Ricky rolled up to Met Police, to find a corrugated wicket with an outfield that clearly hadn't been cut during the week. Apparently it was exactly the same wicket as played on the previous week and was reminiscent of Sabina Park in 1998. A test match that famously lasted just 66 balls. How we looked forward to it....
TMCC chose to bat first, probably on the basis that the pitch couldn't get better, but were soon regretting it as Tom Watson, now rather quick, had the ball leaping off a length and crashing into bodies or the keepers gloves. One ball in the 2nd over shot up and over the head of the keeper standing 12 yards back. It wasn't a day for easy runs. Tom found a consistent length and got a half-volley to trim the bails (!!) of the opening bat and then a few balls later had the no3 castled middle stump backing away to leg. Safety over substance. Meanwhile Brett was maintaining a steady line and length and also had the batsmen in trouble, without any luck.
Bobby then came onto bowl and got 2 wickets in 2 balls, one an outrageous heave across the line and before that a tap back for a caught and bowled. TMCC were really struggling, scoring at just over 2 an over and 45/4. Their skipper was now the only batsmen left in the top order and he played well and sensibly. Brett got a great run out whilst Prasanth was unlucky not to get a wicket when a clear nick was ignored by the standing official. Maybe a case for hotspot! And then the innings was close to wrap up. Ali Asghar grabbed 3 wickets with his off-spin and with 126 on the board, the only worry for Ricky was how they played the characterful wicket.
As it turned out, the TMCC bowlers were sharp but lacking guile and Paul and Vijay put on 42 for the first wicket, before Paul fell to the first ball to a spinner. Bobby then edged a lifter and Asghar also rather gave his wicket away. Vijay fell to a good catch and then Sohail scooped up a catch to mid on. Ricky had subsided to 80/5.
TMCC rightly had their tails up and were in the hunt for a victory now. Prasanth clubbed some good runs before getting out caught (93/6) whilst Adeel pushed at a good length ball that just popped up in the air back to the bowler (94/7) and then Faizan went for his second golden duck in a row, caught well at a slip standing 15 yards back. At 97/8 Ricky were still 30 runs short of the win, which had looked assured at 42/0, and when Ali Ratansi was dropped by the same catcher one ball later, hearts were in mouths. But then the Miracle of the Met Club began.
Just as the fat lady was warming up, Tommy The Gun Watson strode to the crease. However it wasn't just about Tommy, but as much Ali Ratansi, who pushed and defended and drove balls into the covers as the runs started to flow. 26 needed, then 20, then 14, then 10. And finally it was down to 9 needed to win.
Tom on strike and the quick bowler was brought back on. 1st ball pitched up to Tom, and it was clubbed through the offside for 4. 2 balls later the same ball and the same shot. Scores now level. and then Tom pushed through the next one into the off side and his shout of YEEESSSS could be heard on the Watford by-pass. He ran for his life, as did Ali Ratansi. The fielder fumbled, in a moment of Karma, and the run was made.
The wild celebrations were a joy to behold and TMCC were not begrudging at all of the result, having witnessed one of the finest tail-end batting performances in their careers. Nobody was going to complain after seeing that game unfold before their eyes.