The Verbandsliga season got off to a stunning start last Saturday, as two newcomers to the league delivered a thrilling encounter at the Maifeld with Bangladesh CC narrowly edging out BSV 1892 Britannia by a solitary wicket.
In poor conditions, BCCB lost the toss and BSV elected to bat first, in the hope that the conditions would improve later for fielding. Unfortunately, any hope of a patient, measured start to the season was laid to rest with the very first ball of the innings, which kept low and knocked back Sunil’s off stump. He was quickly followed by Maddi and Utsab, and after just two overs we were staring down the barrel at 6 for 3.
Fortunately, Ali and Imran came together and consolidated well, taking the shine off the ball, taking runs wherever possible and also riding their luck with some dropped catches. Whilst undoubtedly in a better situation than in the second over, the departure of Ali and Imran in quick succession again left us in a perilous situation. Fortunately, Tipu and Siddiqi then came together and put on a valuable 40 runs for the seventh wicket, rotating the strike well and seemingly untroubled by the now benign ball.
I have no doubts that we would have been in an even better position, were it not for an extremely contentious run out of Tipu, with the ball seemingly not clean in the keeper’s hands as he whipped off the bails. The remaining batsmen came and went, with special mention to Neil for helping Siddiqi (27 not out) to put on 20 valuable runs for the last wicket.
The total to beat was 114, possibly 20 or 30 runs light but nonetheless defend-able. Like Britannia, there were fireworks at the start of the BCCB innings, with Arun bowling intelligent swing that the batsmen had little idea about. Four (!) LBWs later, and all of a sudden Britannia were in control. Utsab and Tipu then joined the party with a wicket each. The problem here though was the number of wides, with the score constantly ticking over.
With spin having little effect (dropped catches notwithstanding) and the score ticking ever upwards, an outstanding direct hit by Ali made it interesting, before another wicket for Arun (his first “Michelle” in Britannia colours) and Sunil brought the last man in. Unfortunately, extras and a further difficult dropped catch were again our undoing, and BCCB celebrated this narrowest of wins.
Despite the defeat, we can look upon a lot of positives. The atmosphere on the ground was great and some of the performances with the bat and ball were extremely encouraging. Ultimately though, a lack of runs from the bat coupled with too many extras and dropped chances were the main problem. Now it’s time to dust ourselves off, have a great practice on Wednesday and come back strongly next Saturday against HCCW.