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Penned by Charles Forward from our 7 February fixture at the ICC Academy

The inaugural meeting of a new decade between these two titans of Dubai cricket dawned foggy, so much so that at the toss there was some discussion as to whether this was a six a side game in preparation for the upcoming six a side tournaments or a full 11 a side game. The arrival of the rest of the Lions confirmed this was a full team Game. The Lions on winning the toss decided to insert Darjeeling as they had a full side and wanted to take advantage of a soft ball until Badger arrived with the Match balls.

Darjeeling started slowly with Rachitt surviving a confident call for caught behind in the first over, before failing to nick the ball and being adjudged LBW. This brought the unassuming Andrew Kirk to the wicket who decided tip and run was the best way to upset the Lions. This nearly worked but he also managed to miss one and was following Rachitt back to the pavilion LBW for 2. The captain of the day Jamie Watkins (26) joined Charles Forward (31) (if only that were their ages not weights in Imperial measures) to steady the innings until the latter ran out of lives and found a fielder who could catch.

Watto was joined by Arsalan and these two took the score up to 82 to set up the final push for a competitive score. Cameos from George, Nick, and Chris saw the Darjeeling total to a slightly below par 138, however the sticky nature of the pitch meant there was hope particularly as the Lions “Badger’ had proved difficult to get away.

An inspiring team talk from the captain with the key message to bowl straight sent the Darjeeling team out to defend the total. Unfortunately both Oli and Nick struggled for direction and the 17 wides they conceded gave the Lions a strong start. Nick claimed the opener and Rachitt coming on at the end of the power play sent their number 3 back, however a no ball 2 balls later cost Darjeeling a further wicket before the introduction of Badger. The flight and guile of the Darjeeling veteran (4 overs for 23) kept the scoring rate under control however this was too much for the Darjeeling fielders who refused to entertain taking any catches once Badger himself had decided to give the opening bat a third chance by dropping one most grandmothers would have taken!

The introduction of George brought us back in to it with 2 quick wickets, one from an excellent catch from Rachitt now the catching strike was over. An inspired piece of captaincy by Watto, refusing to bring back opening bowler Oli, instead introducing Pete Langton resulted in another wicket but it was too little to late and Arsalan was unable to defend 2 off the 19th over resulting in a 5 wicket loss.

The game then moved on to Kickers for a full post mortem where both teams rehydrated and set up some battles for the next meeting of these Dubai titans.