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Crusaders vs Army - Match report

Friday 06 May 2016

After defeat by the Cryptics, the Crusaders looked to improve in a pair of t20s against the Army. Whilst this match usually took the format of a longer game, this year both sides felt that preparation for their upcoming t20 matches (Interservices tournament, and Varsity) was important, and so the shorter format, with coloured clothing and white balls, was agreed. Cambridge captain Tom Day won the toss and elected to field first.
The Army’s opening batsmen began very positively, taking 26 from the first 3 overs, bowled by Chris Webster and Fergus McNab. An immediate change at the Pavilion End saw Lyle Hill brought into the attack, and this created the first wicket for Cambridge, as Webster dived forward at point to remove the Army’s opening batsman. Good follow-up overs from Oli Taylor and Sam Jelley rounded off the first six overs of powerplay, with the score at 42-1. Taylor and Jelley continued to keep things tight, and the introduction of Jacob Pockney also helped to slow the scoring rate. However, the Crusaders couldn’t find another breakthrough until the 13th over, when Harry Martin brilliantly engineered a run out from midwicket to remove the remaining opening batsman.
At 81-2, the Army side looked well placed to go on, but good bowling from Taylor, Jelley, Pockney and Hill in the middle overs, backed up by excellent fielding, particularly from Henry Goodwin and Harry Martin, allowed Cambridge to restrict the Army to 95-2 from 15 overs. Particularly impressive is that in the 10 overs between over number 5 and over number 15, only 50 runs were scored, despite the Army having plenty of wickets in hand. In the last 5 overs, the Army tried to accelerate, and although Pockney and McNab both managed to pick up a wicket, as well as another run out being enacted by wicket keeper Matt Isaacs, the Army were able to reach an imposing target of 150-5 from their 20 overs.
Day and Jonny French began Cambridge’s reply, and it got off to a poor start when French was trapped LBW in the first over, with the score on 3. When Goodwin fell in the third over, after hitting a boundary through the off side, the score was 11-2, and the Crusaders looked in trouble. The entrance of Webster altered this, and he quickly went on the counter-attack, looking to make the most of the powerplay regulations in the first six overs. Webster clipped two fours through the legside, and both batsmen cleared the boundary in the powerplay, to move the score onto 53-2 after 6 overs. In contrast to the Army, who struggled to find the boundary and rotate the strike in the middle overs, the Crusaders scored freely, both Webster and Day finding the boundary with frequency, and they added 81 for the third wicket in only 8 overs.
Both batsmen took a liking to the Army’s off-spinner, who was pulled for six by Webster out of the ground in his first over, before Day lofted him onto the roof of the pavilion, and then over extra-cover for six in consecutive balls. Webster was eventually run out for 40, from just 22 balls, by a direct hit from long on as the batsmen attempted to take a 2. This brought Martin to the crease, and together he and Day added 40 for the fourth wicket, before Day fell for 60, from 48 balls, including 5 sixes and 2 fours. The St. John’s pair of Martin and Hill then guided Cambridge over the line in the final over, Martin finishing on 15* and Hill making 11* from 12 balls. It was an excellent batting performance from the Crusaders, particularly after losing two key batsmen so early on.
The second t20 match was halted by snow after 18 overs of the Crusaders’ innings. Again, Cambridge had a disastrous start, as French, Webster, and Goodwin all departed with the score on 0. However, Martin and Ali Dewhurst rebuilt, and although both batsmen eventually fell (Martin 44, Dewhurst 32), and Owen Male departed for 2, Day and Isaacs were looking to push on in the last two overs. (Day 6*, Isaacs 1*). The match was abandoned.

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