I never classified myself as a Twenty20 cricketer due to my inability to be brave with the bat, as I always would like to occupy the crease. But such thoughts had to be put aside as I was called up to play due to lack of numbers.
When I learned that we were in ANU South Oval, I was back to where I used to practice with a couple of friends from work. The outfield was very evenly cut, and the pitch seems a good cricket wicket.
Unfortunately, we lost the toss and were fielding. I later learned we were using a white ball for the match, which meant I had to borrow a spare one-day shirt from Chakra, the captain. Overall it was a good experience playing with a white ball for the first time. The feedback was mixed. Some said the ball does move a lot initially before becoming soft and comfortable to hit. While some people said the white ball doesn’t act any different to its red counterpart except is gets heavily scuffed up, the more it gets used.
ANU was off to a flying start with 29 runs on the board after 3 overs, which prompted Chakra to trial spin through Rony Sood. It worked immediately as he claimed an early wicket and kept the runs down in his four-over quota. Similarly, Adam O’Connor continued his excellent work from yesterday to bowl out with 1 for 25 from his full quota. I was hopeful of a chance once Adam was finished, but that chance never came.
I could have looked at two sides of the coin. One was that the fast outfield, which the batsmen could use the pace to score their runs. The other side was that the spinners were also taken some tap due to some good footwork by the ANU batsmen. My contribution was a sore shoulder, and ANU finished with 6 for 170 from their 20 overs.
Chakra spoke about the need to time the ball given the fast outfield, which was the focus for the first six overs of our chase. Dean Wickham perished in the first over, but that didn’t stop us from a rollicking start courtesy of Vijay Selvarathnam. He smashed 22 in one over, including a hook shot for six that landed out of the ground. He made 36 in quick time, but it was adjudged LBW, and then our innings slid down as the wickets kept tumbling, and the runs continued to dry up.
I ended coming in at number eight, which wasn’t quite the confidence booster I needed, but I thankfully made the most of what I got on a good batting surface. I took some quick singles, punished a short ball to the boundary (which was my first in grade for Ginninderra), and ran hard between wickets. I only made 9, but I managed to add 26 in three overs with Adam as we challenged each other while running between the wickets. We could only muster 8 for 149 in reply, and hence we lost by 21 runs. As this was a knockout comp, ANU proceeded to play the semi against our cross-town rivals, Wests.
I felt that I shouldn’t have turned up, given my lack of opportunity, and I knew I was against it if we had too many bowlers. I’ve told our head selector JP that I’ll be happy to stay in 5ths unless there’s a bowler shortage in the higher grades.