Heat fails to hinder 3s' progress
By Steve Lyall
Two in first over sets tone, then Neil and Charlie take us home
Yep, no surprises on OOs skipper winning the toss - but plenty of surprises hit 'em when we got going.
First ball flayed through extra by left-handed opener, and then in shades of last week, although it happened a bit quicker, Steve rattled his timbers very next ball when he attempted the same shot to a better ball. 4-1 in 2 balls became 4-2 in 5 balls when danger man Robinson chipped one to Charles at mid-on. While umpire Bob was still on a tour of the more picturesque grounds in Hertfordshire 3 wickets had fallen, as the returning Rudra re-arranged the furniture of no. 2. 15 for 3; but that wasn't all, the hits kept on comin', the advent of Neil 'Golden Arm' with a wicket maiden had them 18-4; then 18-5, and 21-6 when Charles got in on the act. Incredibly 37-7 seemed like a minor disappointment though Neil had 3-9 in his first spell of 5 overs.
Perhaps it wasn't surprising that the oppressive heat took its toll, and with an all-seam attack the lack of variety enabled the lower order batsmen to dig in a bit and post a recovery score of 112, after a last-wicket stand of 34. Smit meanwhile had chipped in with 2 (for 16 in 4), Steve returned 7-2-12-2, Neil 9-3-18-3, Charles 7.1-1-27-2, and Rudra 8-4-20-1.
Jed and Ahsan opened up, and while Jed middled most he tended to favour mid-on, and while the ball was new a bt of damage was done with both openers being bowled. Sathees pinged three sweet fours but fell LB. Then ... sweet nothing for the bowlers for a nice long time as Neil and Charles dug in and broke the back of the target. Neil looked solidity itself with his broad bat repelling all OOs efforts, Charles ran superbly and worked the ball into the gaps. Though the big boundaries meant not too many boundaries, Neil did hit the one 6 of the innings, and the pair had put on 80, taking us to within an ace of victory, when Neil succumbed to an ultra-slow slower ball. His 44 (plus 3-18) was a great all-round effort, complemented by Charles (39*), who had the honour of hitting the winning runs.
Lovely to have a trouble-free win with another 6.15 finish and the opportunity to watch the 2s' successful run chase back at HQ, beer in hand!