Sat 11 August 18 Bank of England Won by 8 wkts
They 211/9 in 39 overs (Anindya Ghosh-Chowdhury 103, Milan Majithia 26, Bernard van Vuuren 3/29, Akhi Shailendra 3/43)
We 212/2 in 34 overs (Nitin Chaturvedi 61*, Sid Chhibbar 58*, Amit Shanker 33, Chetan Malhotra 26, Milan Majithia 2/53)
When the two captains walked out for the toss, there was one thought weighing on both of their minds. Where is the team? With 15 minutes to go, half of KCC was at a Google Maps estimated range of 20-60 minutes away. BoE’s situation was hardly better. So it was no surprise that when Nitin won the toss and chose to field, Tom Viegas was visibly pleased. Expectedly, Nitin (playing his first game at BoE) copped some criticism when he reported the decision back to the team. “But we always bat first at BoE” was the general summary of the dissenting voices. Neeraj, the resident BoE expert, had also sent a text with a similar message the day before the match – “Win the toss, bat first and score runs. It’s a road”. Nitin explained his logic thus – a) the pitch was a bit damp from overnight rain; and b) to force a result in the time game, it was perhaps time to test a new approach and chase. The more practical issue of fielding with only 9 players was strangely lost in all that grumbling until Nitin started setting the field.
To Nitin’s relief, Bernard ran though BoE’s top order and Sunny got another breakthrough. Both made full use of the conditions but Bernard in particular was lethal with his signature in-dipping rippers. Tabby chipped in with another in his first over. At 46 for 5, KCC was well and truly on top. There was a general sense of overconfidence and some gloated that maybe we should suggest playing 2 games. But the sun was coming out, the pitch was drying up, Anindya Ghosh-Chowdhury, after a scratchy start, was beginning to time the ball beautifully. The 6th wicket partnership between Anindya and Milan Majithia of 102 runs dented KCC’s complacency and if it were not for the prodigal son Akhi’s (very) late entry, BoE would have set an unreachable target. Bowling with anger (at his alarm clock or TfL?) he knocked the stuffing out of BoE’s spirited fightback. Anindya was run out shortly after completing a superb ton and BoE folded at 211 for 9 with the last man unavailable.
After a short tea, with all eyes on the clouds, KCC started the chase. BoE’s calculation was that we would have roughly 40 overs. Not trusting central Banks in these uncertain times, we decided it was safer to plan for 35 overs. Amit and Chetan were off like a rocket. They knocked off 74 runs in 15 overs before a double strike by the wily first change bowler, Milan Majithia, pegged KCC back. Sid and Nitin, conscious of the 35 over mark, steadied the innings briefly but had to keep the run rate up. Majithia was tricky and then there was Mo, teasing and tormenting with flight and dip. It started drizzling around the 25th over and within 4-5 overs had intensified significantly. BoE could have stopped the game and settle for a draw but kudos to their sportsmanship. Despite little hope of winning, they soldiered on.
Nitin hit the winning boundary in the 34th over and both teams rushed into the pavilion completely drenched but satisfied that a good day of cricket had been played. Bernard and Anindya were the deserved MoMs and both teams stayed long after the ceremony, deep in conversation ranging from economic theory to Brexit to … doing away with the toss in Test cricket!
Sat 12 August 17 Bank of England Drawn
We 253/4 in 39.1 overs (Amit Shanker 139*, Stef Nayar 52, Rohan Ghosh 26, Owen Thornbury 2/25)
They 196/9 in 37 overs (James Bain 102, Tom Viegas 21, Mo Dilshad 16, Ryan Konson 5/45, Chetan Singh 2/32, Neeraj Nayar 1/40)
It was a good toss to win on this perfect batting track at Roehampton and Neeraj had no hesitation in taking first strike. Alex Sabelli, spending the weekend here from Italy, and Amit Shanker opened the innings, but Alex soon fell cheaply. A solid 117 partnership between Amit and Stefanos laid a platform for a large total. Stefanos finally found some form after a prolonged lean patch, driving and cutting with authority to bring up his first fifty of the season. Then Rohan, all elegance, figured in an 85 run stand with Amit. However, it was Amit who stole the show serving up a masterclass with a run-a-ball century that included 17 fours and 3 sixes. His trademark square cuts and pull shots were a delight to watch. When the declaration came at 253/4 his unbeaten innings of 139 had set a club record for the highest score by a no. 2 batsman for KCC.
