After a well deserved rest day mainly spent lying in the shade, the MCC touring party were treated to a stunning reception at the Royal Selangor Club.
Set amongst the futuristic skyline of Kuala Lumpur, this colonial-era club has hosted touring teams since 1884.
After a few words of welcome from Selangor’s president, and MCC’s manager Bob Baxter, the Club enjoyed an incredible spread of Malaysian food, and had the chance to speak to MCC members who live in Malaysia.
The evening included many a war story, including Ed Ballard making sure everyone in KL knows that he was once 12th man for England!
As we explored the 500 year old club further, we stumbled across their billiard room. Enter the ‘snooker shark’ (otherwise known as umpire Michael Burns), who to all our surprise cleared up the table, while some of the younger tourists struggled to even pot the pink.
Returning back to the hotel, our thoughts turned to the crucial match against Malaysia the following day.
With the sun burning down on us, Malaysia won the toss and chose to bat once again. This time we started better with the ball, and Harry Horsley picked up an early wicket.
Set amongst the futuristic skyline of Kuala Lumpur, this colonial club has hosted touring clubs since 1884
An outstanding team performance with the ball meant we were able to limit Malaysia to 244 from their 50 overs, with captain Mark Chilton bowling an excellent spell of 1/11 off six overs, and Horsely finishing with 3/38.
After Angus Stewart and Ballard fell early, captain Chilton took control of the game. Joined in handy partnerships by Jonno McLean and myself (before I fell just before the powerplay), Chilton started to free his arms before being caught in the deep for an outstanding 78.
An uphill challenge after the captain’s departure, the return of Malaysian opening bowler Hassan (who has been a thorn in our side throughout the tournament) was devastating. Hassan ripped through our middle and lower order with a fiery spell of fast bowling, claiming four wickets in five balls, and sealing victory for Malaysia.
The defeat meant that the following day’s game against Singapore was effectively a semi-final between the sides, but our negative run rate meant we had to win, and win well.
As temperatures soared, we won the toss and chose to bowl, and got off to a flying start. Horsley continued his good form with an aggressive opening spell, rattling the Singapore batsmen, and he was backed up by Jack Porter, who showed great control and discipline.
Along with experienced tourist Luke Jarvis they ripped through the Singapore batting line-up, with Jarvis finishing with 4/18 and Porter 5/11 as we bowled Singapore out for 114.
In order to qualify, we had to knock the runs off within 37 overs of the allotted 50, no easy task. Singapore came hard at us in the opening overs, taking early wickets to reduce us to 30/5.
Controversially, Singapore were docked 5 penalty runs after the home umpire had found them guilty of ball tampering.
A resilient 22 from Andrew Clarke gave us a fighting chance, but regular wickets, caused by the pressure put on us by their spinners, meant we were in trouble. When Clarke was caught at second slip our fate was sealed, losing the match by 28 runs, and meant we could not qualify for the final.
The tour now sees the Club fly onto Singapore, where we will seek revenge with the Singapore national side with the chance to play at the famous Singapore Cricket Club.
We will also be able to do some community coaching, speeding the word and Spirit of Cricket that our great Club holds so dear to its heart.