MILAN CRICKET CLUB
You have probably heard us all rabbiting on about how brill the Zuoz weekend is : yet now that I think about it, it is not always so fantastic ! For example : .
1) It once snowed all weekend about 50 metres above the level where we were playing ( in the middle of June, remember ) this accounts for why
a) my first wife never came to another match
b) I have a second wife and .
c) . she never comes to matches either.
2) I dropped 4 catches here. In one game. And one of those I actually helped make into a six by spooning it over the boundary. In front of quite a crowd. Great.
3) As non striker I was run out for nought by someone whose main hobby is collecting Belgian car number plates.
4) I once captained a game where we scored 223 for 2 in 30 overs and we lost.
5) I once played in a game where we had to get 100 in 30 overs to win and still we lost.
6) I was given out caught behind by the square leg umpire ( because the main umpire neither saw nor heard anything )
And yet .
Its just lovely up here its green, its fresh, the sky is impossibly blue, there are 4 games of cricket going on simultaneously, lots of people to meet from different places round the world, the bar we drink in was in a recent BBC documentary and you get to stay in a town whose inhabitants once burnt it to the ground rather than let the Austrians have it ( or did they just lose the toss ? ).
Introduction to the 2009 tournament
Did I say blue sky ? Ok so the forecast said driving rain and snow, and although we spent two days shivering in temperatures that just crept into double figures we were lucky to play all the games without any interruptions for inclement weather.
So : under new management the tournament kicks off, all the familiar faces on parade : Lodi, Winterthur, Basel, Munich, assorted Lyceum-ites and some outfit called Jeg.
Just to refresh your memories of how this show works : 8 teams playing 3 games of 30 overs each : the winners of the 1st games go through to the semis and do battle to reach the final; the four 1st round losers do their best not to walk away with the wooden spoon.
1st game : vs Basel
Milan won the toss and decided to bat Ramesh, opening with Naresh ( of Settimo Tiger fame ) seemed to be hell-bent on self-destruction he was dropped three times, almost ran his partner out on the first ball and then himself on several occasions - but it was Naresh who was first to go, bowled for 10 in the 5th over with the score on 19 Ramesh, kamikaze approach notwithstanding, constructed a useful partnership of 40 with Craig before being run out for 16 in the 12th over with the score on 59. This brought Sunil to the crease and there then followed a fine display of batting which Basel seemed powerless to stop the next seventeen overs saw the two batsmen put together a partnership of just over 150 runs, Craig finally being bowled for 92 with the score on 212 : seven 6s and nine 4s Stephen came in and carried on where Craig had left off, but in the last over Sunil was out caught for 74 : four 6s and seven 4s this left Nand to face just one ball which he skied into the grateful hands of the bowler, and so the Milan innings closed on 237 for 4, Stephen unbeaten on 17. The Basel boys were left wondering how much damage the 5 dropped catches were going to cause ( Craig was dropped with the score on 81 and Sunil with the score on 141 ) .
Basel started sprightly enough as the bowlers took some time to settle ( 20 runs conceded in the second over ouch but there was worse to come in the second match ) sadly the score book does not indicate who was out in which order, but the first wicket was lost in the 7th over with the score on 74 the next wicket fell at 88 after 12 overs ( Milan were 59 at the same stage ) but the game swung back Milans way with more incisive bowling - However Basel clearly felt they had the upper hand, but just to make sure of things the umpire decided to rewrite the interpretation of the wides rule in the middle of an over, announcing that anything going down the leg side would not be allowed, and that he was in charge, he knew what he was doing and had a certificate to say so so there : not at all in the spirit of the game in my book ( probably just miffed that he had been run out earlier ) dangerman Gareth was now at the crease, but there were fewer boundaries now, and Basel had to work harder for their runs. In the 18th over the third wicket fell (Milan had some 30 runs fewer at the same stage ! ) with score on 126, and there followed a fifty partnership between Gareth and Satrajit Gareth was finally out for 63 and Satrajit went for 28, the score now on 200, but Milan now had just the tail to deal with and deal with it they did, disposing of the final four batsmen at a cost of only six runs so a victory by six wickets or 31 runs, whichever way you want to look at it compliments to Nand and Naresh for effective bowling : Naresh finishing with 3 for 38 off 6, Nand with 2 for 36 off 6 Dolat ( another Tiger ) also picked up 2 wickets but at a cost of 40 runs off 3 overs - Sunil uncharacteristically expensive with the ball, but what a day he was having in the field : crowning moment ? a stunner of a catch, at full stretch with both hands as the ball was passing him at speed on its way to the boundary !
