Mad Dogs vs UBS (5/26/07) - by JPM
Haydon won the toss and elected to field, probably in the knowledge that the Dogs were severely under-strength and might be rolled over if we batted first against what are usually pretty strong opposition. The skipper and Smith opened the bowling, the youngster taking a wicket in his first when Dhanu, after one powerful hit for 4 showed the bowler way too little respect and was beaten by an in-swinger that cannoned off the pads into the stumps. Achal then hit a few meaty drives off both bowlers before Haydon delivered that traditional wicket-taking ball, the full toss, to see Achal drive it hard to mid-off where Sood held an excellent drive in front of his thighs, saving himself from considerable damage by the appropriate use of the hands. Baby and Dhwanil then batted really well in a stand of 62, seeing off both opening bowlers and treating Harrison very roughly in his first bowl of the season at MDP. This was more a case of good batting than bad bowling, as both players had a very good eye for anything that wasn't pitched just right.
At the other end, Thomson had a bad case of the yips, failing to find the mat with any regularity in an over containing 10 wides, several double-bouncers, 15 runs and a wicketŠŠ. The latter came about when Moore, sensing the left-handed Baby's frustration at not getting anything to hit, worked out what might happen if Thomson delivered a ball that bounced on the mat and only once, so wandered back into the baseball diamond. The very next legitimate ball was pulled right down the fielder's throat, much to Baby's chagrin and Thomson's glee (funny game, cricketŠ..). Dhwanil then departed in Moore's first over, a low full toss being sliced out to deep cover where Bhuiyan held a very good low catch running in - a somewhat unlucky end to an excellent knock by the UBS skipper. At the other end, Taiwo had the same problems as Thomson, delivering 17 wides and a no-ball in what was nominally a 3-over spell but which turned out be 6 oversŠ.. But he too took a wicket, again to the batsman's disgust, as Bharyan drove a full toss out to Som who took a well-judged catch out at deep mid-on.
At the other end, Moore was providing some stability amidst the mayhem, settling into a well-controlled spell in which flighted balls and quicker yorkers were inter-changed to keep the batsmen off-balance. Rubal eventually lost patience and charged down the track, had a massive heave at a high-flighted ball, struck nothing but air and turned to watch Lawrence flick off just the one bail (earning more style points than for Jonas's "smash all the stumps flat" technique). Two balls later, Diryesh was utterly stuffed by a quicker ball that seemed to be spearing down the leg-side but which swung out late to flatten the off stump. Another quick yorker accounted for Amit, struck on the back foot right in front of middle to give Moore his fourth wicket. Som, in his first game for six years, replaced Taiwo at the top end and showed that he was capable of bowling at this level, generally getting the ball to bounce only once and between the wicketsŠŠ He too took a wicket, Niryander pulling one high to mid-wicket where Moore took a running diving catch (not words written very often). With the score on 168 for 9 from 23 overs, the Dogs were actually in the game at this point, but a bit of UBS-ology then took place as old adversary Nikhil came into bat at 10, clad in shorts and a T-shirt after turning up to watch (and then departing between innings). Nikhil, of course, is a class act and he struck a rapid 28 not out, hitting 12 off Moore's last (rather ragged) over and 18 off Som's as the UBS score sailed past 200.
Haydon came back and kept it quiet, then Harrison ended the innings by bowling Hanif through a wild slog to give himself a deserved wicket. The final UBS score of 205 all out in 27.2 overs owed a great deal to 55 wides and 3 no balls, a pretty disgraceful performance by a Dogs' side. True, UBS are notoriously "stringent" on what constitutes a wide (as, then, are we reciprocally), but if the bowlers can't even hit the cut strip, there's a problem. On the plus side, the fielding was very good, with some excellent catches and stumpings taken.
A challenging total to chase, however, given what looked to be a pretty thin batting line-up. We needed a good start, but didn't get it, as Dhwanil bowled really well, mixing up flight and seam in a challenging spell. Bhuiyan (1, 4 balls) and Lawrence (6, 11 balls) both fell LBW to balls that seemed to genuinely beat them. Haydon was a bit unlucky, timing a cut very well but hitting it head-high to Dhwanil at backward point (, 21 balls, 1 x 4).
Kimberley joined the ranks of Dhwanil's LBW victims (1, 2 balls). Sood and Smith batted steadily in a useful stand of 21 before Sood fell to Dhwanil, hitting a lovely straight six then hitting only air as the bowler teased him to do it againŠ.. (15, 23 balls, 1 x 6, 1 x 4). Moore came and went, never really getting into synch with the situation before driving a catch out to deep mid-off (4, 13 balls). Smith and Harrison put on 35 for the 7th wicket, Harrison batting particularly well, hitting three lovely looking shots for 4 before being bowled on the drive by Baby's left-arm, well-flighted spin (19, 18 balls).
Smith's top-scoring knock of 20 (28 balls), 1 x 4) ended when he drove a return catch to Rubal, but this was a really good knock, illuminated by a glorious off-drive for 4 that was almost a six. Taiwo fell for 0 (4 balls) hitting one straight up in the air but not very far. Som and Thompson then batted on for a more overs, getting some useful time in the middle, before the latter was bowled for 2 (12 balls) leaving Som with 1 not out (13 balls) as the innings closed on 135 all out from 25 overs, a defeat by 70 runs, more than it perhaps should have been, but given the weakness of the Dogs' side, perhaps not unexpected.
UBS bowled 48 wides and 3 no-balls, so no fewer than 103 wides and 6 no balls were delivered (that's 16.3 oversŠ). As noted, UBS are traditionally tight on wides, inviting retaliation, but honestly, there comes a point when we all collectively have to something about this situation and change the prevailing standards.