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Superstars lost the toss and were asked to field against KAI Dragons in the scorching heat at the Bank of England Sports Club. Following a good start from Konrad and Alok the KAI openers started to open their shoulders and hit the ball to the boundary making full use of the lightening outfield. The wicket did provide a little assistance to the bowlers with some uneven bounce and the ball not always coming onto the bat cleanly. Alok used this uneven bounce to make the breakthrough, a top edge well caught by Paul at point. This set the tone for Paul to deliver a fielding masterclass with a number of diving stops and clean pickups preventing KAI from getting away. Khalid and Vijay continued to keep the scoring opportunities to a minimum and backed up by some good ground fielding (including a Steve Meyler dive on the boundary to reach a ball which had seemingly already stopped). KAI did have three retirees before Superstars claimed the second wicket with Bishop producing a beautiful in-swinger to bowl the batsman. KAI ended on a respectable but not unbeatable 135 after 20.
Superstars chase got off to a flyer with Matt C hitting it to all parts including a huge straight six. However wickets continued to fall around him with Adam, Vijay, Paul and George all scoring under 5. Barry steadied the ship as Matt continued to a well-deserved retirement on 25. Steve then joined Barry to keep the scoreboard ticking over but the rate was starting to climb. KAI using their seamers to full effect, notably Hill who bowled 4 tight overs straight through only costing 14 runs and taking 3 wickets. Steve then had to retire, probably a combination of running with Barry and the searing heat causing him to feel slightly unwell. Khalid and Bishop added some late impetus to the innings but the run rate had climbed to over 10 an over for the last 3 overs and Superstars ended on a reasonable 121, losing by 14 runs.
Following the customary large tea Superstars showed clear signs of overindulgence and this led to a rather abject batting performance in the 3rd place play off against Treasury. Matt could not recreate his form from the first game and was bowled first ball of his innings. The only exception to the constant procession of batsman was Mike Berry, who had replaced Steve Meyler from the S/F, Mike played some beautiful shots in an innings of 24. There was still time for the traditional Superstars comedy run out but this time it was Barry who was the victim of an optimistic call for a single from Bishop and was well short. Alok was the final wicket to fall given out caught behind off his shoulder which summed the innings up with Superstars all out for 73.
Despite the pitch now deteriorating the score was never going to be quite enough. Alok did pick up an early wicket and Barry managed to see a run out from the other side of the fence when his throw from short cover left the Treasury batsman well short. Khalid kept it tight picking up a deserved wicket meanwhile Mike Berry bowled well and the extra pace causing both the batsman and tiring wicketkeeper a few problems. Paul was introduced into the attack and managed to take two wickets in his first two balls, the second delivery even managing to reach the stumps on the first bounce! [Ed - I don't think this quite captures the majestic ball that drifted slightly, off spun sharply and went between the bat and bad of the bamboozled batsman - it might as well have been Virat Kohli the ball was so perfect]. Unfortunately there was no hat-trick and treasury knocked off the remaining runs during the same over.
Team: Barry Gigg (c), Matt Conway, Adam Spencer, George Warren, Paul Gaught, Vijay Anand, Alok Singh, Khalid, Konrad, John Bishop, Steve Meyler (game 1 only), Mike Berry (game 2 only).
Game picture
Game picture
Author: George Warren.
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