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Eight overs in, Ben Jones had just taken the 3rd wicket. Hasnain and Kev have both bagged a wicket with their opening spells. DCC goes a bit defensive though, protecting the leeward side of the field, because there is a strong wind blowing across the cricket field. The Gents batsman start playing a series of late cuts trying to use the pace to graft twos or boundaries.

The dust is starting to grate in fielders mouths and has got on the inside of sunglasses! Drinks break.

DCC think we are ahead, controlling the game. The Abu Dhabi Gents batting pair are now trying to play bigger, more expansive shots looking to lift the run rate.  The numerous hooks to cow corner are comfortably fielded by Shugie. Eventually the batsman manages to steer one squarer and collected a boundary. Shugie is brought on to bowl.  Bowling a bit slower and diving to try to stop the batsman from hitting it past him for singles. Eventually the batsman goes for a big hoik and Ben Jones runs round straighter to long on and takes a good catch.

Pressure brings it’s rewards.

The Gents clap off their player but it’s muted silence that follows. A new batsman in. The AD Gents supporters are biting their fingernails non-stop. The pressure is on to get a move-on, but the batsman need time at the crease to work out how to play this pace of wicket.

Rohan comes on for Jules and immediately has a caught and bowled chance. Rohan sprays one down leg, with no fine leg the batsman assume it’s going for a boundary but …Hasnain….Runs around and stops it with his hand just in time! Even the Gents supporters comment ” …. that was a good save.” Another tight over from Shugie doing a lot of his own fielding.

Rohan runs around on the boundary and cuts the potential 2 down to a single, including a strong throw that indicates to the batsman that they won’t be making many 2’s there. They will have to push into other areas of the field. Good stop by Skillsy to another Rohan legside ball. He is finding Rohan’s ball, better than Rohan is finding the pitch. Another shot to legside, but now the batsman aren’t even considering the 2, despite a DCC misfield. A sweep shot for 4 off Shugie gets them a boundary. But it’s high risk.

The Gents supporter’s comment: ” …. we need 160 at least.”

Rohan still chucking it down the leg side. Then its wide on the off side. He is struggling. The batsman sense an opportunity and launch a ball, but it lands short of Jonno running in hard to attack the ball. The Gents Batsman is looking more confident now and steps down the track early at Rohan’s next ball. But Rohan adjusts and it’s a Yorker dug out for a single to vacant mid-on area. Next over and it’s a strong appeal from Shugie, and he has his man LBW! The batsman tried a reverse sweep.  Leave it to the pro’s, son. It’s another tight over from Shugie.

118-5 – off 21 overs.

Rohan bowls, punches to mid-on. Batsman push for a silly 2, non-striker not interested and sends him back. Sells him down the river and he is out by a meter. Good one-handed take by Skillsy to whip the bails off. Kev back onto bowl, into the area of uncertainty for the batsman. Simon Charles is next out, caught at mid-on.  Kimbo did not have to a move an inch at mid-off, to take this simple chance.

125-7 off 23

Rohan clean bowls the next batsman. Missed a straight Yorker. Good ball. Gents supporter claim the ball dipped suddenly 🙂 Rohan attacks the next batsman with another yorker, but it’s fended out to square leg. The batsman chips to long on and they gamble on a 2, but it’s a wide throw by Jonno and it’s safe. Another 2 to long off. Kimbo does his best and the DCC is relaxed about these runs. No boundaries is the goal. Kev onto bowl. Another 2 to long on then the batsman steps down the wicket for a big drive, but it’s high in the air, and a simple catch for Kimbo at mid -off. It went high, but not very far.

The Gents keeper next on to bat and he is seething. Threatening to not play next week, for his own team. Gents were desperate to win today and they have cracked. Can they regain their composure in the half-time team talk. DCC players appear relaxed as they slowly come together for the halftime break. Claps for each other. 

The Gents team start a training session with full bowling and keeping on the outfield .They transition into a long huddle.

Taverner and Hellyeah walk out slowly. Taverner’s got his bat raised already. Is that an ominous sign? The DCC players are asking me what I think.  Par score etc. Are the nerves creeping in for some of us? Keep it simple. The mood lightens. Tav’s takes the first ball. Delivered by Nav from the Gents. It’s a leg side wide. Rohan-esque

The next one is a lot better. Scorcher in fact. Rises over the top of the forward defensive offered to be taken clean by the Keeper with out touching anything! Next ball same again, but lower bounce. This up and down difference will be tricky. Next ball fended to point. Next ball a solid Yorker is dug out hard, past a diving mid-on for 4. The gents have an attacking field here with many players backward of square. 3 slips. They are searching for the edge from the batsman.

5-0 after 1 over.

Sujith on to bowl seam.  Digs it in short. Hellyeah goes for the big pull but gets it on the splice!? Luckily it drops short of mid-on by 2 metres. The 3rd ball whizzes past the bat in similar fashion to Navs bowling, our batsman stick to their technique. A loose one appears but Hellyeah can’t dispatch it past point. Nav onto bowl. It’s a snorter.  Squares up Tav, catches the edge and it’s taken chest-high at 2nd slip.

Skillsy in. Takes his time with his guard. Back of a length at his hip and he fends it off. Yorker attempt but it’s an easy single for Skillsy. Full ball to Hellyeah and he chips it towards mid-off! Is it going over his head though? It is… but he has caught it behind his head, running backwards!! Gents have a US Olympic style high five session: “3-2-1 yes”

The DCC skipper Kimbo is in. The first ball is down the leg side. Keeper stops it. The next is another snorter. Defensive push forward and the Keeper takes it….the Gents scream! But it has missed the edge. Sujith back on and bowling wide outside off. Cut shots from Skills but they are not beating point. He is playing with soft hands, checking for variable bounce and pace. 3rd one is dispatched though. He’s found the pace of this pitch. Next ball is legside, and its flicked nonchalantly for 4. No fielder out there. Another leg side ball. A quick 2 . The DCC supporters shouting: “Making them pay.”

