We arrived in Vic with March’s incredible cold snap still in full flow, the car thermometer reading 0º and some frost still lingering in the shade! Unlike our game against Botany Bay last week, at least the sun was out. With one car arriving at the ground late, we forfeited the toss and were put in the field - not exactly what you want in such cold conditions.
The first innings was littered with far too many dropped catches to be able to remember when they took place, but we estimated on the way home that each of their top four batters were dropped at least twice each as all passed 50, Manish Manwani really punishing us for his second consecutive century against us. Raval got off to a quick start against Burhan Ejaz and the returning Rez Hassan before Ravindu Maduranga was brought into the attack early, his first three overs going for just six runs. Seeing that his spin was slowing the oppo down, Umer Razi brought himself on and and finally made a breakthrough in his second, and the game’s 12th, over as Ravi took a good catch in the deep despite being blinded by the sun - breaking the 100 run partnership that C Patel (54) and the dismissed Datta (52) had formed. Burhan came back into the attack for another two over spell, but it was his replacement Edward Spencer-Phillips that got our second wicket with his second ball, getting Patel LBW. Unfortunately for us the run rate shot up from there, despite Umer chopping and changing the bowlers, as I Patel and Manwani repeatedly found the boundary. Their devastating 8.2 over partnership put on 122 runs - their efforts combined with some sudden cloud cover making fielding less and less enjoyable. Ravi finally and deservedly picked up the wicket of Patel (80) caught by Burhan. Another 50 run partnership later and Manwani (101) became the third Raval player to be dismissed immediately after a personal landmark, Burhan claiming his wicket in his third two over spell of the innings. Rez managed to put some life into his figures by getting two wickets from the last two balls of the innings, both brilliantly stumped by Jack Jewson standing up to the stumps. Raval finished on 332/6, some 25 runs shy of the record score they got against us last year!
After a quick turnaround, and with the sun back out, Maroof and Jack - our two highest scorers against Raval last year - opened the batting. Together they put on a fantastic 107 run partnership with things neck and neck with where Raval had been in their innings. Sadly, Jack (45) was bowled and two overs later Maroof (45) was caught. Umer followed them back to the hutch in another two overs, and from then our run rate fell somewhat. When Nathan was also caught, another batting collapse had seen us go from 107/0 to 157/5. Ravi (30) and Damien McMullen (26) put up some defense and played some great shots but with the required run rate now rocketing we were effectively out of the game. Their 54 run partnership was ended as first Ravi, then Damien, fell in the same over to Das. A quiet couple of final overs followed before Das again struck twice in the last over, to claim a 4fer. A shoutout to Ishan Patel for adding a 3fer to his 80 from the first innings.
We finished 112 runs short, rueing giving Raval’s top four so many chances. Had we taken even half of them, who knows how this game would’ve ended up - but hats off to Raval for taking advantage. Manwani took a nasty blow to the eye whilst fielding and was forced to leave the ground, we’re assured he’s ok and we hope there’s no long-lasting damage (even if he does love batting against us!). Our next game is in three weeks, our first game in Vidreres against the unknown team of Punjab Warriors.