Mad Dogs vs Yale Bulldogs 4/21/07
The first home game of the new season was played on a glorious spring day, warm, sunny, perfect cricketing weather. MDP was looking in excellent condition, with the pitch newly rolled (thanks James Cox and David Johnson!). With several of the team's superstars (and also Keith and Tony) missing in the West Indies, the social side came out en masse. The skipper, Tom Haydon, did what all Dogs' skippers do, and lost the toss. Bannerjee and Taiwo opened the Dog's innings and the first ball of the season was, predictably, a wideŠ.. With the help of many more of the same, the score had reached 23 in the 4th over when the ball flew off the top edge of Bannerjee's back, his pull therefore ending in the hands of third man, out for 2 (11 balls). Kojima helped Taiwo add another 18 before the former, after batting solidly, attempted a lavish off drive to be caught at mid-off for 7 (14 balls). Taiwo fell two runs later (43 for 3 in over 8), plumb LBW for 15 (20 balls, 1 x 4, 1 x 6), a characteristically inelegant but effective innings adorned by a couple of meatily mowed boundaries. Smith and Sood then assembled the inning's major stand, 49 in 10 overs, in contrasting styles, Smith all technique and elegance, Sood neither of the above, but by hustling and bustling, nurdling and hitting, he picked up runs by various ways, and rapidly. The stand was ended when Sood lofted a catch to leave with an excellent 35 to his credit (35 balls, 2 x 4, 1 x 6, the latter a clean hit over mid on). Prasanna hit his first two balls for 4, then was caught in the deep off the third (8, 3 balls, 2 x 4). Gee, seen that before! Haydon joined Smith, but at 115 for 6 off 21.3 overs, Smith's nice knock ended on 16 (37 balls, 1 x4) when he was stumped off the opening bowler as he dragged his back foot (see below for whether this was a legitimate dismissal). Haydon fell soon after, slapping a lousy long-hop straight to point, a ball he himself should bowl more often to get some wicketsŠ.. (2 from12 balls). This left the Dogs potentially in trouble, 124 for 7 in the 24th over. Moore, soon after coming in, survived a controversial stumping attempt when the 'keeper, who had been standing back to the opening bowler, suddenly ran up to the stumps in mid delivery and removed the bails when Moore missed a near wide on the off-side. Initially given out, the batsman correctly but firmly pointed out that the keeper's stunt was illegal under the Laws of Crickets. After some debate, Moore was recalled from the pavilion to play a nice knock as "closer", ensuring the overs were used up. Major focused on crease-occupancy while Moore pushed singles around more at less at will, and struck 3 fours as well. Major was bowled slogging off the last ball of the penultimate over (4, 16 balls), ending a highly useful stand of 28 in 5 overs. Simon contributed 2 not out (3 balls) in the last over, with Moore also undefeated on 27 (29 balls, 3 x 4) and Santosh not called on to bat. The final total of 160 for 8 off the 30 overs was deemed satisfactory by the more experienced players. The Yale bowling was generally good, and the pitch was playing well but with some irregular bounce, so scoring over 5 an over wasn't at all bad.
Simon and Santosh formed a lively opening attack, both bowling well to keep the early scoring in check. Simon bowled his 6 overs in one spell, taking 3 wickets, all bowled by rapid full length, swinging deliveries to crumble the Yale top order (Bashir for 7, Farooqui for 7 and Sandeep for 18). A few too many wides from each of the openers was the only down-side to excellent spells, Santosh being unlucky not to take a wicket. Major and Haydon then came into the attack, Haydon bowling really well, with excellent control and sharp pace to keep it very tight from one end. Unfortunately, at the other end, Major had a major attack of The Yips, the most dramatic demonstration of the bowlers' curse since the last time Thornton was seen anywhere near a ballŠŠ Alternate deliveries bounced three or four times or sailed over the batsmen's heads as the unfortunate bowler lost his usual control. But ahead the mayhem, opener Hunaiyan was so surprised to receive a nearly normal ball that he charge it, missed and was stumped by Bannerjee for 23, yards down the track. Strange game cricketŠŠ However, by this stage Yale, at 103 for 4 from 16 overs, were well ahead of the scoring rate, and seemed likely to win if enough of their players could stick around long enough. Haydon and Prasanna soon put the screws on, Haydon bowling Rabbani for 5 and Vadera for 12, and taking a return catch from Jimmy for 18, just when the latter was looking to slog his side to \victory. At the other end, Prasanna was almost unplayable, not taking a wicket but proving truly hard to score off, as the run rate was ratcheted right down. Prasanna also contributed to the run out of Khan for 0, with a throw that Bannerjee diverted cleverly back onto the stumps while in a full dive. Moore, on for Haydon, soon bowled Kaytes for 1, and with Kojima and Smith bowling an over each at the end, Haydon was using his resources wisely. Prasanna returned for the last over with Yale 12 short, to ensure that nothing silly happened at the death, and a desperation run-out ensued, Jia being dismissed for 2 by a thrown from Simon to Banerjee. The Yale score of 148 all out from 29.4 overs left the Dogs deserved winners by 12 runs. Haydon handled the game beautifully, getting everyone involved while still ensuring the game was won. Overall, an excellent day. In retrospect, it seemed likely that Smith's stumping dismissal was also illegal, but unlike a 50-year old veteran, a 14-year old wouldn't know the more arcane rules, and the older players didn't really understand what had happened until the second occurrence. Yale played the game in the right spirit, and simply didn't realize that what used once to be legal was outlawed several year's ago - handshakes all around.