After a great tea, replete with sannies, cakes and scones, we took the field. Ryan in the first over took a wicket, and followed soon after with his second. The Bank men, however, were not going to be rolled over so easily. James Bain and Tom Viegas put on 70 runs with James being the dominant partner. It took the introduction of Chetan into the attack to break the stand, Tom being out LBW. James continued on his merry way striking the ball hard and often to the boundary to reach his hundred, but unfortunately for him and the team he was caught off Chetan in the deep. In the same over Stefanos effected a superb run out and the Bank was reeling at 152/5. Neeraj returned for the kill and immediately won an LBW decision. With 11 overs to play out, the Bank dug in for the draw. Ryan (inset) was finally brought back and got the breakthrough and in the last over won two LBWs to get his 5-for, and have 2 balls at the last man for a KCC win.
Alas, it was not to be. It is so very hard to get all 10 wickets on this ground.
Sat 6 August 16 Bank of England Drawn
We 176/10 in 40.2 overs (Amit Shanker 72, Sid Chhibbar 51, Saikat Barua 13, Mo Dilshad 5/40, David Friar 3/43)
They 168/9 in 39 overs (Viegas 85, Richard Down 19, Amit Shanker 2/10, Bernard van Vuuren 2/23, Saikat Barua 2/36, Neeraj Nayar 2/37)
Our Annual Visit back to our friends in Roehampton – a much looked forward to fixture. Richard Down and Neeraj Nayar flipped the coin and Neej had no hesitation in Batting First.
Openers Sid Chhibbar and Stefanos Nayar faced a very testing opening spell by David Friar and Sen Sengupta. Sen especially was extremely accurate and getting the ball to shape away. Sid and Stef had to graft for runs with Stef perishing first, bowled by Sen.
Amit Shanker then walked in at no.3 and Amit played as Amit usually does – getting himself in and then stroking the ball beautifully on this very lush and quick Bank outfield. Sid and Amit conjured a valuable 111 partnership with Sid completing his 50. Amit stroked away to a fine 72 before being bowled. This triggered a Spectacular Collapse. From 138/2 we plummeted to 176 all out – 9 wickets falling for just 38 runs in the space of 10 overs. The very wily and versatile Mo Dilshad spun his way to another five-wicket haul and David Friar took some quick wickets to complete the havoc. Although not a great total it would make for an excellent game provided we bowled well.
The Bank opened with Peter Andrews and surprise opener Richard Down. Peter was bowled by a magnificent in-swinger from Bernard who soon took another wicket, but Down held firm. Neej rang some quick bowling changes and Gabriel’s first outing of the season ended Richard Down’s long vigil at the crease.
The Bank, however, were suddenly in the game with No.4 Viegas striking blistering boundaries on his way to a hard-hitting 85. His wicket was crucial and it was Amit Shanker, brought on at the death, who made the breakthrough with a sharp caught and bowled. With 19 to get in 2 overs and 2 wickets remaining gave both sides a sniff of victory. But the Bank fell short by 9 runs losing their 9th wicket to Amit off the last ball of the match. Neeraj, Saikat and Bernard also finished with 2 wickets apiece.
Deserved Men of The Match were Messrs. Viegas and Shanker for their efforts. Cobras were enjoyed on the ground and we all retired to the Bar after another exciting drawn game at The Bank.
Sat 8 August 15 Bank of England Won by 52 runs
We 226/7 in 39.3 overs (Deepak Ramachandra 102*, Tabrez Khan 47, Rohan Ghosh 28, Mo Dilshad 3/52, Andrew Merriman 2/36)
They 174/10 in 33.1 overs (Shafiq Hussain 93, Peter Andrews 20, Pammi Chaggar 5/23, Bernard van Vuuren 2/23, Neeraj Nayar 2/29)
On a beautiful August Saturday afternoon, Kensington turned up at Roehampton for their favourite friendly fixture with the Bank of England, who were keen this year to show off their quantitative policy run rate. Kensington had a different run rate in mind, and although suffering two setbacks early on, at 22/2 Deepak Ramachandra entered the fray. He joined Tabrez Khan and the two of them embarked on a partnership of what was to become 112, before Tabrez was bowled for a jug-avoiding 47. Deepak pressed on, and with two ducks from his next four partners (a run-a-ball 28 from fresh-off-the-plane Rohan Ghosh stifled the loss of wickets for a while) he accelerated his scoring lest he be stranded at one end with a team score of Not Enough. He reached his first ton for Kensington with a 4, two balls before what would have been a forced declaration. Luckily, Neeraj didn’t have to make that call.
