Whalers Bask In Hot Sun

Whalers vs Salix 9 August 2020; King’s House Sports Ground

On one of the hottest days of the year, the Whalers gathered at Chiswick to face old foes Salix. Many thanks to Josh’s mate Sam, Amit Kushwaha playing despite being injured (a “cricket-related injury” but mysteriously not one acquired playing for the Whalers…) and to Tim from Salix for helping us out. We were all begging Will to win the toss, so inevitably he didn’t and we were fielding.

During the week Amit Kumar had informed the captains that he wanted to retire from bowling to focus on his batting. This ambition lasted precisely 6 balls, before Will told him he was opening the bowling from the other end. And he bowled very well, claiming the first wicket with an excellent catch behind the stumps from Geoff and then two more in consecutive balls to finish with great figures of 3-25 from a marathon 7-over spell. This brought Salix’s danger man Yov to the crease who set off with intent. But the scoring was kept in check by another excellent bowling spell this time from Dean who bowled a great length throughout to finish with 2-13 from his 7 overs – including a slow-motion dive to take a dolly caught-and-bowled.

Number 7 Ali batted sensibly to keep Yov company and there were a few expensive overs along the way, although the fielding was generally very good despite the heat. Eventually Suhaib broke the partnership and then took another wicket next ball with the day’s champagne moment, bowling the new batsman with one which just clipped the top of the stumps. Salix then managed the strike well with Yov scoring most of the runs, although he was dropped by Dan when he was only on about 60. Both numbers 9 and 10 were run out trying to get the strike back to Yov, with an unnecessary direct hit from Dean and then good work from Josh and Geoff. In the last over Salix passed 200 and then Yov got his ton off the last ball. We were chasing 210 – a run a ball – to win.

After a quick sit in the shade to try (and fail) to cool down, Dean and Tim strode to the crease to open the Whalers innings. Unfortunately Salix had worked out that the best approach was to bowl slow loopy full tosses. First Tim, then Amit Kushwaha (after a couple of nice fours), then Josh all chipped full tosses straight to fielders. At 20-odd for 3, and a player short, things were not looking great. And when next man in Geoff was hit on the hand by another full toss, it wasn’t looking like the Whalers day. However, it turned out that having an injured bottom hand was actually good for Geoff’s batting technique, as he and Dean both started dispatching the bowling to all parts of the ground. Very soon the field was scattered around the boundary, which also made it easy to pick up singles off the good balls, and we were comfortably ahead of the run-rate.

Just when the game was starting to meander slightly, Dean was well caught on the boundary for 58 which brought Amit to the crease with another 90 or so still needed to win. The game tightened up a bit, but Geoff was still striking the ball cleanly and Amit batted sensibly to keep things safe at the other end. With only two runs needed to win, next-but-one man in Suhaib was so confident of victory that he started taking off his pads. Inevitably this brought a wicket, as Geoff skied one to be caught for an excellent 87. Next man Will kept us on our toes with a wild swipe at his first ball, but then drove the next ball for 2 and the Whalers had won by five wickets with four overs left.

Salix 209-9: Yov 103*, Amit Kumar 3-25, Dean 2-13, Suhaib 2-50, two catches for Geoff and Dan

Whalers 210-4: Geoff 87, Dean 58, Amit Kumar 21*

Suhaib got champagne moment for his bowled, Geoff got man of the match for a very controlled innings + two good catches (honourable mention for Amit Kumar for a great all-round performance), and muppet moment went to Amit Kushwaha for forgetting his whites.