Sat 25 Sept Kew Lost by 8 wkts
We 128/10 in 32 overs (Neeraj Nayar 44*, Rohan Ghosh 24, Wesley Johnson 15, Andy Stokes 14, Adam Licudi 2/1, Nas Khan 2/20, Neil Reed 2/27)
They 130/2 in 20 overs (Indi Sherlock 63*, Robert Tindall 40, Sunil Amar 1/24, Wesley Johnson 1/34)
Report to follow
Sat 26 Sept Kew Won by 8 wkts
They 213/6 in 40 overs (Kidron Thomas 50, Adam Licudi 50*, Krishna Kankanwadi 45, Extras 34, Alex Tharakan 3/35)
We 214/2 in 28.1 overs (Harsha Gandadi 108, Jai Singh 58, Preetinder Singh 34*, Charlie Weeks 1/29)
On a cold, cold autumnal day, the mighty KCC battled choking traffic around Kew Bridge (always a disaster) to arrive at the pretty Kew Green, adjoining the gorgeous Kew Gardens in South West London. We had hoped for a welcome warmer than the chilly one the prior year’s fraught affair had fostered. Sadly, it was not to be, as the Kew skipper decided, unilaterally, that it was their right to bat. Bemused and, frankly, a bit pissed off, we all took the field with the bit between our teeth and soon had the opposition pinned on the floor. 34-3 in the 10th. All three dismissals were engineered by the mighty Alex Tharakan for a mere 18 runs. He went on to cap a brilliant season, that would see him finish as the highest wicket taker of the year, in style with his 3/35. Kidron Thomas then played with astonishing clarity, raising his bat upon striking a 40-ball fifty. But just as he looked set to run away with the game, Nitin got him out, caught by Preetinder. 123-5 (25th). While Nitin (1-27) strangled one end, Wajid and Amit Kumar provided good support at the other. On what is after all a small ground with a rock-hard outfield, paved by a countless summer picnic blankets, Kew’s limp to 213-6 was never going to be enough . It could have been worse, were it not for a fighting unbeaten fifty from Adam Licudi and the 34 extras we leaked.
While the rest of us huddled together, drinking hot tea from Preetinder’s eternal-fountain of a flask, trying to stay out of a wind from Siberia that blew brown of brown autumnal leaves about, like swarms of locusts, Harsha and Jai launched a brutal assault out on the pitch. Harsha smashed his first four balls for 14. 4-2-4-4. But that early double clearly was a mistake; at least to Harsha it was. He decided to ignore farming the strike and smash boundaries instead. A towering six that sailed over long off, into the Church graveyard beyond, brought up a 29-ball fifty for him. Jai Singh’s 58, in comparison, may have looked pedestrian, but it came at a run a ball! Unperturbed by Jai’s untimely dismissal in the 16th (127-1), Harsha carried on smacking the ball to all corners with Virendra Sehwag-esque flair, reaching his maiden hundred for the club in only 67 balls. A full 90 runs in his knock of 108, came in boundaries (18x4s, 3x6s). Such was his dominance. With only 2 runs to win Harsha was caught on the boundary trying to finish it in style. It’s rare that a KCC batting order with the likes of Ro, Andy, Nitin, Praveen, Saikat, Wajid et al, don’t even get a look in.
An early finish (12 overs unused) meant more time spent at The Cricketer pub across the road. Neej trotted down to join the festivities in his flash new Asics.
A few weeks later, various KCC senators scratching their lockdown beards debated long and hard over a Zoom session about what to do with this fixture. We had long looked forward to securing a fixture at this charming venue, but without a warm welcome the charm appeared hollow. However, following reassurances from Kew themselves soon after, we look forward to a renewed effort next season. After all, many a lasting friendship is often born out of an indifferent start.
Sat 28 Sept Kew Won by 52 runs
We 253/4 in 40 overs (Nitin Chaturvedi 115*, Jai Singh 47, Rohan Ghosh 40, Praveen Lekhraj 20, Charles Lawton 2/50)
They 201/10 in 38.4 overs (Saban 43, Amanjit Sandhu 41, Nick Baxter 28, Tim Russell 3/14, Amit Kumar 2/34, Adam Sumner 2/37, Saurav Sen 2/48)
The last game of the season was our first fixture against Kew. Playing on the pretty and historic Kew Green ground, where cricket has been played since the C18th, was an attractive prospect, and we were all much looking forward to the game. Chris Ledger lost the toss and KCC were inserted; this looked a bad toss to lose, given a very green pitch, but as it turned out the wicket was much truer than it looked. Openers Jai Singh and Praveen Lekhraj put on a rapid 45 before Praveen departed. Jai played imperiously for his 47 in as many balls before losing concentration and getting bowled by a full toss. Then Nitin Chaturvedi and Rohan Ghosh continued to pile on the runs in an exhilarating 131 run partnership for the 3rd wicket. But the star batsman on the day was Nitin, who went on to score a superb, chanceless and unbeaten maiden century for the club, taking us to a fine total of 253.
In reply, Kew never looked likely to match our total, wickets tumbling at regular intervals in the face of excellent KCC bowling. A threatening opening spell from Adam Sumner and Saikat Barua kept the Kew scoring rate down and the pressure up, before Amit Kumar and our spinners took advantage as Kew tried to increase their slow run rate. Despite one or two lusty blows from the lower order, Kew were in the end well-beaten, falling 52 runs short, bowled out within the allotted 40 overs.
Kew Green is a lovely place to play, but if the fixture is renewed we hope it will be played more in the traditional spirit of a friendly fixture rather than a Saturday league game.