Sun 18 April                                Radlett                                 Lost by 4 wkts

We     177/10 in 34.3 overs  (Amit Shanker 47, Bernard van Vuuren 34, Tabrez Khan 23, Jai Singh 21, Navjot Sidhu 3/3, Rafsan Zaman 2/20)

They  181/6 in 22.4 overs  (Animul Shihan 50 retd, Buddhika Wickramasingha 38, Tim Fielden 22*, Amit Shanker 2/23)

The first match of the season at Radlett was organised by our very own Nav Sidhu who is also a member there. A new fixture last year but due to the Covid lockdown this was our inaugural outing on this fabulous ground. 

On a chilly yet clear day Preetinder Singh skippering KCC for the first time won the toss and elected to bat in this 40 overs game. Jai Singh and Amit Shanker gave us a flying start putting on 55 runs in 10 overs until Jai was trapped in front of the wicket for 21. Stefanos Nayar strode to the crease purposefully but was quickly out caught smartly in the slips. Enter new recruit Rakteem Katakey who immediately showed promise hitting a lovely six over long on. Amit meanwhile went along his merry way, playing some excellent shots and taking advantage of the short boundary, punishing the not very many loose deliveries offered. Amit was eventually out LBW to the left arm spinner just short of his fifty (90/3 after 19). 

Then disaster struck. Attempting a sharp run with Bernie Rakteem ended up in a heap twisting his knee as he slid his bat. Rakteem was led off limping and straight for an ice pack retiring hurt on 17. Preet never got going and was out cheaply, swiftly followed by Praveen for a duck. Bernie, forced to have a go and keep the momentum going, smashed the ball to all parts, together with some hefty clouts from Tabrez. Sadly, it did not last as the last five wickets crumpled for just 23 runs leaving the returning Rakteem stranded having faced only one ball. All out for 177 with 5 overs unused. Star bowler at the tail was Nav Sidhu gobbling up 3 wickets for just 3 runs.

We started our attack indifferently both Wajid Tahir and Alex Tharakan looking decidedly cold and rusty. Alex, in particular, struggled with his line conceding several wides. However, in his third over he picked up a wicket; a sensational left-handed catch low down at slip showed that Jai Singh has an unbelievable pair of hands. That was probably the highlight of the KCC fielding effort and was a catch of the season so far – if there are any better, they would have to be pretty special! Next over Amit Shanker replacing Wajid struck twice, and Radlett were 42/3.

That was as good as it was going to get for KCC. Thereafter, the Radlett batsmen opened their shoulders with Aminul Shihan, a very chirpy left-handed attacking batsman, and Buddhika Wickramasingha taking a liking to all the KCC bowlers. They were very severe on Neeraj and Tabrez smashing them for 5 sixes as if it was just range hitting practice. On reaching his fifty Aminul promptly retired himself to let lesser mortals finish the game. Buddhika and Nav fell quickly, both stumped by a lively Praveen standing up to Wajid and Tabrez. But the target was reached with many overs to spare.

All in all, a chastening experience but it was the first game and essential to blow the winter cobwebs out from our stiff bodies. 

Debutant Rakteem Katakey receives his KCC cap from new skipper Preetinder Singh