In reply, the Bank stormed into the ‘lead’ scoring 87 in 14 overs before the loss of their first wicket. Who got the breakthrough? That’s right – that man Deepak, bowling second change. Kensington were by no means back in the game, but at least it was cause for some celebration in what had been a dire hour. Pammi Chaggar took two wickets in his first two overs and the only danger remaining to Kensington was the free scoring BoE opener, Shafiq Hussain. When he was fourth out for 93, well caught by Bernard in the deep off Neeraj, the score was 158 after the 27th over. The rest of the innings folded dramatically, adding only 16 runs as Pammi and Bernard tore through the tail. Although Pammi ended up with 5/23, his KCC best figures, it was Deepak who won the Cobra Man of the Match award for his maiden century.
Sat 16 August 14 Bank of England Won by 62 runs
We 213/5 in 44 overs (Shahzeb Mohammed 82, Shanker 31, Sen 24*, Davis 3/83)
They 151/10 in 34.2 overs (Fecci 78*, McCarthy 22, Sen 4/31, Khush Khan 2/20, Nayar 2/24)
Although the margin of victory appears large, KCC had to fight hard to take the final few wickets to clinch the win.
Neeraj, skippering against his old club, won the toss for Kensington and promptly chose to bat on this traditional flat pitch at Roehampton Lane. Shahzeb and Rohan began cautiously putting on 36 in 9 overs before Ro was out lbw. Then Shahzeb opened his shoulders to blaze away in two 60-odd run partnerships with Amit and Pammi, hitting 12 fours and 3 sixes. The last six however proved to be highly comical as he watched the ball soar over long-on, then turned to take guard for the next delivery, knocked his stumps over in the process and marched off the ground assuming he was out ‘hit wicket’. When it was pointed out to him that the ball had already landed over the rope and the ball was dead and he could not be out, he steadfastly refused to return. So he was noted as ‘retired out’ in the scorebook! The declaration time was fast approaching and the runs had suddenly dried up as Pammi and San felt their way against tight bowling from Davis and Dilshaid. Pammi and Neeraj fell in successive balls and it was left to Saurav and San to rattle off 31 runs in the last 2 overs to end on a respectable 213/5.
The Bankers were soon down to 24/3 after Ryan took a wicket in his first over and Saurav beguiled two batmen with his off-break skills. McCarthy and Fecci made a stubborn stand of 40, broken only by a peach of a delivery from Neeraj. The last 20 overs were called at this juncture requiring the Bank to go at 7.5 runs per over to achieve their target. Although Fecci made a fist of it for a few overs two quick wickets ended any further ambitions. Fecci and Jackson put up the shutters whilst Neeraj rang the changes to dislodge them. The breakthrough came with 6 overs left, Khush clean bowling Jackson. The remaining wickets fell in a heap, leaving Fecci marooned on a gallant 78. KCC won with two and a half overs to spare with Saurav taking the last two wickets in successive balls. We look forward to his hat-trick ball the next match he plays.
Sat 24 August 13 Bank of England CANCELLED – rain
Sat 1 September Bank of England Lost by 7 wkts
We 196/5 in 40 overs (Gorasiya 60*, A.Setia 56, T.Khan 23, Langley 2/46)
They 197/3 in 35.4 overs (Peter Andrews 85*, Austen 46*, Krishnamurthy 2/41)
A sad day for Kensington began with Neeraj Nayar playing against KCC for the first time in my memory. Pre-match discussion between Neeraj and KCC Skipper: “What have we done wrong? Don’t you love us anymore? We want to see you in a KCC cap.” “It will be fun Tabby, I love KCC and the Bank so see you on the field”.
That settled, KCC were inserted on a flat track. Opener Ghosh, fresh from warm up batting practice played some lovely shots that found the fielders. A full toss deserving a spank-me also found the cover fielder. Neeraj opened his account of the day by catching Gore in the slips. Atul and Tabrez then formed a 50 run partnership with a few entertaining shots. Langley, the pick of The Bank’s bowlers, bounced back after having been hit for a four and a six in previous deliveries with a Jaffa that got caught, again by Neeraj. Atul finally got tired after scoring a 50 disgusted himself by getting bowled by a rank leg side delivery. Neeraj was unlucky not to get a wicket as Stefanos and Bharat put up stern resistance in the end. Bharat delighted his team with an aggressive unbeaten 60 in only 39 balls, peppering the boundary with well-timed shots on both sides of the wicket. It was a joy to watch.
KCC again started off well. Khush Khan bowled the second opener but that’s as far as the KCC success story went. Peter Andrews played a very measured and brilliant knock of 85. Sowmi took two wickets in five overs but proved expensive. Andrews and Austen took The Bank home in the last over despite Bharat making it difficult for them. The post match mood in the KCC dressing room was one of introspection as we contemplated how we lost the match trying to give everyone a game. Oh well, we will be back next year Bank, with or without our favourite Neej.