danger man Tom arrived at the crease and pushed the score along and for a while it seemed as tho’ the game would slip away from Milan’s grasp when inexplicably Tom ran himself out charging down the wicket having padded away a ball, leaving himself totally stranded as the other batsman had quite rightly not moved at all – Milan sensed the moment was theirs — the middle order failed to produce anything but a few runs apiece and the tail proved completely ineffectual a — ll out for 118. Three wickets for Sunil, two each for Irshad and Rajesh. Milan looking ok for round two, but watch those overthrows, boys !!
Match 2 : MCC vs Basel (pitch 1)
Milan won the toss and elected to bat, but things did not get off to a good start — both openers went for 2, MJ did not repeat his swashbuckling efforts of the first match and Milan were 23 for 3 after 6 overs, all three batsmen having been caught. Irshad and Sunil started to build decent totals but failed to capitalise, which left Irshad and Rajesh to rectify the situation — Irshad got a valuable 17 and Rajesh crafted an impressive 40 comprising 6 fours and a six. The tail chipped in with some runs (compliments to Jack again – found himself batting at number 10 and thus had 10 grinning fielders at arms’ length — so what did he do ? Just hit the Basel bowling coach for four just wide of square leg !!) Final total: 139 all out, Nikhil getting 3 wickets and Mr Burger cheesing us all off with 2 catches and 2 wickets.
Milan seemed quite upbeat — but unfortunately so did Basel — none of the 7 Milan bowlers used were able to inflict sufficient damage to turn the game Milan’s way — Opener John batted from start to finish and ended on 40 not out, Sunil took an impressive catch at deep / wide mid on off Nand’s bowling, number 3 batsman Garth hit 41 before being bowled by Sunil, and Sultan finished things off with a powerful 31 not out, eclipsing Milan’s total with a few ball to spare but with tons of wickets in hand. They never really looked in danger of losing it and just took the runs when they were offered.
Match 3 : MCC vs Winterthur (pitch 2)
While the battle of the wooden spoon was being fought on pitch 4 by both the 2007 finalists, Milan set about the task of finishing the weekend in 3rd place – wining the toss again Milan decided to bat, and what a good job they made of it — Rajesh hit 28 and MJ 40, (including 4 consecutive sixes in one over) — but pride of place goes to Sunil who put on a masterclass of seemingly effortless batting, finishing the day on 74 not out. A good total :181 of 25 overs — that would do, wouldn’t it?
No it wouldn’t — Milan’s bowling was by no means bad — but it just wasn’t precise or mean enough, and the Winterthur star batsman Singh punished anything that was vaguely loose — plenty of soggy balls will be being fished out of the river downstream, methinks… the other batsmen also made their contributions with plenty of boundaries — and the Milan total, having seemed unassailable at the outset was no longer : how on earth could Milan get rid of the dangerman ? Well, he was finally undone by bounce — gloving away one that got up to head height, he was finally caught by Jack at first slip and Milan breathed a sigh of relief — however, the damage had been done and the Winterthur total kept on moving and although they passed the required total with just 3 balls to go they had never seriously looked in trouble. So Milan had to settle for fourth place.
One day... it would be nice to win this damn thing : at our best we are good enough!