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Gents, I have to say, personally, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day on and off the field with everyone playing a key role in our win and more importantly spending time together for the post-match drink session which had all the hallmarks of a great social cricket day out.

Below is my humble attempt (with alcohol still in my system so any typos/missed references please feel free to edit) in taking a slight detour from the usual match reports by going down the A to Z route for the T20 match between Gardenia and Darjeeling CC earlier today at JA Shooting Club.

A – An early start (Badger was the first to arrive at 6:30 a.m. with a “Starbucks coffee” cup in his hand) at the Jebel Ali Shooting Club ground where the outfield and pitch was soaked with dew and players from both sides congregated (within approved social distancing limits of course!) slowly by 7.00 a.m.

B – British pound coin that I have used for years for coin toss with my call for tails that never fails let me down but I got the result I wanted in the end; to bowl first

C – Changes from the outset in terms of number of overs (reduced from 25 to 20), our whites v oppo’s coloured clothing, scorebook (manual v CricHeros) etc. made things interesting even before we bowled a single ball with Ninja finally taking matters in his own hands and “asked” the oppo to use traditional pen on paper approach for scoring

D – Dukes balls that were handed over to us by Ninja (who looked in shock all day after visiting Watto early in the morning to collect them from him) ensured that our bats are safe from the usual bat-breakers for another game or two and we started off with Nick and Krish from each end.

E – Efficient first couple of overs from Nick, who was kind enough to open the bowling for us in spite of the after-effects of a chest day at the gym and Krish holding the other end effectively

F – Few quick fire boundaries and couple of 6s from the oppo batsman (who looked like keen golfers on a cricket pitch inside a shooting range) gave us much needed runs to chase but also got slightly upset when the (sometimes overly keen) umpires reminded them to not to run on the pitch

G – Greeting the batsmen with his customary short, sharp and hostile (smile) bowling Ben stemmed the flow of runs with ease and ended up giving a measly 9 runs of his 3 overs from one end

H – Huge 6 from the opening batsman off Nick’s penultimate ball of his spell (which he felt could have been shortened after his 3rd over as it messed up his bowling figures) resulted in one of the good balls that is yet to be found amongst the metal feature (read as rubbish) outside the ground

I – Indecision from the oppo batsmen giving us 3 run outs with sharp throws from Sheehan (1) Big Ben (2) and Ninja (3) that Sethu picked up cleanly and finished the formalities with ease. Another great new find for our club and a keeper who can actually keep, rare breed!

J – Jumping in the air for the ball to land just behind him, Coops made it up by supporting and cheering the bowlers constantly from all parts of the ground all day

K – Krish trying to make the most of his match fees, ended up bowling 5 overs (thanks to a few extras) instead of the mandated 4 but took the crucial first ball wicket in his second spell with the right shoes at the right end !

L – LBW decision upheld for the batsman who ended up playing 4 shots before the ball reached him as Badger lured him with a false sense of security with his cunning flight and guile and trapped the batsman on his very first delivery that he bowled. Badger ended up with the figures of 1 wicket for 28 runs off his 4 overs.

M – Making head or tail of the scorebook (that got Nick quite animated at one point and never mentioned it since all morning and afternoon) to realise that the target was indeed 151

N – New opening pair of Coops and Arslan gave us a steady start only for Coops to get caught and bowled after a few overs giving the oppo their first breakthrough

O – Over and done within a few balls, Louay joined us back in the hut with Arslan (who never complained once about his backpain or ambled slowly through the outfield while fielding) hitting a couple of huge sixes and getting out bowled for the second highest score our innings, 29

P – Opening his batting account for Darjeeling, Sethu was involved in good partnership with Ninja before being caught at cow corner trying to up the ante and ended up with 15 runs to his tally

Q – Quality 6s (x3) from Ninja with one disappearing further than the previously hit 6 out of the ground and the very next ball pulled for a 6 over deep square leg (aimed at someone we assume who called Ninja’s previous 6 a shit shot!) who returned to the pavilion after scoring the highest score of our team, 37.

R – Runs flowed with ease as Ben and Shehan smashed the ball around and got us over the line in the 18th over with Ben scoring 14 not out in the end

S – Shehan named man of the match for his excellent spell of 4 overs, giving away just 10 runs and claiming 2 wickets (on top of a run out) and scoring 24 not out that included 2 towering sixes

T – Time was utilised very effectively after the win to head immediately to the Sports bar at JA Resort (Coops unfortunately couldn’t get his mid-day drink pass approved on time)

U – Unwinding with a few drinks in our hands as Nick read out the scores from our innings (not that he made any comment on the opposition’s calibre of scoring and messing up the book)

V – Vodka sniffing became a Darjeeling tradition of sorts where Louay showed his true skills off the pitch and made up for not troubling the scorers too much during the game earlier in the day

W – White Russian (s) (not the ones we wanted to join on Majesty 88 unfortunately) and the stories regarding that drink that kept us entertained for a while before vodka sniffing became a thing

X – X-rated conversations and stories that are better kept a secret which were unfortunately also entertaining others at the sports bar, not that we really cared !

Y – Yuppie (in mind and spirit) Louay kindly sorted the bill for the remaining few at the end as we went our own ways after a great post-match session

Z – Zeal and banter amongst ourselves that made this a thoroughly enjoyable day in end for all and here’s to more such social games for our club going forwarde