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Heriots 3s  v Murrayfield DAFS 2s

Saturday 28th May 2022
Goldenacre II (Grass)

By Saurabh Raman

Murrayfield DAFS 2 (20) – 221 for 9 off 40 overs
LV Chinni 96, O Pickard 55,
S Raman 23, A Scott 2-22

Heriots 3 (10) – 200 for 8 off 40 overs
B Shanmugavadivel 78, N Podugu 44, J Wilson-Barlow 2-22,
T Dulipalli 2-43, R Mohamed 2-34

Murrayfield DAFS 2 won by 21 runs

It’s Saturday again! I woke up with anticipation for yet another match day with the weather forecast for a bright and sunny day. For my wife – cricket is as annoying as the insect chirping incessantly and she still can’t understand why do we waste a beautiful day on something like this. Little does she know that it’s not just the Saturday where we waste our efforts on it, rather majority of our week instead. In between the work calls, I shadow practice the glorious cover drives (in my head) with an array of pristine bats lined up against my office wall. That’s another of her concern as she doesn’t understand why do I need so many bats. In response I would ask her why does she need so many bags and shoes, if only I wasn’t too fond of living my life happily for the next few years! Good thing that she doesn’t understand cricket and definitely doesn’t know that I have more bats than my scoring ability for now.

Moving back to the game day, I was confident that I had done enough home chores to be on her good books. The experiment for letting my wife and kid have a nice day out in Edinburgh town centre whilst I play cricket for the day worked wonders the previous week. Last Saturday it was indeed helpful that we started early as the Roseburn magic on batting teams helped reduce the game duration and I felt as if I had cracked the code of balancing matrimonial harmony with cricket. Soon we started for the town centre, I dropped my wife and son at the George Street, along with my bank cards of course! Initial mission – success!

Not long afterwards, walking up to the carefully curated Heriot’s ground, another wee aspiring young cricketer not much taller than Lewis or Finlay, questioned the number of bats I had been carrying to the ground. I tell you, the shorter they are, the cheekier they are as we know from our own wee members.

Ram, undisputed tossing champion, called it right again and opted to bat on a green top. Immediately he threw in a curve ball as he suggested to come lower in the order and give it a bash, that left us wondering for a partner for me to open the batting with. After a few names being discussed and the overtly unenthusiastic response, I threw in Olly’s name and we agreed. Walking up to the pitch, typical convo – you 1 or 2 mate? Urm… lets see… pick one end and proceed… I ended up on the opening end instead.

As I took the guard, the pitch resembled Wimbledon centre court with distinctive lines drawn horizontally across the pitch. Swathes of green patches intercepted by relatively lesser green patches resembled a green zebra to my amusement however not amused at the prospect of what to expect. At the other end taking his mark was ‘Poundland Tom Cruise’ aka Robertson as he handed over his aviators to Maggi standing in to umpire.

First ball (no ball) left on its way going down the leg side enroute to the wicket keeper as it skidded from the green patch on the pitch. Next ball, left on its own now this time outside off as it skidded from another green patch. Third ball, landed on the dry patch and shot up from length, kissing my gloves on the way to keeper’s gloves. A repeat of the dismissal last game as I trundled back towards my kit sulking as I walked back. I freaking hate cricket!

Roshan, one of the original names thrown in the hat for opening, joined Olly as we were 1 for 1 in the first over. Roshan faced a couple of deliveries from Robertson before one kept low and thudded into his stumps leaving MDAFS reeling at 1 for the loss of 2 wickets by the end of dramatic first over.

Thomson took the new ball from the Castle end however the military medium pace for the over went without any incidents as Sutha and Olly negotiated the over comfortably. However at the beginning of third over Sutha got another delivery skidding through his defences as he heard the death rattle and stumps broken as MDAFS were now limping at 5 for 3 wickets into the third over as LV Chinny walked into the middle. LV was fuming since the last week as he was dismissed for a duck by the opposite gender in the previous game. He meant business this time as he was regaling his displeasure over to every team member.

Robertson now was struggling with his concentration as a barrage of foot no balls left him frustrated with his run up. Fortunately for us both Olly and LV were resolute in seeing out the danger as they blocked anything in the danger area and left alone anything that needed to be. The sensible approach, seldomly unseen within our ranks amused us all from the sidelines as an occasional shot of anger was always on the horizon as LV was playing against his natural instincts. The finely maintained outfield helped with the score as the ball started to race to the boundaries for any misfield and any shot in the gaps definitely reaped handsome rewards with ample runs.

Initial panic and madness around loss of wickets was now replaced by confidence as this partnership grew steadily. From 5 for 3 we approached a 100 run partnership as LV crossed his landmark of 50 runs. There were of course LV like incidents in between as he was asking to change our own team mate from umpiring as he thought that we weren’t giving enough no balls; also he was keen to ask for his personal score pretty often so that he could still score a bit more than his friend Meghana. Anyone interested in that story could speak to LV directly and I am sure he will more than oblige! 😉

LV now looking set and salivating at the other bowling changes started to free his arms and score briskly. As he neared 90s, he kept on pestering Sutha (umpiring) to keep on checking on his personal score whilst we tried to keep him calm but not to much avail.

