T20 in the dry

Whalers CC vs Lambeth Lambs CC; King’s House Sports Ground; Sunday 27th June 2021

The Whalers were looking to make it two wins in a row and keep up their unbeaten home record, as Lambeth Lambs made the trip to King’s House. They have been a regular opponent over the last few seasons, but it was unclear as to whether the weather would allow us to get a game in- it was dark, gloomy and only predicted to get worse as the day wore on. As such, it was agreed to play 20 overs per side to try and get a full match played. A discussion between the two captains occurred and an agreement was made for the Whalers to bat first.

With a side more favoured towards bowling, it was crucial that the top order delivered, and delivered fast. Dean soon set into a rhythm with some trademark drives and pulls, which surely would have resulted in some more boundaries if it wasn’t for the slow outfield. At the other end, Amit was looking in good touch, with some especially nice dabs down to third man. He was the first man to fall though, a big drive down the ground was well held on the boundary and the 2020 Player of The Season had to depart for 19. This brought Fraser to the crease, who was looking to build on last week’s innings where he hit the final ball for 6. Dean continued to play his shots and reached his 50, although this was missed by the scorers and thus it went acknowledged. He was dismissed not long after, a slightly miscued drive to cover meant he had to walk back to the (still miraculously dry) benches. Dan was the next man in at 4, partly for his speed between the wickets, but mostly due to Geoff’s lateness and subsequent demotion down the order. It wasn’t to be a long innings sadly, as a back injury forced him to retire hurt for just 2 runs.

Paul was the next man in at 5 with the Whalers looking to kick on after a good start. Paul, in search of his 1000th Whalers run, initially struggled to get bat on ball and with Fraser also taking a bit of time to settle, the innings could have gone either way. I’m glad to report that the last 5 or 6 overs were very fruitful ones- Paul got some nice pull shots away and Fraser was really beginning to find his range. He motored towards 50 with some huge hits around the ground. The penultimate over was particularly enjoyable, it went for 21 including two sixes down the ground. Fraser was out to the final ball of the innings attempting to go big again, to end on a very impressive 70, ably supported at the other end by Paul who finished on 20*. 

170 was generally considered to be slightly above par, however we knew that our opposition had some useful batsmen who would not be afraid to give it a swing. We started the day with lots of bowling options and skipper Josh was trying to work out how to fit everyone in. However, with Dan unable to bowl and Paul also having a bit of a niggle, it was more veering towards ‘where are we going to find 20 overs from’. Nick made it very clear that he only wanted one spell and the captain was happy to oblige, especially as his neat and tidy, edge beating bowling only resulted in 15 runs conceded from his 4 overs. Amit Kumar, not so fresh from quarantine, was trusted with the new (but not very good ball from Sports Direct) ball from the other end and it was he that got the breakthrough- a lovely delivery that found it’s way through the batsman’s defence and into the stumps. Lambeth’s number 3 looked useful and was immediately into his stride with a couple of 4s, he was the next man to go though as Russell first delivery clipped the top of off stump.

With Lambeth behind the run rate, it was obvious that they were going to have to take risks. Their running was aggressive, borderline suicidal and this was the method of the next wicket. A drive to Josh was thrown back to Geoff and with both batsmen at the bowler’s end, he had all the time in the world to whip off the bails. The Lambs continued to attack, with Suhaib in particular coming in for a bit of punishment. We had no option but to go more defensive, but this left lots of opportunities for easy 2s to be taken. A way was needed to slow the run rate and this was helped by another run out and then a second wicket for Russell thanks to a well taken catch from Dean. With 5 overs to go it was looking tight, Amit was brough into the attack for his first bowl in several weeks and Josh also gave himself a go and delivered a surprisingly economical two over spell, which also included the wicket of their wicketkeeper batsman. It was slightly more frantic at the other end, with a stumping, another run out and an all run 4. With 21 needed off the final over, we knew we just had to avoid doing anything silly. Amit did better than that by taking the final wicket and wrapping everything up, with the Whalers going home/to the bar victorious.

Overall, a real team performance. Several contributions with the bat, the wickets shared around and a good effort from all in the field that resulted in runs saved and more run outs than I can every remember in one innings. We go again next week, where hopefully the rain stays away once more…

Whalers 170/3 beat Lambeth Lambs 154 by 16 runs

Awards

Champagne moment: Russell’s first ball hitting top of off stump

Muppet: Nick’s dropped sitter

MOM: Fraser (70 runs)