January 21 2019
For once I attended training. It is not something I do often but should have done more often. But why did I go today? It was because we were playing Queanbeyan this weekend and my gut feeling was I will be required to bat. With that thinking in mind, I needed to get some practice under my belt considering historically how thrifty Queanbeyan 5th grade bowlers have been as they put it on the spot and wait for the mistakes.
There wasn’t much attendance at the nets when I arrived and had noticed that a couple of people who arrived after me went straight to the nets. Rather than taking their lead (considering they are 1st/2nd grade cricketers), I completed my mandatory thirty catches first. For that, I requested Dom Tran to hit them and I’m grateful that he helped me out and suggested on how I could improve my throwing. It is important for me to practice watching the ball through and developing the confidence (especially with the high-balls) after the pre-season setback. Confidence was indeed high despite a few drop catches but I can only feel that I can put the setback behind me only when I have taken a high-ball in a match.
Even though it was warm, I decided to bowl from a slightly longer run-up and continued my good bowling form from the weekend. I continued to get the desired movement when I angled my wrist and but my consistency needed some work especially when I am tired (after taking the catches). However I had some positives from the session. I had Harry Chittick edging an out-swinger that would have been taken by the keeper before giving Matty Andrews a hard time. He played and missed one that bounced and move and then edged a couple into the slip cordon. I had won those battles but as it was always the case against him, he won the war.
Then I had my turn to bat to finish the session which was why I attended training the first place. Clearly though, I was rusty since I only batted twice in matches all season. But it was important to shred the rust in practice considering it’s Queanbeyan. I was mostly facing spin but while the execution wasn’t quite there, my thought processes were sound which allowed me to get back or forward depending on how the ball is coming out.
January 26 2019
It was going to be a pretty hot day today. Temperatures touching 40 degrees celsius. Because of that, the match is to start an hour early at 12pm. Adam O’Connor declares that it looks like a road and announced that he’ll bat if he wins the toss. As it turned out he didn’t and we had to bowl in the heat. As agreed upon by Adam and Adrian Brunker the Queanbeyan captain, we were to take drinks at every 10 over spells which probably made sense.
At the first drinks break, we had them at 3 for 25. Vishal Patel claimed Peter Jensen and Daniel Clugston in consecutive deliveries before Rahul Desai taking a one handed catch with his right hand to dismiss A Brunker. That was reward for a tight spell for me that yielded 5 overs, 2 maidens, 1 for 6. I had got the ball to move away from the right handers but the pitch hardly had any carry which was why Daniel Heinrich kept up to the stumps.
At the next drinks break, it was 5 for 50. Adam took a caught and bowled to dismiss Tiwary before Josh Benny got a wicket himself as Michael Weston took a sharp catch at short cover to dismiss K Brunker. The score moved to 7 for 80 at the next drinks break as Adam claimed two wickets in an over. The first was a diving effort by Westo at short cover to dismiss Paton before Adam got one to turn and beat the defences of L Hunter.
Having done well to restrict them this far, we soon lost the plot and conceded 52 runs in the final 10 overs as we undid the effort we had put in as Jimmy Martin and Harendra Kumar made useful 20s to push them to 9 for 132. I got a fingertip to a chance at short-midwicket against Martin before dropping a high-ball hit by Kumar having done the hard work in getting to the ball but missed it as I was unable to steady myself at all and therefore was on the run.
But I redeemed myself. Coming back onto bowl and trapped Kumar LBW as he tried hitting across the line but I leaked over a run a ball in my first three overs to finish with 2 for 26. Vishal who later had Martin caught well in close by Darren Neville finished with 3 for 32 while Adam finished with impressive figures of 3 for 11.
We needed 133 to win as long as we put our heads down we should chase them down. However, our innings mirrored theirs. Rahul chipped Clugston to mid-off which was taken by Couch for 12. Niraj Mehta got bowled by Jensen playing across the line for 11. Daniel trapped LBW by Clugston playing across the line for 1. Sumanth Purelli was brilliantly caught by A Brunker in short cover off Clugston for 4. Westo trapped LBW off K Brunker despite pitching outside leg for 22. Vishal caught at mid-wicket off Couch for 11. Josh caught at mid-on off Martin for 16. It was 7 for 85 and I came into bat. Against Jimmy Martin, I was tentative but survived before Adam brought the score for 98 at the final drinks break. The equation was 35 off the last 10 overs.
I openly said to Adam that I had to come down the wicket instead of being tentative against Jimmy Martin. It was a gamble but I had taken it before against his bowling last season. First ball after drinks, Martin flighted over and with A Brunker fielding a short cover for my tentative pushes I managed to come down the wicket and play a lofted off-drive and ran three. When Adam took a further 5 runs off the over. It was soon 27 off the last nine. As it turned out Martin never bowled again as the pacers were preferred to control the run rate which worked in their favour when Adam and I played out maidens in consecutive overs. You could have argued that we should have at least showed some initiative to score off those overs but I would defend our approach given that we were the only capable batsmen left and so we had to take it deep which we did. By the time we hung around to the 37th over in which we needed 17 more, I said to Adam, “I’ll go for it and you should hang around and finish the game”. I managed to hit two twos of Clugston after he bowled a wide but I missed the last delivery due to tiredness and was grateful that I was given out LBW because I was tired. I made 10 and our partnership was 37 which brought us back into the game which sadly was later lost when Dom Tran was unable to put bat on ball in the final over and we lost by 6 runs.
Anyone can pinpoint the real reason why we lost this winnable game but the truth it will be hard since Queanbeyan won the crucial moments. Nevertheless, out of the games I played against Queanbeyan, this is the closest we have got to beating them and at least I played a part in this match.
Looking back it was a good call to attend training this week to get that batting practice. The fact I made 10 in a crucial partnership that gave us a winning chance wouldn’t have been possible had I not anticipated a batting opportunity against the Queanbeyan 5th Grade bowlers. I can put down my efforts this week to good planning.