Strongroom snatch unlikely defeat!
Highgate Wood, 5/9/2021
Palm Tree won by 1 wicket
Palm Tree: 165-9 [Sabu 53]
View the Scorecard
In a 180 degree turn-around from last weekendís match, we somehow, bizarrely, incredibly, absurdly, managed to manufacture our own defeat as we rapidly advanced to the glittering gates of victory - when the final Palm Tree pair put on 55 runs to snatch a highly improbable win.
The day itself started out serenely, blue sky, mid-20s, slight breeze. It doesnít get much better. DP won the toss, batted, and Ben and I put on 44 for the 1st wicket, with relatively little concern. But then we lost three wickets in quick succession, and Ben, who was looking particularly fluent, was run out in a disastrous mix-up with Bhargav. It was left to Vinay, Nisar and DP to get us back to something nearing a modest total. Vinay is in a good batting space currently, whereas Nisar plays a high-risk game and exhibited his usual, entertaining mix of slogs, crashes and biffs. DP displayed his tap and run approach to good effect, but tight bowling in the final 10 overs meant we only managed an additional 40 runs. Riaz delighted onlookers with a pirouetted six behind square leg off the final delivery of our innings, but overall Palm Tree had come back well, and we were disappointed with our final 164.
Another post-COVID DIY tea was wolfed down by all.
In reply, Keralan opener Sabu (53) couldnít have smiled any more than he did, as he merrily crashed a brilliant half-century off 44 deliveries. With him at the crease, and at 75-1 off just 12 overs, defeat was already looming like an ominous dark cloud. However, Nisarís dismissal of Sabu sparked a demented collapse, as Palm Tree lost eight wickets for 36 runs, leaving us on the precipice of a pleasing victory, at 111-9. Nisar (3-26) was the pick of our bowlers, as he produced a relentless sequence of yorkers, with me in his ear at mid-off providing this exact instruction. Riaz (2-34) took some heat from Sabu, but also suffered from some dropped catches, and responded well. At one stage a large dog came onto the ground and squeezed out a disgusting pile of orange poo at square leg, which the owner ignored. We shouted at him, and several park goers joined in, and it descended into something of an (unresolved) shouting match. Anyway, back to the cricket. Vinay took an astounding catch at silly mid-off, as the batsman slammed a cover-drive straight to him - it was incredible to witness.
So, at 111-9, we were happy, but then PalmTree veteran Maggs Snr. came in (32*) and smashed it all around the woods, and that was pretty much that. I think he was driven by some internal fury when Maggs Jnr. was given out LBW by one of his team mates (it was going over the stumps), and he duly channelled that inner anger, and smashed his way to achieve a highly unlikely win. There were two mad moments in the final over: 1) Vinay hit the off-stump with a delivery, only for the bail to stay in position. 2) Vinay and DP were convinced Maggs Snr. had snicked one behind, but the batsman and umpire were convinced he didnít. But hey, these things happen.
So, in summary, they won, we lost, and it just went to show how the game of cricket can still throw up some absurd surprises. Itís also worth mentioning that this was a fun contest, against one of our other longtime Highgate-Wood-sharing-clubs, and played in the right spirit by both teams.
In this wonky image below we Vinay preparing to face a delivery.
Written By: J.Gower