Crusaders vs Cryptics - match report

Tuesday 26 April 2016

A bright but cold day saw the Crusaders welcome the Cryptics Cricket Club to Girton College for their first home fixture of the season. The Crusaders had a strong side on paper, and Mudara Senanayake was making his debut for the club. Crusers captain Day won the toss, and on the advice of his vice-captain (“It’s always a bat-first day” – Henry Goodwin), elected to bat first. The pitch was hard and consistent, and the Crusaders should have aimed to score at least 200 batting first.
The start was delayed for 20 minutes as the last of the Cryptics made their way to the ground, but eventually the game got under way, with the Cryptics opening bowler showing excellent control from one end, matched by some erratic bowling at the other end which was equally difficult to play. Day and Goodwin both capitalised on short balls from the Pavilion End, cutting them away through point for an early boundary, before Day (11) became the first wicket to fall, as he edged a fine delivery from the other end. Owen Male and Goodwin saw off the first 10 overs, before Male (3) was clean bowled by the last ball of the first-change bowler’s first over. Some rebuilding was necessary at 31-2, but Goodwin (12) was unfortunate with a ball that stuck in the pitch, and he returned a simple catch to the bowler to leave Cambridge stumbling at 32-3. Senanayake and Tom Corner built a small partnership before the former was brilliantly stumped down the legside, and the latter heaved a full toss to the only man on the legside boundary. When Chris Webster (4) and Ollie Richer (8) both followed shortly after, Cambridge were in real trouble at 72-7.
At this point Lyle Hill entered the fray, fresh from 9 wickets in his first two games, and determined to show his undoubted quality with the bat. In conjunction with Tom Blanchard, who showed he is capable of batting far higher than number 9, Hill dominated the Cryptics bowling, never looking troubled outside off stump, and punishing anything too wide on either side of the wicket. A large outfield meant it was difficult to find the boundary, but some good running meant that the 8th wicket pair put on 67 in just over 10 overs, before Blanchard fell for 21, with the score on 139-8. Hill then accelerated towards 50, with able support from Akhilesh Mulay (3), who chipped a catch to midwicket with the score just past 150, and Hill on 46*. Jan Cross-Zamirski entered the fray, knowing he needed to survive three balls to let Hill have the strike for the next over. Three blocks ensued, and Hill duly completed his half century at the beginning of the next over. He was eventually bowled for 56, and the total score was 160, some way short of a good score, but far better than it could have been, thanks principally to Hill and Blanchard.
The Crusaders knew they needed a good start in the field, and were disappointed to see the ball fly to the fence with frequency in the first 6 overs, a combination of some poor discipline and good batting seeing the Cryptics race to 34-0. Despite the introduction of Sam Jelley and Ollie Richer, the score continued to climb, and the Crusaders didn’t take their first wicket until the first over of Akhi Mulay, who encouraged the opening batsman to turn him into the legside, where a sharp catch was taken by Owen Male. However, the score was 95-1 at this point, and the man who had departed had made only 4. His partner had taken a real liking to the Crusaders bowling, and was finally beaten by Mulay, after he had made 98 from 62 balls, Blanchard showing excellent glovework to whip off the bails as he strayed from his crease. At this point, the Cryptics were 112-2 from 20 overs, and whilst the game looked all but over, the Crusaders fought back strongly. Webster and Jelley both returned to pick up wickets, and Mulay grabbed a third as he hung on to a caught and bowled chance with the scores tied, but in the end the Crusaders simply did not have enough runs. There were good bowling performances without reward for Ollie Richer (0-14 from 4) and Lyle Hill (0-32 from 8), but the game finished rather ignominiously as Jelley slipped one down the legside when the scores were level, and the umpire’s signal of wide took the Cryptics to the 161 they needed to win the game.

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