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A galactic array of talent lined up as Superstars took on Defra's Allstars in the midst of the mid-June heatwave. Stand-in skipper Adam won the toss and elected to field (Barry - the key is letting them call heads).
Ed Hawker took most of the early strike but good bowling from Roy and Harish kept him in check before a big in-dipper from Roy (4-1-18-1) trapped him in front. Tight bowling from the Big Hill Chris Mountain, Binu, and Vijay ensured that, while numbers 2 and 3 both retired, they weren't able to do so quickly. With the match evenly poised, Mike Duggan came on and extracted prodigious turn and bounce. He completely foxed the Defra batsmen to return figures of 3-1-10-4, including a triple wicket maiden, two catches from Adam (also stand-in keeper) and a hat-trick ball. With best ever figures already in the bag and a first five-for tantalisingly close, Spencer-Bickle ruthlessly yanked Duggers from the attack and Mike Berry took a final over wicket. Superstars had restricted Defra to 112-6 and were feeling quietly confident as the batsmen padded up.
After losing Berry for 3 to an early run out, Khalid (who had early fielded for about an over with one shoe) and Bishop showed complete disregard for the captain's orders to win it in 18 overs as both made "steady progress" to their retirements. A Superstars special followed as Vijay, Adam and Binu all failed to make the scorer work, and Harish fell for 2. Backing up his strong bowling display, the Big Hill steadied the ship with a fine batting performance (eventually making 21 not out). With a calm partner needed at the other end, regular readers of these reports might be surprised to hear that Chris found that partner in Gary, who batted with disconcerting restraint at the other end. 23 needed off 4 overs was reduced to just 3 off the last, and Gary dispatched the first ball of the last over to the boundary. He finished on an unbeaten 13, with Superstars scoring 114-5 to win by 5 wickets - and not quite as comfortably as they might have thought at half-time.
An excellent game in excellent cricketing conditions was spoiled only slightly by a mix-up that saw the two teams enjoying their post-match rehydration in different pubs!
Team: Spencer-Bickle (capt), Varghese, H Kumar, Mountain, Binu, Anand, Duggan, Berry, Khalid, Bishop, Plahe.
Author: Adam "this captaincy lark is easy" Spencer-Bickle.
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