Following the bonfires and fireworks of Friday night, we turned up to the baseball ground in Montjuïc on a scorching Sant Joan afternoon for our league fixture against old friends Badalona CC. Umer Razi lost the toss with the one umpire that had turned up on time, and we were put in to bat in front of a probable record home crowd that reached double figures(!).
Umer opened with himself alongside Burhan Ejaz and the two built a very solid partnership. They were both clearly struggling with the heat though as there were quite a few runs turned down and a few others lazily trotted down to the other end! They reached the 10 overs drinks break at 75/0, aided by a few two-run wides and a dropped catch for each along the way! With a solid base built, they agreed to accelerate the innings, although Burhan was dismissed first ball after drinks, hitting the ball straight back to the bowler. Razball came into effect and Shriram Bhosale was sent in, much higher up the order than normal, to continue that acceleration - and it certainly worked! He would eventually bring up his half century off 28 balls on the way to 55*. Umer contributed a well-constructed 49 before being stumped by former BICC player Nadim Aseq as he looked to get to his personal landmark. In the final over, Maroof Shaikh came in and whacked 10 off just three balls to get us to a total of 186/3.
In reply, our now usual opening partnership of Lauren Pamenter (now definitely in her last game for the club in her current spell in Barcelona - unlike last week, which was definitely her last game for us for a while!) and Sam Phillipps took the new ball. Lauren struggled to find her rhythm in the first over but would help dry up the runs over the rest of the powerplay. Off just the eighth ball, there was a mix-up between the batters and Umer smartly ran Mahdi Al out from mid-off and we were on the board. Sam claimed two cheap wickets in his second and third overs either side of a dropped catch that really put the cat amongst the pigeons. Sam was replaced by Zeeshan Dildar who immediately started with a wicket maiden as his pace proved too much for Haseeb Ullah. Leandro Español also came in to the attack and almost immediately another chance went abegging after a mix up between himself and Shriram. Opener Maaz Ahmed and Tahla Islam reached drinks at 63/4, aided even more by some extras than we had been. Despite some good bowling from Joseph Danam and Vishesh Gajjar in the middle overs, their sixth-wicket partnership reached a slightly worrying 68 before Shriram, not content with a first BICC 50 and a catch, claimed the wicket of Tahla caught and bowled. This started another collapse as Badalona went from 114/4 to 129/8, with a wicket for Vishesh, another for Shriram and a run-out by Zeeshan. Nadim was run out by Shriram (yes, him again) in the final over and, after the number 11 didn’t come out for some reason, the game was done two balls early!
A warm and overcast day greeted the players at Vic, arriving punctually, only to have the start delayed due to a missing hessian wicket. A search round the perimeter by Shane and Vishesh (Mishmash to his mates) found nothing but overgrown grass and discarded confetti from the previous night at the festival next door occupying the old Vic. Off went our indigenous tracker, Sam, into the bush to see what he could find with his sixth sense of knowing where to go he found an alternative wicket. The old Vic wicket was laid out waiting for a new home, and tracker Sam called off the search and requested help via the bush telegraph. It was a team effort with the help of a kind fork lift truck driver to get our drop in wicket ready for our second league game of the season.
Having won the toss, Umi opted to bowl first and soon we were underway with Lauren steaming in with her usual left arm over action. The Jaguars were purring immediately though, with a six off the second ball over the fine leg fence which set the tone for the oppos batting nice and early. Next up and charging in like a young Roy Orbison was our very own President Sam, swinging the ball more than an Uxbridge by election. Alarmingly for BICC, the ball was being dispatched to the boundary way too often, soon Shriram and Zeeshan were introduced to stem the flow of runs. Lauren "Lozza" Pamenter was placed into third man on the boundary to shore up things behind Jono "where did it go wrong" Wong. "You're in the game Lozza" encouraged Jack from behind the stumps, suffice to say the ball never did come her way for the next two hours until a dolly of a catch late in the jaguar innings. A few too many no balls were being bowled and Shiram took a couple of catches off the following free hits. Eventually Shri broke through and bowled an opener with his ever nagging line and length. The fielding was briefly interrupted by the policía and the cars parked illegally had to be moved in time for the festival to start that afternoon. Shane returned to deep point and thus the iron curtain on the offside was back in place. A break they say, brings wickets, and Zeeshan was in the thick of it taking two while Mishmash bowled well without reward. Burhan and Umi closed out the innings and a hot and sweaty BICC made for the dugout for shelter.
Catalunya Jaguars 181/5 20 overs
After the interval Maruf and Jono were striding out to open the BICC innings. Within two balls Maruf was out strangled down the leg side to a melocotón of a delivery, a glancing shot off the pads that the keeper anticipated and moved beautifully to catch on the leg side. Next in was Zeeshan to get the barbecue going and sure enough Jono was the shrimp on the barbie, a miscommunication while a direct hit had him stranded halfway down the wicket. You'd have a harder job finding a calmer man in a crisis than Jack Jewson, the type of fellow you need when the ship is listing to one side and you need someone to tell you everything is going to be ok. Jack and Zeeshan steadied the HMS BICC through choppy waters, sneaking singles with the occasional boundary. With scoreboard pressure building Jack was bowled, trying to go big and next up was Shane to calm the BICC nerves and keep the scoreboard ticking over. To be fair to the Jaguars, they bowled well and either with luck or a well placed field the ball found the fielders more often than the boundary. As batsmen came and went the run rate became increasingly difficult to keep up with for BICC, the skipper was bowled going for glory for 7. Burhan came in and went for a quick 3, finally Mishmash finished on 11no and Shane 13no.
BICC 121/6 20 overs
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!