Olly on strike, defended a ball from Kelly to short mid wicket and despite no interest or call from Olly, LV started sprinting towards the other end. Kelly tumbling over whilst gathering the ball still somehow managed to lob the ball towards the non strikers end only for LV to be caught languishing and distraught at 96! LV did look set for a bigger score however this brain fade did result in us losing a wicket nonetheless a very fruitful partnership of 145 runs came to an end with MDAFS now 150 for 4 wickets in 28 overs.

200 was definitely on cards now due to this partnership which put us in a very strong situation as compared to where we were at the start of the innings. Maggi now joined Olly and both started playing with urgency as we were now in final 10 overs of the innings. Maggi finally departed for 6 trying to up the scoring as he edged one to the keeper.

Olly now took up the mantle of hitting as he hit a straight 6 before getting caught out for a very well made 55. Ram came in next and he together with Adi played cautiously for a while before trying to up the score however both succumbed after a handy contribution of 22 and 10 respectively before Hruday, Josh and Tharun combined to provide the final impetus. MDAFS finished their innings with a healthy total of 221 for 9 off their 40 overs despite the initial collapse.

This is the third time 2s have scored a 200+ score this season whilst batting first. Fourth time we were chasing a small total against Grange so didn’t need to score 200.

After a decent tea, whilst witnessing a championship fixture of Heriots playing on their centre ground, we prepared to start the defence. It was already past 4 pm when our innings ended and it was close to 5 pm when we were back on the field. Fast outfield was a reminder that we couldn’t sit back and needed to be active on the field to defend our score.

New ball was taken by the successful pair of Josh and Tharun as per the previous game. Josh coming in from Castle end immediately settled down to brilliant line and length. Josh cleaned up Hassan (ex MDAFS) as we took the wicket in our first over. Thomson at the other end wanted to be positive and hit a boundary off Tharun’s first over from the other end however Tharun was able to keep him quiet for the rest of the over.

Thomson trying one too many shots attempted the same against Josh this time however got his wickets rearranged leaving Heriots at 5 for 2 in the 3rd over.

Tharun now settled into this rhythm and kept their southpaw Litster playing and missing and induced an edge which I took diving to my left beguiling my stocky frame. It was now Heriots turn to feel the heat as they were now struggling at 5 for 3 wickets. We thought that this would make Heriots a bit circumspect as we did in our innings, however they took the attack back to us. There were some clean hits to the fence from Podugu and Sudhanaboina however majority of them were close chances which we couldn’t take. Podugu trying one too many shots incidentally pulled his back going for a shot which LV and Ram happily saw dropping in between both of them rather than going for the catch. Podugu retired himself to take some rest as the opposition skipper Balaji came to the middle.

Roshan and Hruday replaced Josh and Tharun however Balaji was surgically finding gaps through the slip cordon through his bat’s edge which clearly will have a sponsorship deal soon.

Sudhanaboina attempted a few shots off Roshan and eventually holed out as Tharun took a splendid catch in the deep as Heriots were still in the hunt at 122 for 4 in 24th over.

Robertson now joined Balaji in the middle however Olly shivered his timbers as he got out for 2 runs. Podugu now returned to the crease and attempted to carry on with the aggressive strokeplay however he got bowled by Roshan instead. Still 70 odd needed off last 10 overs with 4 wickets in hand, Balaji combined with Kelly to hit a few runs whilst riding his luck. We dropped a few catches as Balaji crossed his 50 and starting to look more threatening.

With 46 runs now needed off last 36 balls and both Balaji and Kelly riding their luck, we brought back the pair of Tharun and Hruday to combine for the last 6 overs.

Tharun clean bowled Kelly and Palaniswamy coming in at number 9 couldn’t play Tharun at all as the runs dried up and pressure started to mount. It was now all left to Balaji as 24 runs were now needed of last 6 balls for Hruday to bowl the 40th over. Hruday ended Balaji’s misery as he castled him and Balaji’s threatening innings of 78 came to close in the last over and with it ended Heriot’s chances of coming any close to the target. Both the teams on the ground for full 40 overs and the game finished around 8 pm!

In the end MDAFS successfully defended the score and continued their successful season with now 4 wins out of 4 completed matches and still sit atop the Division 3 of ESCA.

Resilience of our middle order propped us to put a very respectable score buoyed by LV and Olly’s batting was aptly supported by excellent effort by our bowlers and fielders.

In the end it was befitting that our innings was supported by superb death bowling from Hruday and Tharun who we sadly but very fondly say goodbye to. They both now move out of Edinburgh and have contributed immensely to the successes of MDAFS over the last couple of years. I am sure we will jointly wish them well however they very well know that they are part of MDAFS family and would be welcomed back to play for us again as and when the opportunity arises.

UTM!

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