17-2 off 4 overs

Nav on. Full toss. It’s so quick though Skills is just fighting to get some bat on it and it chips just over the bowler and thankfully just before mid-off. Loose wide from Nav and it’s stroked past the 3-slip-corden, for 2, before third man can bring  it back in. Next ball is even more comfortably worked. Nav screams in frustration at his fielders. Skillsy looks to have the upper hand now.

Sujith bowls a sitter, Skillsy moves comfortably back and across and pulls. There are no leg side fielders out there… but it’s kept lower than he thought! He chops it down onto his leg and onto the stumps! Gents give it 3-2-1 yeah and Skillsy trudges off to throw his bat down. Just when he had got ontop of this bowling.

Jonno is in. He is driving straight. Gents have set the field deeper now and singles are around. Kimbo drives straight for 4. The Gents fielder doesn’t move to try to stop it. It’s gone. The next ball is a beauty. Kimbo holds his forward defensive pose, but it’s beaten him. Thankfully, no edge. The next ball is a sitter, like the nut that undid Skillsy. But it’s stays high. And Kimbo swivel-pulls it, clean for 4!

29-3 off 6 overs.

Nav on and he digs it in directly at Kimbo, who looks awful as he ducks and pulls at the same time. But its a single to fine leg. Jonno cover drives for a single. Kimbo digs out a Yorker and then another, but more comfortably. Another over survived for Darjeeling. Jonno and Kimbo chat in the middle. Are we going to see off Nav? What’s the new bowler like?

Wayne from the Gents. A big Kiwi. Not as big as our Kiwi, Ben Jones, though. 2 wides. Then Kimbo drives the 3rd ball straight to cover. Out caught! Our Ben Jones is on now. Kiwi on Kiwi. Both men take their time, sensing the personal pride at stake. Its loose from Wayne though. A 2, followed by a strong off-drive for a single. Then Jonno creams it past cover, and it’s a boundary. More wides from Wayne.

47- 4 off 8 overs

New bowler, Aerospace -Shaun. Also wide and Jonno slaps it for 2.

Are the Gents running out of bowling now?It’s mixed bowling. Jonno gets singles and 2’s. Rebuilding or milking? I will let you decide.

Jonno delivers a cover drive for a boundary. Then Jonesy hits a skier and the wind carries it over the fielders. DCC players give a cheer. But now Jonno appears to be limping as he pulled up on a fast single. He’s tweaked his hammy. Then Jonno hits it and runs. Jonesy wasn’t ready. The fielder dives and collects and runs a diving Jonesy out by a meter at least. Jonesy is unhappy about the call after the mid-over chat was all about: “no quick singles.”

(Emoji of the monkey covering his eyes)

Shugies is in to bat. The DCC supporters take comfort that Jonno is looking good and Shugie is a good bat. Aerospace is bowling tighter to the stumps than his first over. Dots and singles. Then a loose wide one. Jonno s flashes a cut shot, but he has nicked it straight to 2nd slip. Extra bounce on that ball.

Gents: 3-2-1 yeah

DCC players and supporters are not saying a word, but just exchanging glances. 59-6 off 11 overs. Target run rate is still only 5 an over. The wind and sand has eased off a bit now. New bowler, and now the ball keeps low. Kev’s working the singles. We are getting singles. But not quite 5 and over.

66-6 off 13  (unlucky?)

Aerospace delivered some shorter pitched stuff and eventually Shugie gets a strong pull to the boundary. DCC players: “ if we just bat the overs, we can make this score.” Then another lovely pull sweep off the slow bowler for four. And a square  flick for 4. Then a wild miss. DCC: “don’t do that Shugie, you’ve just banged 2 boundaries.” Then the ball bounces through Kev’s gate, over the stumps and over the keeper. Overspin from this spin bowler?

88-6 off 16 overs

Shugie steps down the wicket and drives straight over the bowler, but long on cuts it off. Then keV slashes a wide one for 2.  DCC searching for boundaries. Just like gents were at this stage. Have we got deeper batting?

93 -6 off 18 overs and Shugie take a drink of water to assess. Can we find the boundaries or do we target singles?

Sujith back on from the other end. He looks a bit village and Kev hooks his first ball round the corner for 4. But then Kev spoons a ball to mid-wicket for an easy catch. Rohan in, and he glides a single to 3rd man, and strokes a lofted cover drive for a single to the fielder out there. He could bring this home for us, easy.

101-7 off 19 overs.

40 runs required in 36 balls. Spin bowler. Shugies pivots clean to pull a boundary.  Then hits the next one straight back to towards the bowler who misses the chance. Knife edge stuff

106-7 off 20. 35 off 30

Sujith hits the top of off stump! Rohan walks off while the ball is still coming down. Where did that come from? Good ball. Jules in. Solid block on the first ball. Then cuts hard.  The ball goes down and up. The point fielder collects and throws down the stumps. Jules thought it was going over the fielder. And even then he only had 1 stump to aim at.  He walks off, no complaints. Sujith targets our Number 11 with the full ball and gets Hasnain immediately.

DCC are down for the day & knocked out of the DSL.

Gents:3-2-1 yeah

Abu Dhabi Gents Players walk off with Win at Zayed Cricket StadiumMatch Report by Matt Peet.