2nd game : vs Lyceum Alpinium
This game did not get underway until 15.20 as the kids took a while to finish off their first one ( all that cheering and bonding in the middle takes time ) Milan won the toss, employed the turnover tactic and introduced three new players and decided to field. And didnt the game just seem to go on forever ? And boy was it cold !
First six overs came and went for just 26 runs for the loss of the two openers, then Tiger Bob chucked down one of the worst / most expensive overs I have ever seen this is how it went : 4 / 4 / 6 / wide / 2 / 6 = 27 runs off the over - and Lyceum thanking Father Christmas for having turned up 6 months early - Dolat was quickly brought on and bowled very well no wickets, but only 21 runs conceded off six overs , which went some way to restoring a degree of sanity Milan would never be able to show their faces in public if they lost this one - the Lyceum kids, with scant regard for their age and lack of experience maintained their enthusiasm throughout and three batsmen posted creditable scores : Henry hit 32 ( 26 of which in one over : guess which one ? ) , Hans 32 and Fenno 44, the latter two sharing a worthy partnership of 76 but once this was broken with the score on 129 for 4 after 24 overs ( Milan working hard to undo the prior damage ) - Milan were through to the tail which put on 13 runs for the loss of 6 wickets an improved Sunil finished with 4 for 16 off six, Nand 3 for 18 off six, Dolat already mentioned above, Naresh 1 for 29 off six and Jack 1 for 16 off 4.5
Chasing 142 with a batting line-up featuring Craig and Sunil ? Surely no sweat - I mean WHAT could possible go wrong ?!
Although Virul was out caught for 3 in the 3rd over after a was-it-a-no-ball-or-was-it-not? moment of confusion ( lots of bonding + whooping in the middle yawn yawn yawn ), Stephen and Craig settled to what seemed to be an easy task but with the score on just 24 disaster struck : Craig sustained a fairly serious muscular injury, and although he batted on had absolutely zero mobility to work with which seriously curtailed his shot selection it is not often that a Buick innings shows just one boundary followed by a dozen singles he was out caught behind for 16 with the score on 54 for 2 after 12 overs nobody seriously believed we would lose this one, but in the final without our talismanic batsman ? In comes Sunil who, seeing that all the other games had finished and all the other players were back their WARM hotels, decided that enough was enough and he put together a fluid ( and thankfully fast ) unbeaten 45 Stephen was out for 17 shortly after Sunil came in, Ross was out for 15 ( caught amazingly by the lone female fielding at close mid wicket ), but by at that point the score was on 101 with 18 overs gone, so it was just a case of knocking off the final 40 or so and seeing how many toes we had all lost to frostbite. The required total was reached with 8 overs still to go credit tho to the Lyceum mob : the 5 MCC wickets that fell were all catches, and in the first 100 runs that Milan scored there were only 2 boundaries ( if you ask me this is all Craigs fault for being out of condition.)
3rd match : the final vs Lodi
Just goes to show : Lodi, having won the wooden spoon last year, were now in the final, having had an interesting time of it during their Saturday games : in their first match 82 runs of their score was made up of extras ( 54 wides !!! ), and in their second match against Munich, and chasing a target of 200, found themselves on 73 for 5 after 17 overs yet they won it off the last ball, Munich failing to remember that there was a runner on for the injured no. 11 and started rejoicing when said n.11 didnt move on hitting the last delivery while the runner ran hell for leather to get the run needed !
