Sunday XI v Thames Valley Ramblers 4th September 2016

Blair drums home early advantage

Blair drums home early advantage

Sunday XI v Thames Valley Ramblers 4th September 2016
20 Sep
Sunday XI v Thames Valley Ramblers 4th September 2016
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2016

M &B returned to winning ways with a 4 wicket victory over the TV Ramblers on Sunday. Blair King innings paved the way for victory backing up the efforts of the bowlers. TVR elected to bat and Joe Blackett made an early breakthrough in his second over, with the batsman chasing a wide one which was pouched by keeper King. Skipper Armstrong followed Blackett's leader by castling the number 3 . Unfortunately for Armstrong his bowling stint was brought to an end by a calf strain after 5 balls of his fourth over. This led to the assistant club chairman James Cunliffe returning to the bowling crease for the first time for a couple of years. He immediately showed his flight and guile as he purveyed his slow left arm offerings. In his first full over he snared the TVR number 4, top edging the ball high to mid wicket as the batsman looked to hit across the line. All this time left handed opener Singh Gill continued to attack the bowling, generally over mid on and mid off. His innings was terminated by Cunliffe in his 4th over as the batsman was slow to get back into his crease and King whipped the bails off eventually, rather than in a flash! At the end on Blackett's fine spell, 7/1/23/1, Armstrong brought on Thomas Allen, the team's purveyor of probing off spin. It didn't him long to breakthrough, all of 4 balls as Lester edged behind to King. At 54 for 5 after 15 overs, it wasn't looking good for the TVR. Davinder Singh though played himself in against the slow bowlers playing the odd attacking shot, a straight 6 off Allen's quicker ball, hitting the sight screen being notable. Allen though responded in his next over by suckering the number 7 with his 23 yard ball , as the batsman top edged a hit across the line and skied the ball to Armstrong at mid-on, who made no mistake. Cunliffe finished with the excellent figures of 6.1/021/2, promising more spells next season. Luckily for normal senior spinner Butler, the assistant club chairman, is not available next Sunday. Allen like Cunliffe finished with fine figures of 7/1/25/2 as the TVR batsmen had difficulty forcing the pace with no pace on the ball. Dharani joined Singh to add 42 for the 7th wicket. The batsmen preferred the greater pace of Atif Amin, albeit his first few overs were tidy. By now Singh was beginning to time the ball and find the gaps, primarily with his leg side play. Faisal Aziz was brought on to bowl the last 4 overs from the River End. having not bowled for 6-7 weeks his first over was rather rusty as Singh his him for four through the off and on side. Amin began to struggle with his line and length for his last few overs, possibly through tiredness, as his leg side offering were hit for boundaries, although Singh did pierce the off side boundary via an extra cover drive. Singh hit Aziz for two straight sixes as he managed to get under Aziz's darts. It was really a lone hand from Singh in the last few overs as the 8th wicket put on an undefeated stand of 56, of which Shah contributes 7no. In the end Singh remained undefeated on a fine 77, which contained 3 6's and 4 4/s and occupied 25 overs. Although the TVR's eventually reached 179 for 7 off their 35 overs, which was possibly 15-20 more than Armstrong had hoped the visitors would get, a run rate of just over 5 with a short Church boundary was very attainable.

In response Brian Dixon and George Parsons opened up for M & B. Parsons got an early boundary in the first over to set the ball rolling. Dharani opening from the River End bowled with great pace. Dixon was quick to use the pace to cut and dab through the gully region. Dharani tried to bounce Dixon, who managed to hook / shovel the delivery to fine fine leg. Having been guided through the gully Dixon was out foxed next ball by Dharani's slower bowl and gloved the delivery onto his stumps as he attempted the dab again. Blair King received a bouncer second ball which he attempted to hit but only managed to hit it into the ground to midwicket. In Dharani's next over King missed the first ball but cover drove the next away to the boundary and then cut and pulled two further boundaries to see off Dharani. In the next over Boxall took the wicket of Parsons, who had become bogged down and was dismissed trying to turn a straight ball to leg and taking the leading edge and was comfortably caught for 10.King dealt with the first over of Shah severely driving him through the offside for four and then lofting him over mid-off for six. In Boxall's final over King flicked him off his legs for four and followed it with a straight and cover drives for further boundaries to ruin his figures. The wicket of Parsons brought the introduction of Sunday regular Gunbarul. Dhariwal replaced Boxall to provide the first sight of spin. At the River End Shah was dispatched from the attack and replaced with Andy Brown. King and Gunbarul took the opportunity to feast off his two over spell and in the process King reached an excellent boundary laden 50. At drinks in the 20th over it appeared M & B were coasting at 132 for 2, with only another 48 required. Obviously something was in the drinks as first ball after the interval Gunbarul was bowled by Dhariwal for 30. This brought Alex Hess to the crease. After missing his first ball, he dismissed the second high over mid on for four, with his third he pulled the ball to deep square leg, where the fielder managed to catch it one handed, making Hess's innings was short and sweet. In Dhariwal's next over he castled the apparently impregnable stumps of King, bringing an end to his brilliant innings of 66, which included 10 4's and a 6. M & B had therefore lost 3 wickets for 11 runs in three overs after drinks. No. 6 Aziz tried to hit his way out of trouble and should have been caught at deep mid on off a towering lofted drive but the fielder spilled the catch, luckily for M & B. That catch could have been a match winner as Aziz remained at the wicket and began to find the boundary with drives as well as flicks and pulls to the leg side. He added 29 for the 6th wicket with Atif Amin, who managed one, before his vigil was ended as he was caught round the corner glancing off his legs. With only 7 needed Blackett calmed the nerves by pulling the last ball of the 31st over to square leg for 6. Aziz then clipped the first ball of the next over to the square leg boundary to bring victory by 4 wickets with 3 .5 overs left and leave him undefeated on 35, which contained 6 4's.

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