I will start by saying, what a game of cricket this was!!
Jono again lost the toss and Titans decided they would have a bat. We didn’t start as we would have hoped with the ball and Titans built and impressive opening partnership of 127 off just 12.5 overs, latching onto anything short or wide off the seamers Viv (3-0-31-0) and Blikkies (3-022-0). Shuggie (5-0-57-0) was brought on to try and stem the flow of runs, but was met with some brutal striking, both openers managing to clear the ropes regularly and by some distance.
Viv was switched ends to try and break the partnership and duly nicked off Titans chunky opener, however the umpire somehow didn’t see or hear the nick and KFC’s favourite customer for the past 10 years, decided he was going nowhere and refused to walk. Poor form indeed. The onslaught of clean hitting continued and Titans found the boundary on a worryingly regular occasion. The more flighted bowling of Jono (5-0-44-0) and Rhys (4-0-38-1) seemed to slow the scoring rate slightly and eventually Rhys broke the opening partnership in the 13th over, having the tiring KFC enthusiast caught nonchalantly one handed in the deep by Israr for 73 off just 40 balls. He wasn’t a fan of running but he certainly struck the ball cleanly.
Titans had set themselves a very good platform and with what looked like their best batsman coming out at 3, were in for an imposing total. Again they built another good partnership of 80+ rotating the strike well between left and right handers and seeming to find the boundary at will. The hitting was relentless and Mike (3-0-27-0) and Israr (2-0-28-0) did a decent job at the death when the batsman were looking to hit every ball for 6. Darjeeling stuck at it and managed to effect a couple of run outs to keep the scoring to as few as was possible. Titans eventually finishing on 248 for 4. The pitch was flat and the outfield was quick, but it would take a serious effort to chase down ten an over from ball one.
The Darjeeling innings began with openers Rhys and Blikkies, the Titans opening bowlers began with tight lines and both openers possibly looked to over hit the ball and struggled for timing, understandable given the imposing total they faced. Blikkies was out for 5 in the third over, which brought Tom to the crease with a licence to get on with it and utilise the power play. After some tight early bowling Tom was greeted with wide long hop first ball, which was duly dispatched to the extra cover boundary. That seemed to ignite the innings, with Tom and Rhys looking to make the most of the fielding restrictions in the first 8 overs, they punished pretty much everything, ending the power-play on 78.
Still needing to score at 10 an over the partnership continued to grow, running well between the wicket and punishing anything loose. It was quickly realised that Titans had one real threat with the ball, the left arm spinner, it was important to milk him whilst trying to score heavily off what ever was dished up at the other end, which we did nicely. Rhys was eventually out for 40 off 32 in the 12th over with the score on 107. Ben strode out at 4 and continued where Rhys left off, putting pressure on the fielders in the deep and turning ones into two regularly. When Tom finally departed, stumped for 65 off 37 with the score on 137 in the 16th over there was still plenty to do.
Darjeeling continued to score at a decent rate with everyone coming in doing their job. Watto (5 off 5) and Ben (33 off 23) fell in quick succession in the search of quick runs. That lead to the arrival of Israr (37 off 17) and Shuggie (21 off 10) they built a brilliant partnership of over fifty in quick time, finding the boundary on a regular occasion. Israr taking the 20th over for 21 was the turning point, suddenly we 48 off the last 5 overs. Darjeeling continued to plunder the bowling, even the loss of regular wickets could not slow the run rate, as every man who came in contributed. Following the run out of Olli Jennings it was left to the Viv and the skipper to see us home, needing just 3 off the final over. Jono flicked the 3rd ball of the over to the boundary and that was that. Darjeeling had chased down 249 to win.
What a ridiculous game of cricket, spare a thought for the Titans opener who carried his bat for 105 not out, never nice to score a hundred and your team lose. Not that we care too much, we won.
Link to the scorecard: https://www.crichq.com/#matches/439675/1st_innings