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Ken Block Trophy
v DODGERS, 23TH MAY 2012
Dodgers 142-7 (Dollin 58, Trivedi 3-23, Marchant 2-23, H Kumar 2-32) TIED WITH
Superstars 142-6 (Gaught 61).
After 10 consecutive cancelled matches, Superstars season got off to a belated start in dramatic fashion at Chiswick as they looked to defend the Ken Block Trophy against an unbeaten Dodgers team. The lack of DLF maximums (or should that be maxima?) was more than made up for in an exciting match, full of Citi moments of success, that went in to the last over with all 3 results possible.
There was drama even before the match started as Barry won the (pre-arragned) toss and put Dodgers in on what looked like a low, slow pitch. Roy (4-1-24-0) bowled a maiden first up and his tight opening spell kept a lid on a fast start from Dodgers. Harish (4-0-31-2) made the breakthrough, with one wicket bringing two in quick succession. Superstars put the brakes on in the middle overs, particularly with a tight spell from Merv (3-0-16-0) and sharp fielding from cricket's Mr. Scarecrow (3-0-26-0) at point. It then fell on Jason and Raj to close out the innings. After a loose first over, Jason's "zumba ball" consistently out foxed the batsmen to finish with 3-0-23-2. Raj (3-0-23-3) was consistent line personified and picked up three wickets in his first two overs, including a sharp sub catch on debut for Vijay, before he decided to protest the decision not to give him his full quota of overs by bowling a full extra over of wides on the last ball of the 19th. Jason's tight final over left Superstars needing 143 to win.
Knowing that Dodgers were a bowler short, Paul and Adam decided to take a cautious approach which was going fine until Adam attempted a Pietersen-esque flamingo shot and was bowled off his flailing right leg for 9. This brought another debutant, Chris McKee, who had earlier dealt admirably with Mike's wild throws from point while keeping wicket, to the wicket and a thrilling passage of play ensued as the next 15 runs were scored in singles. Chris was then unlucky to be bowled on 17 just as he began to accelerate. With Steve "Darth" Meyler using the force to steer the ball in to the gaps and get Paul on strike, and the required rate approaching 10 an over, Paul now decided to up the rate and played some meaty straight and cover drives, expertly picking out fielders to drop the ball over the rope.
Steve also fell for 17, leaving 27 to win off the last 11 balls. Barry had been visibly agitated by the lack of 2s being run while he was watching from the boundary and managed 8 from his first 5 balls, all in 2s. Superstars went in to the last over needing 13 to win and Paul was understandably shocked when Barry hesitated before running and a mid-pitch collision saw Paul run out for an excellent 61 with 11 still needed off the last 5 balls. Merv's 4 in 3 balls and a wide meant 6 were needed off the last 2 with new man Harish on strike but he was run out for 1 attempting a second run.
The tension was now so great that the rest of the Superstars bowlers had forgotten to pad up. After trying to go out to bat with no pads and being sent back again, Raj had one ball to face needing 5 to win or 4 for a tie. With the whole field set deep, Raj drilled the ball to long off where it was comfortably fielded and slowly returned to the bowler to allow a quickly run 3. What happened next will go down in Superstars folklore: Barry had turned to look for a fourth at the striker's end and the bowler responded by trying to throw down the stumps. The ball was missed by the keeper and Barry and Raj scampered (admittedly Raj was a bit less scampery than Barry) through for a fourth to tie the game.
One of the great Dodgers-Superstars matches which rubber-stamps it is one of the foremost rivalries in sport.
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