Its a kind of Magic...
By Brett Harvey
Mill Hill Village 1sts 264/9 v Ricky 1sts 265/7
Rickmansworth arrived at Mill Hill Village confident on the back of three wins. The outfield looked fast and with some short straight boundaries and a relatively dry pitch , whoever won the toss was most probably going to bat first.
Captain Maz Shah unfortunately then proceeded to lose the toss and Ricky were inserted into the field. Things got off to a brilliant start with young Tahir Hussain taking a great catch at gully off the bowling of Majid Khan in the very first over. For the first few overs the batsmen seemed to only be able to score from edges . Toqeer Hussain opened his account by clean bowling the number 3 batsmen.
The wickets then dried up as the ball got a bit older and the batsmen got their eye in. It was not until the 13th over and after a bowling change which saw Harry Iles get his first wicket for the 1sts this season. Mazaf was also brought on as Captain Maz sought to test the batsmen with some spin as they had started to use the pace of the faster bowlers and the quick outfield to hit more boundaries.
Brett Harvey then came on and after a few overs was able to remove another one of the batsmen. Mill Hill were now 130 for 4 after 27. The next wicket to fall was a great throw from Shammi Hussain at square leg to Brett (just finished his follow through )at the none strikers end , with a great clean run out.
Cookie Latif and Mazaf Shah now tried to keep the scoring rate down as Mill Hill's Rory Mclead who had already reached his 50 began to open up and score freely. The next 12 overs or so went by without a wicket falling and an additional 80 runs being added to the board.
Majid and Toqeer were then brought back on , this seemed to slow the scoring right down and after Majid got rid of the Danger Man , Rory Mcleod, wickets began to fall again.
Mill Hill eventually finished on 264 for 9 after 50. Wickets went to Majid with 3, Toqeer with 2 and one each to Harry, Brett and Mazaf
Mill Hill had set a big score, but the team was confident that with the calibre of batsmen in the lineup , that they were able to chase it down.
Maz Shah and Taz Shehabi opened the batting and very soon were playing the ball to all corners of the ground. The opening partnership was eventually broken for 115 runs in the 17th over (drinks) , in dramatic fashion, as Maz Shah, who had begun to get leg cramps, scooped one back to the bowler as his leg siezed up. He then had to be helped from the field.
The team were however confident that this great opening partnership had created a platform for the rest of the team to build on. In next was young Tahir, who after a great first ball that went for 4, fell cheaply. After Taz was caught behind just short of his 50, Ibby Hanif then also lost his wicket and Ricky were beginning to look a bit shaky with the score now on 136 for 4 off 24 overs.
Toqeer and Shammi now stabilised things a bit , slowed the scoring rate, but kept their wickets intact and began to build a good partnership. Shammi was eventually out LBW for 21, the score now on 179. This brought Majid Khan to the wicket. Toqeer was now beginning to hit some great wristy shots that "Azharuddin" would have been proud of.
Ricky passed 200 and shortly thereafter Toqeer was bowled for 34 off what looked like an almost unplayable in-swinging yorker. Harry now went out with orders to anchor one end and give as much of the strike to Majid. Majid at this stage was only on 2*.
With 6 wickets down and another 63 runs to get off 10 overs things were going to go down to the wire it seemed. The last thing that was needed was a wicket to fall, and after only facing a few balls this is exactly what happened as Harry's middle stump went flying.. but to everyone's relief a no ball was signalled.
This life-line seemed to galvanise the two batsmen, with Harry playing good forward defensive shots and singles to give Majid the strike when needed , and for Majid to begin doing what most of us at Ricky know he can do to bowling attacks... Smash Sixes!!
In one of these displays spectators were treated to 3 sixes and a four right after each other, the Mill Hill bowlers were getting increasingly frustrated and the fielders could only watch on as the ball sailed over their heads.
By the time the next wicket fell, the score was now 251, with 7 overs remaining, only 14 to win. Cookie Latif and Majid now knocked these runs off with 5 overs of the match still remaining. Top scores Maz Shah 62, Majid Khan 62 *(included 7 sixes!), Taz Shehabi 48 , Toqeer 34 and Shammi 21 a great finish to a great Game of Cricket.
Captains Maz Shah's comment " we have been winning games fairly easily so it was good to get tested with a decent total. The batting did exactly what we needed, play no fear cricket. Looking forward to next week"