MCC Playing Member Joe Barrs details the latest updates on the Tour to Chile and Brazil.
I'm running out of words to describe the heat! I don't think it was necessarily hotter than Sao Paolo, but it was significantly more humid, and as smart as our MCC blazer, tie and chinos looks, the outfit doesn't lend itself to these conditions.
We made our journey from the airport into the City and saw evidence of the Olympics hosted here in 2016. Whereas in London the Olympic legacy is clearly alive, it is hard to say the same for Rio where many of the stadiums now lie empty. As we later discovered, the post-Olympic era has also impacted cricket in Rio de Janeiro, due to the mass exodus of expatriates that occurred after the games.
However, as we arrived at our hotel on the Copacabana beach we saw a city in love with Sport. Everywhere you looked there were cyclists, runners, groups playing volleyball and football, and an abundance of facilities on the beach to support these activities.
The final leg of our tour in Rio would see us play two games against local side, the Carioca Cricket Club. However, before the cricket began, we had 24 hours to take in some of the sites that the City is world famous for.
We were hosted by the two Nick's, 1st XI Captain and Chairman of Carioca, who gave us a lot of their time throughout our stay in Rio - thank you guys! On the first evening, they led us up Sugarloaf Mountain to see the sunset. Looking down over the City and standing eye-to-eye with Christ the Redeemer across the bay, this was comfortably one of the most spectacular views of our tour so far.
The next morning we made our way up to Christ the Redeemer for the opposite perspective of the City. From here you could see the Maracana, the stadium which played host to the Football World Cup Final in 2014.
Following in the footsteps of the greatest sporting events that this City has played host to in recent years, it was now time for us to get back down to business and give Rio a taste of the greatest sport on earth.
The venue for our final two fixtures of the tour would be Sao Fernando Polo Club, situated about an hour's drive from Rio. It is a private facility owned by a cricket-loving Brazilian man. Unfortunately, since the economic downturn in Brazil, there hasn't been much Polo played there, but Carioca CC have become regular users of the facility.
Much like our other playing experiences on this tour, Carioca is a Club largely supported by expatriates, however they have recently welcomed their first Brazilian members. Over the weekend of 17th/18th March, we would play them in a 30 over and 20 over fixture.
Match 6 v Carioca Cricket Club Lions (17/03/18) - MCC win by 103 runs
MCC: 210-8 (30 overs)
Strydom 26, Pearson 37, Thurstance 76
Lokesh 5.3 overs, 2 wickets, 28 runs
CCC Lions: 107-10 (21.4 overs)
Flowers 4 overs, 2 wickets, 9 runs
Uffindal 2 overs, 2 wickets, 2 runs
The MCC chose to bat first in outrageously humid conditions, and another stand of 50+ from our opening pair of Pearson (37) and Strydom (26) set a solid foundation for the rest of the innings. It allowed Thurstance to come in at three making a flamboyant 76 from 52 balls, ably supported by Fowler (19). Despite the 1st innings total of 210, batting was made more challenging by long outfield grass, which is typically better suited to Polo, which has historically been played at the ground more often.
Our efforts with the bat were rewarded with a long lunch and traditional Brazilian bbq. After a quick team photo in the cricket pitch stadium we were back out in the field. Despite some late resistance from David (18) and Xerxes (15), the pick of the CCC Lions batsmen was Ryan batting at no. 4 with 37 from 43 balls, including 2 sixes. The tight bowling of Uffindal and Flowers, with wickets also from Bhome and Thurstance restricted CCC Lions to 107 all out.
Match 7 v Carioca Cricket Club Lions (18/03/18) - MCC win by 64 runs
MCC: 162-8 (20 overs)
Soni 51, Barrs 30
David DSA 3 overs, 5 wickets, 22 runs
CCC Lions: 98-8 (20 overs)
David DSA 20, Ahsan 19
Bhome 2 overs, 2 wickets, 10 runs
Uffindal 3 overs, 2 wickets, 9 runs
A changed batting order saw Rudge and Barrs open for the MCC and Soni (51) batting at no. 3, who combined with Barrs for the only 50 partnership of the innings. In the last game of the tour, the MCC's run rate flagged a little, however some aggressive stroke making in the middle order from Uffindal saw the Club reach 162 from their 20 overs. The highlight of this innings was the 5-wicket haul recorded by CCC Lions player David DSA, who at one point found himself on a hat-trick ball.
David DSA also stood out with the bat in hand, top scoring for the CCC Lions with 20 at the end of the innings. However, the MCC's bowling attack proved too strong again, holding the opposition to 98-8.
This game concluded an unbeaten tour of Chile and Brazil for the MCC - 7 wins from 7 games.Success on the field is an important factor on any tour, and it shouldn't be underestimated the value our opposition placed in having the opportunity to play against us. However, undoubtedly the real value of this tour will play out in the weeks, months and years that follow, as the impact of our legacy is properly understood.
Whether it be coaching Chile's women's team and aspiring young Chilean cricketers in Santiago, coaching school children in Sao Paolo, or supporting the unbelievable enthusiasm for the game in Rio, the focus for us as a touring squad has been to leave cricket here in a better place.
Our experiences of the last two weeks will live long in the memory, and it is our hope that we have had the equivalent impact on the people we have interacted with in Chile and Brazil. One thing is for certain, the Spirt of Cricket is thriving in South America. We're excited to see how cricket has developed the next time the MCC is able tour there again.
Over and out from the MCC tour to Brazil and Chile!