It was a sunny and warm afternoon for the start of the new Cricket España-run Northeastern League. We were to face Bengali CC in the debut match at the Carlos Pérez baseball stadium in Montjuïc in a Sunday evening fixture that would eventually end under lights (and some rain!).
Shriram Bhosale won the toss in what is probably his last game as stand-in skipper. Without hesitation he decided to bowl first. It was apparent right from the off that the Bengali batting line up was an inexperienced one and they were very reliant on a couple of their batters, opener Pabel Rahman (50) and captain Hasin bin Hakim (32). None of the seven bowlers used could dismiss them but some sharp work in the field saw them both run out. No one else (except our old friend Mr W. Ides) got into double figures although we were a bit disappointed to let Bengali reach an admittedly below-par score of 125/6 from their 20 overs. There were two wickets apiece for opening bowlers James Bentley and Lauren Pamenter, while Sam Phillipps and Vishesh Gajjar both chipped in with one each. Despite Bengali reaching a score considerably above what might have been expected during most of the innings, we went into the short innings break confident of chasing it down.
Regular opener Maroof Shaikh was partnered by Burhan Ejaz, not required with the ball today as he returns to being a specialist batter. They put together a partnership that saw us just short of halfway when Burhan was dismissed with the score on 60 in just the eighth over. Maroof was similarly caught by the keeper a few balls later bringing fake-Aussie Shane Lightley and fake-Brit Damien McMullen together. Damien was brilliantly run out from the deep, starting a collapse as we went from 83/2 to 89/5. James and keeper Khyzer Nawaz settled the nerves with a 35-run partnership that took the scores level, before Khyzer tried to win the game with one of his trademark scoops and was inevitably bowled. Vishesh came in and hit the winning run off his first ball to cheers from the boundary!
A much needed win for BICC as some much needed rain fell. We retired to the bar for a celebratory drink before heading for a late dinner. Congrats and thanks to Shriram, who amazingly finishes his spell as stand-in skipper with two trophies and us top of the league!