Sunday, May 06, 2007

Maddogs Vs Littleton (PICF) 5/5/07 - By JPM

The weary Dogs were energized by the youthful vigor of Wilson (not a sentence one writes very often, but in the context of the Festival squad, all is relative.). Quirk's run of toss wins came to an end at 2, so the Dogs fielded on a scorching morning at Merion.

The Littleton openers went off like the proverbial rockets, scoring at over 10 an over for the first 6 or so overs, smashing boundaries to all parts of the ground and prompting a re-shuffling of the bowling attack. Boyke, who had turned an ankle, and Santosh being replaced by Wilson and Quirk. Wilson was smashed for 3 fours, and Quirk was also attacked as the slog-fest continued. Eventually, Das retired for 53 scored out of 75 in about 8 overs, which reduced the run rate a little, helped By Quirk and Wilson settling into a groove of sorts.

Quirk took the first wicket with the score on 102, Fernando being nicely stumped by Bannerjee for 10 as the batsman advanced and missed. The next wicket fell to a strange run out, Kulkarni driving Quirk into the covers where Boyke made a half stop, deflecting the ball out to Moore in the deep, who flicked the ball up to Wilson, who fired a return to Quirk, who beat the rather confused batsman to the stumps in a foot race to be run out for 35 (1/4 run-out credits to each contributor). But still the Littleton batsmen poured on the runs. Wolf bowled a couple of decent overs at a bad time to be bowling, Quirk ended a very useful spell, and Prasanna and Harrison did all they could to stem the tide.

Prasanna bowled Dwaram for 46 and Aprat for 12, while Harrison's excellent spell was rewarded when Bannerjee stumped Kolaraja for 21. The last wicket fell to a sacrificial run out off the last ball of the innings, Bannerjee doing what was necessary. The final total of 201 for 6 was less than it looked like at one stage, more than it might have been had the fielding been sharper and the catching better, with Wilson and Harrison being the unluckiest bowlers from that perspective. But this was an understandably tired, and old, Dogs side.

Boyke 2-0-16-0
Santosh 2-0-17-0
Wilson 5-0-46-0
Quirk 5-0-34-1
Wolf 2-0-17-0
Harrison 5-0-37-1
Prasanna 4-0-36-2

Obviously, we needed a fast start, and to some extent Lawrence and Quirk provided it by putting on 23 in the first 2.3 overs, before Quirk was run out for 5 (6 balls) attempting a tight single. Prasanna hit hard but not for long enough, being bowled for 10 (7 balls, 1 x 4), attempting a rather lavish pull-drive (OK, a slog to most of usŠ). Boyke was caught in two minds, never a good idea for a "natural" and snicked a catch to the keeper for 5 (5 balls), Wilson was very harshly adjudged LBW far down the track for 1 (4 balls), and the same fate, albeit a lot closer to his stumps awaited Taiwo (2, 3 balls), leaving the innings in an official mess at 75 for 5 in the 11th over.

Lawrence had contributed the lion's share of those runs, the old war-horse resuming normal service in yet another classic, and classy knock, going through all his range of shots and batting chancelessly until he was forced to retire on 51 (36 balls, 5 x 4) soon after being joined by Moore. Accompanied now by Wolf, Moore played much his usual game, lacking the power to score at over 8 an over against well spread fields on a large ground. Wolf's game was much the same, scoring at 5 or 6 an over with no problem but the required rate of over 8 being that bit beyond him too. Both players batted sensibly, hitting what they could and generally running well, in a stand of around 65 in about 11 or so overs, before Wolf pulled across the line and was blatantly LBW for a good 23 (30 balls, 1 x 4). Moore ground it out to the bitter end, receiving 45 balls and remarkably failing to hit any of them for 4 on his way to 40 not out. Hazrrison contributed 4 not out from 5 balls at the end as the Dogs' innings closed on 155 for 6 from 25 overs, leading to a loss by 46 runs.

OK, the record shows we had a 1-3 record, the same as last year, but we had a very old squad shorn of some leading lights and very thin on class batting. The bowling was stronger, the fielding average considering the toughness of the schedule and the fitness levels of the players. But everyone enjoyed themselves, and Quirk did a great job of getting everyone involved to the greatest extent possible, commensurate with trying to win all the games (and with a 2-2 toss record, he turned an important corner!)

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