Lodi on paper looked fairly formidable those of you who are au fait in matters
Lodigiani will note the depth of the team from the following names :
Sunny, Dushanta, Naseer, Shanta, Damith, Osborne .. and then add the fact that they had 2 much stronger players, players who put in guest appearances at Zuoz while playing minor league cricket elsewhere - and you begin to see the size of the task Milan had and what handicaps Milan had ! Ross was unavailable, having to make the arduous 8 hour trek back to Brussels, Nand obviously preferred to watch cricket elsewhere rather than play it, and Craig was almost unable to walk.
So off we go : Milan lost the toss and were asked to field and a cautious start was made by the openers Dushanta and Sunny the score ticked over at 4 or 5 an over as the Milan bowlers bowled tidily and the fielders did what was asked of them Sunny was out first, bowled for 20 by Naresh with the score on 50 followed by Dushanta next over, caught by Sunil ( that man again ) at deep square leg for 24 - and this was now a strong position to be in : Lodi 2 wickets down at 61 for 2 off 12 overs and it got better when Naseer went for 0, caught stupendously by Jack at gully off Rameshs bowling the very next over !! But now we had one of the 2 strongmen in would Milans resolve weaken ? The run rate remained unchanged for the next 6 overs Lodi now 90 for 3 off 18 overs next over Shanta was out LBW to Atul ( another sigh of relief as Shanta either gets a tiny score or a big one, and today was the tiny one ) so now its 101 for 4 off 19 . And then the big boys, after a few overs assessing the bowling, started cutting loose Messrs Mordini and Batchelor put on 42 ( bowled Ramesh ) and 54 ( run out by Dolat ) respectively the score moved effortlessly past 150 .. 170 ..180 . and then Damith came in and got 38 before being bowled by Sunil by now the score was over 200 and Lodi eventually closed their innings on 214 for 7 after such a promising start by Milan, who kept the lid on things for the first 20 overs, we were left wondering whether our depleted ranks could get such a score
The loss of Naresh in the second over notwithstanding, Craig and Ramesh both batted cautiously at the outset, ( Ramesh having dispensed with his hara-kiri proclivities so much on display against Basel ) and although Milans run rate was not spectacular it was arguably more important not to lose wickets chaos loomed in the 8th over as Ramesh needed a runner we now had 17 people on the pitch : 11 Lodi players, 2 umpires and no less than four batsmen ! Thankfully the calling was well organised sadly Ramesh was caught for 19 in the 10th over with the score on 37, Craig did what he could but was finally caught behind for 24 in the 15th over with the score now at 68 for 3 Sunil was building a score but bowler Osborne, having already helped himself to two middle order batsmen then had Sunil caught for 24 in the 22nd over for his third and then got a fourth the very next over and now it was 111 for 7 off 23 : to all intents and purposes game over curiously enough Lodi had more or less the same number of runs at this point during their innings but still had 2 superior batsmen to come whereas Milan only had the tail left a few more runs were added but Milan were all out for 126 in the 27th over.
Would it have been different with the 3 missing players ? In all probability yes enough to make up a deficit of 90 runs ? Quite possibly. Still the best team won and they did have to wait 15 years to win the cup !!!
* * * *
So we came second thanks to all of you who made the journey up here and promptly froze, thank you also for your match fees we collected a much-needed 200 euros this weekend but I would like to thank Craig for his exemplary captaining in extremely difficult circumstances and a BIG BIG thank you to . SUNIL he scored 150 runs, took at least 3 catches ( I think more but the book doesnt always mention who caught who ), bowled 17 overs and took 5 for 91 which, considering the quality of the batsmen on display, is no mean feat a great display of talent in every department - Shabbash shabbash ( now will someone please tell me exactly what this means ? )
P.S. Next game ? Against . yes, youve guessed Lodi !