So there I was, standing in the middle facing up to the slowest bowler in the history of competitive cricket. But I was in trouble. My stomach was about to drop. It could have been nerves, it could have been the 8 beers from the night before, or it could have been the warm curry that I had for lunch. Come to think of it, it probably was the curry, given that it sat out in the 27 degree sun for five hours before being eaten. Whose stupid idea was that.
The Netherlands is blessed with great cricket grounds: VRA, Schiedam, Kampong. Then there is Sportpark de Eendracht in Amsterdam. This place doesn’t win KNVB awards for nothing. Actually, it does. Who knows why the hell it wins awards. Its crap. And the ladies working there won’t let you put your curry in the fridge to prevent salmonella poisoning.
Dirk lost the toss on a belter, with the home team electing to bat first. Qui Vive had a couple of impressive openers, including their captain who hit a hard ball straight. After a slow start, Vithu picked up their slower opener caught behind, forcing a nice break through at 1/21. Their little number 3 took the attack to the bowlers, speeding up the scoring rate, the rate of wides bowled, and the rate at which catches were dropped. Some pretty ordinary efforts in the field gave Qui Vive a leg-up and saw them reach 1/87 almost at the half-way mark of the innings.
With the quicks unable to make the breakthrough, David took the ball, with Jimme reminding him that he was on a hat-trick following a couple of wickets in a game about 3 weeks previously. Of course he followed up by bowling a wide. But fortunately two balls later the Qui Vive captain liked the look of David’s bowling, misjudging a straight shot that would have been hit into the next cow paddock, but instead was caught at cover by Vithu. The next ball the Qui Vive #4 was bowled off-stump (pretty much by a full toss), and Dave was on a hattrick, and unsuccessful, for the second time in an over.
A fifty-run partnership followed before Robbie took a nice catch to have Qui Vive’s main-man caught for 57. 4/133 after 26. Wickets began to fall more regularly, with Dave picking up another 3 and claiming 6/32 off 8 overs. The late flurry of wickets (Frikke, Rahaman & a run out) was interrupted only by one of the great dummy-spits by our wicketkeeper, who disputed a questionable square-leg no-ball call from the Qui Vive captain, resulting in his car keys being confiscated so he didn’t drive home and leave us with 10 men.
After a delicious lunch of warm salmonella curry, we set out to chase down Qui Vive’s formidable total of 217. With our wicketkeeper and sometime opener demoted to #6 (while his blood pressure dropped), Dirk and Santhuru took up with opening duties. After a promising start, Dirk ran himself out for 4, leaving us 1/20. And when Sean tried to cut early but was caught behind, we were quickly in a little trouble at 2/20.
Santhuru was joined by Robbie, with both batting nicely and putting together a crucial partnership of 64 before Santhuru was caught for 28 (with a couple of boundaries).
After unsuccessfully lobbying the captain to drop down the batting order, David joined Robbie. Rob was on fire, peeling off beautiful cover drives at will. With David picking off singles (and the Qui Vive captain for some reason reluctant to cut them off), Rob took control and together they quickly built the total to 3/150 off 22 overs. Needing only 70 runs to win off 20 overs, Robbie looked to cut a close one and was caught for a match-winning 78, including 11 fours.
A well composed Jimme joined David in the middle and they put together a 50 run partnership off 7 overs before David was bowled for 39, apparently still without his eye in. With Jimme (28*) and Rahaman (10*) finishing off the job, it was a win to the good guys finishing 5/221 off 33 overs. 2 points + sun + beers in the showers = a good day allround.