Sun 26 July Datchet Lost by 5 wkts
We: 170/10 in 39.2 overs (Andy Stokes 68, Nav Sidhu 36, Amandeep Dhinsa 4/18, Gurinder Sumra 2/12)
They: 171/5 in 29 overs (Gheyas Khan 55 rtd, Theunis Jackson 53 rtd, Extras 32, Saikat Barua 3/33)
A new fixture is always exciting given the year-to-year stability of our fixture list. But this one had 2 extra doses of unnecessary pre-match excitement – 1) will the in-form Preetinder play for KCC or Datchet, his regular league club? And 2) will there be a full KCC team for him to even have a choice? Well, Preet did play for KCC and we did have some sort of team…with no openers or wicketkeeper, but 10 bowlers, of which two (Elias Hussain and Waqar Siraj) were returning to cricket after a break of several years.
It was still drizzling when the skippers, Nitin and Gurinder (‘Big G’), had the following conversation, each assuming that the other wanted to bat first in this 40 over match – “We don’t need to toss I guess”, “No”, “Alright then, let’s go out in 10 minutes”, “Sure, that should give us just enough time for some catching drills”, “Wait what! You are batting”, “No, you are”, “I thought you wanted to bat”, “No, I always field first except when … Oh what the hell, does anyone have a coin?”
Anyway, Nitin lost the toss and opened the batting with Saikat. The makeshift opening partnership lasted 8 balls, before Nitin was trapped leg before (an imaginary 5th) wicket. The bowler Amandeep Dhinsa, who was getting copious amount of movement into the right handers, got Saikat bowled shortly after. Preetinder was solid in defence for a while, determined not to get out to his club-mates. But he too fell cheaply and KCC was tottering at 41 for 3. Andy and Nav steadied the ship in a stand of 76, but the long tail failed to wag and KCC ended with a well below par 170.
During the break, Datchet guys chatted about how quickly they could get the required runs to minimise the collective misery under an intensifying rain. Meanwhile the KCC chaps had a quiet tea, hoping that the overcast conditions might offer a couple of early wickets.
Saikat struck in his second over, a snick well taken by Preet behind the stumps. It lifted KCC hopes, but the incoming batsman, Gheyas Khan, played a glorious square drive on his very first ball. That set the tone for an exquisite knock. Preet informed us that he was a top league player. Along with the opener, Theunis Jackson, they scored at will in a brilliant 123-run partnership. Both retired shortly after completing their half centuries. KCC bowlers were unable to exert pressure and the game predictably progressed towards a comfortable 5 wicket win for Datchet in the 29th over.