Sun 22 July Chingford Won by 7 wkts
They 236/4 in 43.5 overs (Bassett 61*, Hasan 54*, Ashok 38, Bridge 34, Wajid Tahir 2/22, Sunil Amar 1/27, Nitin Chaturvedi 1/34)
We 240/3 in 34.2 overs (Preetinder Singh 96, Nitin Chaturvedi 54*, David Behar 41, Chetan Malhotra 34, Crego 1/33)
When Sunil is giving you a ride to a game, chances are you’re going to be late. But this was a day when everything typical to Kensington did not hold true. We got there 45 minutes before start of play and were greeted with the sight of Nitin Chaturvedi, who was making his debut as KCC Match Manager – all ready with the team sheet, a plan of attack and a pen to mark changes!!
Nitin followed Matt Marshall copyright strategy and called Tails, lost the toss and was asked to field on a scorching day. Returning from a 2-year hiatus and with family in tow, Akhi (“Axe Man”) opened the bowling with Sunil who, obviously, took the downhill end. Sunil was absolutely miserly conceding only 3 an over; the knee support was clearly working very well. He broke the opening partnership of 74, as Tabrez held on to a sky-er at long off. Tabrez came on to bowl from the uphill end but wasn’t able to stem the flow of runs. Nitin and Wajid bowled in tandem to slow down the runs and get into the wickets. Wajid was the pick of the bowlers, 3 maidens, then two beautifully bowled inswinging yorkers which took middle and leg stumps. Fighting fifties from Jack Bassett and T Hasan, however, enabled Chingford to declare on a decent 236/4, despite a restraining spell from the returning Akhi.
After a short tea, Chetan Malhotra and David Behar set a platform for the chase. Chetan frustrated the fast bowlers with exquisite drives in the cover and extra cover region. David, also of the returning-to-cricket fame, pleasantly surprised everyone by scoring a brisk 41. After Chetan got out LBW for 34 (KCC umpire gave it), Preetinder felt his way for the first 6 balls before starting what can only be described as a brutal assault beautifully executed. David was stumped jumping out once too often (88/2), and Harsha unfortunately managed to twist his knee running between the wickets for a suicidal first run (standard KCC modus operandi) and retired hurt. Nitin replaced Harsha and with Preetinder scored at 8 an over for the majority of our innings. It was sublime cricket, both timing the chase so well, and playing Chingford’s 1st team spinners, unchanged at both ends, with ease. Needing 37 off the last 4 overs the writing was on the wall when Preetinder pinged the leggie two house rows over midwicket. With just 13 runs to win in 10 balls Preetinder was given out LBW (triggered at 96 by another KCC umpire). Chingford smelled a collapse on the cards, although when you have Tim Keleher striding out at No 6, it’s a surprise for any opposition – Timma smashed 10 runs in 3 balls the first of which was hammered for a 4 (nearly a 6). The scores were now level and it was fitting that Nitin, who had played a captain’s knock with an excellent 50, struck the final blow to bring us victory. If it were not a friendly game and we were at Lord’s, there would have been a pitch invasion and pints would have been thrown in the air to celebrate!
Chingford’s MoM was Jack for his well-made 61. MoM for KCC was Preetinder, whose 96 was worth 120 and perhaps his best innings ever for KCC. Drinks and sunset banter were followed by a trip to Lahore Kebab House. It was a great day of cricket, a proud day for any KCC member, not just due to the victory but also to the brand of cricket we played and our friendliness with the opposition that usually results in many return fixtures. We look forward to this game next year!