Cool headed Kalyan guides firsts home
A great chance less innings from Sahil along with a great team bowling performance sets up a comfortable victory.
On yet another Saturday in the sweltering heat, the firsts were away at Bampton. The ground was as hard as concrete, full of cracks and uneven patches. The strip had even more cracks on it with some parts of it moving! We were hoping not to lose the toss and have to bat and luckily we were rewarded by Edd Willmot winning the toss and choosing to bowl.
Kamran Ramzan and Jim Blackford opened the bowling, both of them relatively tight and bowling well. Jim got the first breakthrough, removing the opener Bray for a duck when he edged one behind to keeper Ben Bollig. Harris was the next man in and started with a 4 but didn't look fluent, playing a couple of misjudged attempted defence shots. Kamran sent him back in the following over when he edged an outswinging delivery behind and was caught fantastically by Ben, who was standing up to the stumps and had to think quickly. Launder was the man in at 4 and hit a great straight shot for 4 off his first ball. When he was dropped in Kamran's next over it seemed like one of those days when a batsmen gets reprieved early and then hits a huge score. Thankfully this was not the case today as he then mistimed a shot to Long on in the same over and Craig Woods took a very good catch. The fourth wicket fell in the 11th over when Taylor was the second to be dismissed for a duck off the bowling of Jim and he had to go thanks to an outstretched right hand of Richard Walker, in short on the leg side for his first catch of the season in the outfield. Kamran ended his opening 7 over spell with 2-24 and Will Thwaites came on, starting with a testing over which was a maiden. The opening batsman Payne was set and looked relaxed but was bowled by a very good delivery that flicked off the bails after coming in off the wicket, giving Jim his third wicket. We were in a very dominating position with the score 58-5 after 17 overs and both the batsmen at the crease on 0. The 2 batsmen then started to rebuild the innings and aided by some drop catches, the score went past 100 with still only 5 wickets down. Jim finished a superb 12 over spell with figures of 3-30 and also 3 maidens were bowled in the spell. Will came off at the end he was bowling on after a couple of expensive overs and Edd Willmot replaced him. Will then came on at Jim's end to have bowl. Edd made an impact almost instantly by breaking the partnership when Ben took yet another catch behind the stumps, his third catch of the innings. Debenham was the one to go, scoring 21 and the partnership for the sixth wicket worth 49 runs. The other batsman, Holford was bowled by Thwaites off a quick delivery that he had a wild swipe at. The innings then took another turn when with the score on 113-7 the batsmen had another partnership. The runs weren't coming quickly though, as Edd was bowling very well and economically, extracting some turn in both directions from the cracked pitch. Will came off, bowling 8 overs in total and getting 1-48. Kamran came back on for a second spell. Ives was batting well, playing better than most of the batsmen above him but was bowled by Kamran for 18 when going for a strange, Jos Buttler styled ramp shot which was not necessary as he had already shown how well he could bat when he played proper shots. The 33 run partnership was broken and in the next over Edd bowled Williams for 8 with the score not having moved on since the previous wicket. After 4 overs Edd wrapped up the innings by getting King out LBW for 6, a poor umpiring decision going our way. The final score was 165, a score that we were happy chasing but should have been lower. The wicket was a bit unpredictable with the bounce but wasn't as bad as it looked like it would be. The outfield was difficult to field on though and we hoped that this would work in our favour in the next innings.
We enjoyed an outstanding tea, definitely the best of the season so far with a range of delicious food. Richard Walker and Sahil Kalyan went out to the crease, both in good form after the win last week. They started off tentatively with Ives bowling very fast and he got the first wicket in the third over when Richard went for an attacking shot outside the off stump and was ludicrously given out caught behind when the sound came after the ball passed his bat, it was simply just a terrible decision and Richard made sure that everyone knew that while walking off. The firsts leading batsman on the averages list, Craig Woods, came in next after having a week off. Him and Sahil did what was required, rotating the strike along with a few boundaries. The run rate wasn't much of an issue, it was preventing wickets falling that was needed. The pair batted astonishingly, tiring out the bowlers. Craig was caught off the bowling of King and had scored 34 at the time of dismissal in a 72 run partnership. Sahil carried on batting in his calm, unique way playing textbook shots and pushing the score towards the required total without taking risks. Razwan Dogar was in at 4. He played very well too and we saw a different side to him, playing sensibly and not his usual style of ruthless boundary hitting. As the score neared 166, Raz had one bowled into his slot and fiercely pumped it straight and over the boundary clearing it by a fair amount for the only six of the innings. Sahil was on 49 when a shot raced to the boundary for 4 and he celebrated his 50 dramatically by falling in the crease with cramp and a leg was raised instead of his bat! After he was stretched by the Brampton fielders, Sahil was ready to carry on but struggled to run. With Debenham coming on to bowl, Kalyan unleashed his aggressive side and crunched a couple of pull shots into the trees for fours. As he hobbled to touch gloves with Dogar, we were within 20 runs from the target. Raz was dismissed by Williams for 22 when he was bowled trying to hit one back to Kidlington and Sam Rodway came in. It wasn't long before the target was reached with Sam hitting 2 fours and Sahil deservingly hitting the winning runs in the 32nd over. It was a real treat to watch such a tremendous innings from Sahil, ending up on 65 not out and having scored 113 runs since last being dismissed.
It will be exciting to see if we can carry on with our great team performances from the last 2 games next week at home to Risinghurst.