Prolific partnership pinches points
By Steve Lyall
Arjun and Krunal tear it up with 130-run stand and old firm avoids jitters to take us home
Well, well, what a win, fashioned from unpromising beginnings and false starts but with the 3s winning the second half of both innings that was what counted, and a very welcome second 30-pointer was posted at Northwood's lovely ground.
The rain subsided and the wind, strong and a hindrance for bowlers from the 'road' end, and the sun helped dry the deck out, though the outfield was quite lush. Lyall and Dennison took the new ball and an experienced and solid pair of openers grafted well, punishing the loose balls, and reached 100 before the first wicket fell, to the sixth bowler, Krunal. While both openers went past 50 and no.3 also joined that club, we always felt one end was open, and Krunal worked his way through, helped by Ahsan, who also held the nick off Jake which ended no.1's vigil, for 69. While there was precious little joy for the seamers Krunal's 4 for 28 was an excellent effort in his second game back, and from 109-0 we felt 220-6 in the 45 was a good recovery and not an unassailable target.
Then perhaps the highlight of the day ensued, with an absolutely wonderful tea, thoroughly vindicating Neil's decision to bowl first.
Local knowledge and decent areas saw young and older Northwood bowlers give precious little away in their opening spells, and while Ahsan, Sathees, Neil and Jake began to find the ropes, they also perished after getting in. So at 69 for 5 we were in a bit of a state, although this allowed Arjun and Krunal time to have a look before they went on to do what we know they can.
This was a tremendous effort, intelligent batting with a lot of singles taken to a spread field, and some trademark big hits over the short boundary and very close to reaching the long one on the full. The pair put on 130 in some 15 overs and showed great inventiveness by exploiting gaps with scoops and paddles mixed in, and we began to think 'we can do this, you know'. The acceleration A&K revealed took it to below a run a ball, then 4 an over, until tiredness saw Krunal leave first for an excellent 52 with 6x4 and 1 x 6 - Arjun skied one, and after a few bad drops, someone clung on, eventually - after a fantastic 78 with 7x4 and 4 enormous 6s.
A slightly jittery period then followed as Bobby at 8 also fell to a full straight ball, but the calm old heads of Ed and Steve came together and we could all pretend that it was never in doubt. A high no-ball from the young pace man helped - Ed calmly steered it away for a single; Steve then played what he says was the shot of the match with a sweet extra-cover drive, although as it was all along the ground to the longest boundary it failed to reach said boundary, but the 3 kept us moving; then Ed worked it to backward point and a misfield = another scampered single. Finally next over Ed gets a ball in his slot, short outside off, cue trademark square cut, two runs and thirty points!!!
Never in doubt!