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Murrayfield DAFS 2 v Grange 3

Saturday 21th May 2022
Roseburn Park (Grass)

By Saurabh Raman

Murrayfield DAFS 2 (20) – 76 for 7 off 26.5 overs
M Akerkar 31*, N Robertson-Jack 4-7, C Edwards 2-17

Grange 3s (5) – 75ao off 29.2 overs
A Mcgregor 20, R Mohamed 2-10, T Dulipalli 2-16,
Wilson-Barlow 2-16, Reddy 2-6

Murrayfield DAFS 2 win by 3 wickets

Uncertainty of weather conditions in the afternoon, coupled with the rugby game overlap enabled both MDAFS 2s and Grange 3s to play an hour earlier than scheduled 1 pm.

One look at the condition of the pitch coincided with the expletives under one breath. We are used to seeing a not-too-batting-friendly pitch at Fortress Roseburn however this spectacle baring itself in front of us was hard to fathom. There were footmarks on both the ends of the pitch alongside subtle indentations across the playing areas which resembled a worn out test match pitch. Little did we know at this point in time that a test match special was required to be the difference between a win or a loss!

Despite Steven’s significant effort with the MPS Moon-rover, the pitch didn’t get any better than the surface of moon after a few rolls. As per the law of averages, Ram eventually lost the toss for the first time this season. Unsuspectingly Grange put us to bowl first making full use of the wicket before it deteriorated further.

New ball pair of Josh and Tharun were up against Chatt and Grange skipper Davies as the latter was in a hurry to finish the game early for a visit to the pub before rugby commenced. It didn’t take long for us to draw first blood as Tharun induced an edge from Chatt taken brilliantly by LV Chinni diving towards his right at gully. This was first of LV’s three remarkable catches. Few overs later Tharun got their number 3 – Mitchell, as the ball shot off the length to take the under edge of glove as I took a low catch to my left. Josh then joined in the fun as he pegged back the stumps of Davies and then Hood in short succession to leave Grange struggling at 14 for 4 wickets off 7 overs.

McGregor and Wearmouth from Grange then stabilised their innings as they attempted to block out the danger being posed by our bowling. There were plenty of play and miss from the batsmen as the pitch was making the ball go low or bounce unexpectedly from length. We definitely didn’t want to chase too many on this pitch and it was time to make a change and bring Roshan along with our junior debutant Frank.

The Grange pair partnership was growing in confidence as they were helped with some healthy dose of extras from our bowling until Roshan finally castled a resolute Wearmouth. Their partnership of 32 runs brought them back in the game with Grange now at 46 for 5 wickets off 19 overs. Frank was soon rewarded with his first scalp for MDAFS as McGregor tried to cut a delivery playing straight into the hands of LV at point. McGregor’s crucial and patient innings of 20 came to an end as Grange were now 47 for 6 off 22 overs.

New pair of Grant Docherty and Catherine attempted to play with restraint as their eventual partnership of 18 runs (12 extras!) was broken by ‘Starboy’ Hruday with another catch from LV at gully. Grant now feeling the heat, both from the MDAFS bowling and the sunny Scottish weather, pulled his calf muscle and Ram graciously agreed to allow a runner substitute for Grant. This however did produce a comedy moment in the day as Grant playing a shot towards square leg attempted to run himself whilst his runner stood still next to the leg umpire still commenting on the shot!

Grant’s misery came to an end as he attempted to leave a viciously spinning Roshan’s delivery which knocked back his stumps leaving Grange at 67 for 8 in 27 overs. Next over Roshan scored a direct hit to run out Metcalf and soon after Hruday bowled young Zia as Grange finished off at 75 all out with their number 9 Niamh finished not out on 5.

Grange’s top scorer was 25 extras out of their total of 75. We knew that the wearing pitch will not get easier to bat on and we will need to apply ourselves to overhaul this tricky total on this Roseburn deck.

Ram and I opened as we attempted to recreate the opening partnership of previous games of seeing out the new ball threat. We however had not much answers to the questions being posed by the pitch as it was now our turn to experience the variable bounce. After seeing out few balls and quick running we managed to start our chase. Soon after a ball from Hood bounced off the length catching me off guard and looping off my gloves to a diving first slip. We lost our first wicket with our score now at 12 for 1 wicket off 3 overs. Roshan, on the back of a brilliant 50 in his previous innings, joined Ram in the middle as the left armer Niamh continued to bowl impressive line and length swinging the ball into the right handed batsmen. One such ball went through the defence of Roshan and caught him plumb in front for a duck as he got out LBW leaving MDAFS at 16 for 2. LV came in and was next of Niamh’s victims as he played against his instincts and attempted to defend only for the ball to catch the shoulder off his bat and loop to gully for a simple catch. LV didn’t trouble the scorers either and MDAFS were now 18 for 3 wickets off 8 overs. Olly now came to the crease and against the run of play scored the first boundary for MDAFS. Ram was witnessing the collapse from the other end and despite his efforts he now was the next one to fall to precise bowling of Niamh as the ball brushed his pads on to the stumps with MDAFS now 26 for the loss of 4 wickets.

Grange were mixing up their bowlers with the young Catherine now bowling from the Stadium end as she outfoxed Olly with the latter attempting to clear mid on but succumbing in the process. MDAFS were now 31 for the loss of 5 wickets with all top 5 batsmen scoring in single digits and two ducks.

Hruday joined Maggi in the middle and soon after got out LBW to Niamh as she scalped her fourth victim with MDAFS languishing at 37 for 6 off 16 overs.

Maggi meanwhile was now running out of partners as the manic procession of wickets continued to fall at the other end. Debutant Adi attempting one too many riffs on his air guitar eventually fell for nought to Catherine as she clean bowled him. MDAFS in dire straits (not the riff we wanted!) at 48 for 7, still about 30 shy off the target.

Maggi all this time needed someone to hang around whilst he could manage the chase on his own. Being an MDAFS veteran it was plain to see his experience playing on difficult pitches like this along with the mindset needed for this situation. Maggi blocked out the tricky deliveries and punished the rare loose balls. He looked for opportunities to score 2 runs in the gaps earlier in the over and played with the field to take a single off the last two balls of the over. Frank at the other end was the perfect partner for Maggi in this as he ably supported Maggi in this. Frank was happy to block out any balls barring a couple of occasions where he nearly offered an opportunity but above all played with purpose and maturity which was rarely shown by the batsmen before. In the end, this unbroken partnership of 28 runs saw us overhaul the victory target of 76 as MDAFS won by 3 wickets with more than 13 overs to spare.

An amazing victory secured under a very challenging situation, Maggi scored an unbeaten 31 runs as he was very wonderfully supported by young Frank also finishing not out at a very valuable contribution of 6 runs.

Another victory secured by MDAFS 2s to make it 3 wins out of 3 completed games to currently sit at the dizzying height on the top of Division 3. UTM!

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