12th June 2016: Almere Alligators 1 won by 27 runs, by Abhishek Talele

In their 5th match, Hengelo 1 were playing against Almere alligators on their so-called cricket ground [the author is referring to the size of the Almere ground, much smaller than anything we've ever come across - editor]. After 3 consecutive wins in the Klasse 3C league, MCC Hengelo slipped to a 27-run defeat at Almere.

Almere Alligators won the toss and elected to bat first, opening their batting in aggressive style with Mumtaz and Q. Naeem. Captain Rahim started his bowling spell successfully by providing a much required early breakthrough (14/1) in the form of Q. Naeem. From the other end, Akshay started his bowling spell by gifting extra runs to Almere Alligators in the form of wides. Next, batsman A. Gondal came in and started playing his shots immediately. Mumtaz and Gondal had an important partnership between them until our leading wicket taker Safi bowled Mumtaz and broke their partnership, the score 81/2 after 12 overs. Suddenly, rain interrupted the match and we had to stop the game. We lost almost 90 minutes waiting for the rain to stop and to start the match again. So both captains decided to play a reduced 30-over match to get a result and we restarted the match around 4:30 PM. Keeping the wet and slippery field conditions in mind, captain Rahim started the new spell with spinners Pramod and Anirudh. Before the new batsman J. Bawar and A. Gondal could build a partnership, Abhishek provided the breakthrough by running out J. Bawar. Then, A. Gondal and T. Bajwa made a fast 70-run partnership, with A. Gondal scoring his half century. T. Bajwa and T. Brits made important contributions of 36 and 25 runs not out respectively, but Safi and Febin took immediate wickets with the help of catches taken by Abhishek at point, thus saving some runs for Hengelo. In the end, Almere Alligators managed to score 238 with the help of 34 extras in 30 overs.

Hengelo 1 needed to chase down the target with the required run rate at almost 8 runs per over. Hengelo opened the batting with Abhishek and Anirudh. Almere Alligators attacked with their opening bowling pair B. Bajwa and J. Bawar. Keeping the pressure situation in mind, Abhishek started with a beautiful straight drive and a cover drive in the first over. At the other end, Anirudh was struggling to face the opening bowlers and J. Bawar pinned him right in front of the stumps for an LBW (29/1). Next, Pramod came in and started playing carefully in a supporting role from one end. From the other end, Abhishek played his strokes and added two more boundaries to manage the required run rate. Just as all was going well, Abhishek (19) got a big edge and J. Bilal caught him on the boundary (40/2). Next was Krishna, who was run out and failed to give the required support to the Hengelo team (50/3). Pramod also gave up his wicket foolishly (87/4), contributing 32 runs in total, so the top order collapsed. In the later stages, vice-captain Adithya was playing very well from one end. Moreover, a little support from Febin (16 runs) and Safi kept the team’s hopes alive. Once again, when it looked like everything was going right, B. Bajwa was successful in breaking the partnership between Adithya and Safi at the right moment. Safi scored a much needed 32 runs [including some very big 6s!! - editor] (169/6). Immediately after, Adithya was bowled by Q. Naeem for 44 and this all but ended the team’s hopes (180/7). The tail-enders tried their best with Prithvi and Akshay scoring a few sixes but failed in the end. Hengelo were bowled out for 211 in 30 overs with the help of 29 extras and Almere Alligators managed to win the match by 27 runs.

Overall, Hengelo’s top order collapse, too many extras from the bowlers, a dropped catch and lazy misfields were responsible for this failure. I hope Hengelo fixes their mistakes in the next match. Good luck lads!!!