The Lee 215 for 9 (Asad Rehman 4 for 25, Josh Bailey 3 for 44) Great Missenden Pelicans 162 for 7 (Josh Bailey 32, Jalil Rehman 25*)
Man of the Match: Josh
“We bowled only because our leader [Adam] lost the toss not because he hates us” opined Nico after another afternoon on the sun-baked Paradise that is Nags Head Meadow.
The Pelis kicked off with an unlikely opening combo. Taking the cherry from the top end, Nico immediately complained that it was slippier than a portion of Waitrose salmon, quite unlike the worn-out balls he is used to playing with.
From the bottom end, Josh was bowling thunderbolts, finding the edge almost at will but seeing the ball fly tantalisingly through the gaps.
On a baked outfield, The Lee made a rapid start, interrupted only by a nice catch, middled off Josh but straight to Kunaal in the covers. Safe to say this was the high point of Kunaal’s afternoon.
In no time The Lee was up to 80 for 1, at around 9 an over. And just as quickly, it seemed, they were 125 for 8. Josh took another couple, including a nice catch by Tony stretching forward to a gloved chance.
Asad removed the middle order with a quickfire four-for. Rags had declared himself off games via a morning WhatsApp, (“I have fever”), but appeared nonetheless, perhaps having spotted that bowling honours rival Hasan was not on the team sheet. Rags did for the opener when a 100 seemed to be beckoning.
At this stage Adam’s unbeaten record as Pelis skipper looked secure – a likely chase of 140-150, with Asad and Kunaal to open, what could be easier? In fact, let’s open up the game a bit…
So it was that Adam took off Asad – giving him just an over to achieve his five-for – and brought himself on. And we discovered that the young number 8 batsman could bat a bit. The only joy for the Pelicans (if it could be called ‘joy’) was the removal (note: not ‘dismissal’) of the young number 9. Like the ‘Mankad’ in 1947/48, the ‘Kankate’ is now written into infamy.
To be fair, Kunaal’s throw was obviously misdirected and The Lee, being the decent chaps they are, made nothing of it. Greg, having charged into the melée waving a card – is it red, is it yellow? neither, it’s his business card – withdrew disappointed. But there was a certain inevitability about the dismissal two balls later.
As it was, The Lee had the last laugh, the number 8 being dropped three times by Kunaal in making 67 not out, and propelling their total to 215 for 9.
More demanding than 140-150, but gettable assuming a strong start from the in-form Asad and last year’s batting hero Kunaal.
Half an hour later, Pelis were already regrouping as Asad, Kunaal and the less mission-critical Iceman were all back in the hutch. Greg joined Ali in the middle, to be told “we can only play for the draw, only run singles if they’re 100% certain”. The scorebook shows Ali true to his word: 21 comprising 5 boundaries and a single. In usual Ali form, just as he was moving through the gears, a full bunger on the box was adjudged to be right in front.
This brought Josh to the wicket, and confusion for Greg as he was told: “there’s no draw in the equation, we play to win, run everything.” Josh swung lustily for 32, and Greg joined in, with 18 including 4 boundaries, one teed off over long-on. “Where have you been all this time?” exclaimed Josh; “on the golf course” opined umpire Iceman.
Despite best efforts, the run rate climbed to improbable levels, and it was left to senior statesmen Rehman J and Kankate R to bring home the draw. Not that they simply blocked out – the boundary was regularly peppered, including a towering 6 over long-on from Jalil. Afterwards, Jalil expressed disappointment that he hadn’t quite timed it: “I really wanted to put one of those kids over the railway line” – looks like his corporate aggression is finding a new outlet.
So three successive Sunday draws, the last two salvaged from firmly behind the 8-ball. Not quite Bushmanesque, but we need to return to the winning groove.
Adam remains unbeaten as skipper, that’s the main thing…
Reports are intended to convey an entertaining picture of the day’s play. No disrespect is meant, but if on occasion we misjudge matters, please take it in the friendly and humorous spirit in which it is intended.