Match Report 4February 17, 2017 in South Africa
Our final game was a 40 over-per-side affair against Newlands Cricket High School, once again with a cloud-wrapped Table Mountain in the background.
Following our lack of success batting first, captain John Oliver won the toss and decided to field first. Both himself (10-1-37-1) and Arman Khan began their opening spells well and this showed when the opposition were reduced to 19/2 then 65/3 in 14 overs. They both probed at testing areas and the batsmen generally found it tough to find the boundary. The introduction of our best spinner this tour- Jamie Percival (6-1-40-1) - yielded a few tight overs. However, while pressure was building, we failed to capitalise on this until an outstanding effort from Man of The Tour Ruairidh Russell at cover. High catches aren't easy, looking into the sun isn't easy and running backwards isn't easy. Nevertheless, Russell effortlessly did all three with such agility that he bagged a sensational catch. From there on in, Adam McMurray (2-0-7-0) and Greg Macmillan (8-1-36-0) both bowled well to maintain pressure. Particular mention must go to the latter for bowling an extremely consistent and tight line and length in what was by far the best spell of offspin bowling this tour. Nonetheless, we lost a bit of control as the innings progressed and an opposition partnership dangerously developed. This eventually led to an opposition total of 256/7. However, aside from some brilliant catches from Oliver in the slip cordon and Percival running in at long-off, and excellent keeping from Fraser Gordon, what stood out from the innings was Arman Khan's gritty 5-for: 8-0-69-5. Despite some poor fielding and talented batsmen, he patiently co stricted each of his overs and his achievement is evidence of this.
Chasing such a big total, we were looking for batsmen to stay at the crease. When Ross Heginbottom and Jamie Percival strolled out to the crease, they did just that by occupying the crease for 8 overs and scoring 21 runs. Unfortunately, the opposition also chose to get involved in sledging and making comments which were too far across the line of the MCC Spirit of Cricket. They placed both a short leg and silli square leg under the batsmen's nose, and aside from fielding, their main job was to put off the batsman by making inappropriate comments and constantly talking while the bowlers were running up. Both our openers and No3 John Oliver fell due to their lack of concentration which may well have been a result of this act. In addition, the umpires were the home team's and one of them told Jamie Percival to "Shut up and stop moaning" when he politely informed them of the MCC Spirit of Cricket. Nonetheless, when Arman Khan strode out to give them a taste of their own medicine, the two close-in fielders fled to the boundary. Khan and Russell then constructed a 69 run partnership to take the team total to 95/3 when Russell fell to an unlucky nick. Khan carried on in his flamboyant style, never more evident than when he danced down the crease to send the ball flying for a huge 6 over the bowler's head. He too was unlucky to go for a counter-attacking 46(71). After the enterprising pair departed, the innings sadly folded due to a lack of application and poor decision-making and we ended on 135/10 after 39.2 overs.
That said, this was our best performance of the tour: Khan's steely determination despite under par performances in previous games, Russell's superb fielding and hard fought innings and a huge team display in the field.Read more