Super Saturday vs Sohal!

February 10, 2024

With captain Shriram Bhosale out having injured his wrist in our previous games, James “Bent-skip” Bentley took the BICC reigns for the first time. Clearly Sohal were scared of this, and didn’t even bother turning up for the toss of the first game. James chose to bat first.

Game 1

With our regular opening partnership of Imran Fareed and Ash Reynolds also broken up, Anton Kritzinger was sent out to open with Imran. It was a relatively slow start in the first over, but the two of them picked up the pace and we ended the powerplay on a respectable 41/0, mostly thanks to Anton (32 off 12). Both openers were dismissed in the fourth over which brought together two former club captains in Umer Razi and Damien McMullen (not that anyone in the club remembers Damien’s spell as captain!). The two kept the score ticking over well in the middle overs until Umer (28 off 14) was caught at deep square leg after toe-ending a swivelled pull shot.

Our longest-serving player was joined by one of our newest in Suraj Jha and another steady partnership formed. We weren’t flying along against a team more known for its batting ability than its bowling but there were never any disastrous overs. The final two overs, containing the wicket of Suraj bowled, though went for just 17 which was perhaps a bit below par. We finished on 119/4 from our 10 overs.

Sohal on the other hand definitely got off to a flyer and for the first 11 balls we were just hoping to keep the game going for seven overs in order to claim our bonus point. With the score already on 43, all scored by Asjad Butt, Vishesh bowled a slower ball that he misjudged and he was plumb LBW. We had a very important breakthrough and things slowed down drastically from there. Imran’s over went for just nine before the skipper brought himself on. He had one caught at long-on by Imran (more of that to come) whilst conceding just two runs and suddenly it was game on. Imran and James bowled out, conceding just 11 and five runs respectively as James ended on impressive figures of 1/7 from his two overs.

Sam Phillipps was brought on for the seventh over and had a bizarre wicket first ball, as Ali left an inswinging yorker, expecting a wide, only to turn around and see it had clipped leg stump. Sam claimed two more wickets thanks to the catching of Imran at long-on from his last two balls and now Sohal were struggling at 79/5. When Zeeshan claimed a wicket in the next, very economical, over, we were looking to be well on top.

Despite an extremely harsh no-ball that went for six in Sam’s second over, Sohal needed 20 off the final over to win. Zain Bashir was brought on for his first bowl and went for four off his first ball… But only five singles would follow and the game was won before the last ball was even bowled. Our second victory of the ECS this year and James’ first as skipper!

Game 2

Somehow the first game had ended early so we had a good 25 minutes in between games. With the oppo now here, James lost the toss (for the first time all tournament) and we were asked to field again. Jones Paulson came in for his first ECS game in place of POTM Sam (terrible selection policy at play, if you ask me).

Sohal started rapidly, reaching 59/1 from their powerplay, Imran getting the wicket in what was otherwise a very expensive third over. From that point on, at least one wicket would fall in every over as we began to control the scoring a bit. Stand-in skipper James would get two in his first over, although it was the most expensive non-powerplay over. Dave Martin’s legspin cleaned up in the fifth, bowling the batter first ball before only conceding seven.

It was Vishesh’s turn in the sixth, as one was skied up to Suraj in the covers. With the pressure building, Dave’s next over produced a runout following a good, quick throw from Zeeshan and some smartwork from stand-in keeper Umer. The two would combine again in the next over as Zeeshan got the batter to edge one through to the keeper. Jones came on for his first bowl and quickly got his first wicket, another edge through to Umer.

The skipper brought himself back for the final over and got a third wicket (3/23) thanks to a good catch in the deep from Vishesh. We had really pulled it back well after the first four overs and Sohal ended on a very chasable 132/9. Our innings did not quite start at the same rate as Sohal’s. Just four runs came off the first over which included the wicket of Anton first ball (LBW again, with less whinging this time).

Things got better in the second and third over as they went for 16 and 13, meaning we ended the powerplay on 33/2 after the wicket of Imran (23 off 11). Two more wickets would fall off consecutive balls in the fourth, with both Zain and Suraj bamboozled by some skyhigh pies. This brought Damien into the crease alongside Umer again and the pair continued from where they had begun in the first game building a 59-run partnership. Both rode their luck with dropped catches and were struggling to run so big hits were required and Umer (37 off 19) was certainly delivering until mistiming one and being caught at midwicket.

The skipper walked out at seven but the all-Aussie partnership didn’t last too long. These couple of wickets in two very cheap overs all but put us out of the game. An unlikely 31 was needed off the final over, but just 10 came off it. Damien finished on 27* to complete a good first day of ECN cricket for him. We had at least claimed the losing bonus point, meaning we had four more points on the board and reached the dizzying heights of fifth place in the table!

We settled down for a drink and watched some of the following game, briefly accompanied by ECN commentator Vinny “Mr Maximo” Sandhu. There’s a big week ahead of us, with games against the three Catalunya teams, Jaguars on Tuesday, Dragons on Thursday and Red on Saturday. Bring it on!

Sam Phillipps
Barcelona International Club President

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