The afternoon started off with a strange sensation, with me reaching Sharjah, on time, and on my own accord and without the scenic tour of the local attractions. The opposition were on time and wearing whites another strange sensation from the last couple of weeks. Soon after this normality was resumed as Ash sweet talked their captain out of a toss, invoking the Darjeeling “we bat first rule”. I make it sound easy but at one point a coin even came out, driving Ash into the sympathetic “we always bat first, and don’t worry we are just here to enjoy ourselves and if we hit it we will walk”. And it wasn’t too soon till our first batsman walked/hobbled/fancied a savannah. It was a dubious pre game “hamstring injury” but I suppose without jDOTbrown any where to be seen we needed someone’s injury to talk about. So Andrew walked for 7. Israr was next to come in, and within minutes had ummed and arred a little too long over an “easy three” and ran himself out for 3. The last time he was in a similar situation he was “umming and arring” over a solid 6 and Badgers housemate jumped in and stole the glory at the annual dinner – Malcolm Gladwells Blink is on order Israr.
In the mean time Chris D was making some strong strides at the crease and partnered well with first Brad and then Greg before getting out for 47 of 42 with Brad getting 12. Greg steadied the ship with a couple of 6’s and some warm words with anyone smaller than him, so the full 11 which could explain the slight over celebration by the oppo of his wicket as his self proclaimed “most frustrating innings of his life” came to an end for 34. Nathan “crease hogger” saw the innings out making both Etiene and then Ash keep their pulses up with 22 yard intervals., normally in multiples unless it was the end of the over. A good finish with NCH on 33 off 22 and Ash 2 both not out. Darjeeling were 174 for 5 after 25.
I had heard rumours we had a sub, and after a quick search around the grounds snoring was heard coming from one of the school buildings. Soon after Mohit was dug out from his first sleep in 30 hours and thrown into the field leaving the injured Andrew to umpire.
It was a surreal and dream start for Darjeeling with Israr pitching the first ball up and getting a thick edge straight up in the air which they decided to run, leaving Chris D an easy run out. Where the next couple overs from both Greg and Israr were slow in runs and wickets , manly due to a dropped catch from Liam, they made up for it in line length and pace. Greg had their one batsman looking like he was playing on a Wii as he tried to chase the ball around the crease. Greg finally got a plum LBW and finished up with 5 overs 4 runs 1 wicket with Isr no wickets for 23 off 5.
Etienne and the HASS were on next and needled into their batting attack with them both giving the Sri Lankans the opportunity to get back into the game by getting hit around the park before Etienne took two quick caught behind wickets. Although their left hander was handed a number of chances which can only be “put down” to some woeful catching, with the worst probably coming from Liam again, it was have been easier to swallow the ball than drop it. With them needing a run rate of over 10 an over it was time to bring on our spinners for a bit of temptation, a brave choice with our dropping performance but Ash delivered some corking top spin bouncers to get 4 wickets, including a stumping, from 2.3 over for very little runs with Neil getting 2 wickets off 3 overs for 22.
It was easy to tell that they had given up as the score book became rather lack lustre towards the end.
Tough one for MoM, some great bowling from both Greg and Ash, and cracking batting from Greg and Nathan, but Chris D’s 47 and great work behind the stumps edges it for me.