MCC's Jim Hindson describes the Club's joy with the weather as well as their success on the pitch in his latest blog of the Tour to Tanzania.
The torrential rain of the last few days has subsided and the forecast is excellent for remainder of the Tanzania leg of the tour. Clear blue skies and temperatures in excess of 30 degrees meant Monday’s rearranged fixture against a Development XI could go ahead.
The MCC arrived at the ground early to get some practice in, with revenge very much the watchword after a defeat in the tour opener. Getting used to playing on an artificial surface with incredibly slow outfield was certainly a factor in Friday’s defeat. The Club’s response was use the training session to take the ariel route which boosted the batsmen’s confidence.
There was a casualty though, when a towering six from captain Mike Coles smashed through a car windscreen some 80 metres away, testing tour manager Tim Kirk’s diplomacy skills. An amicable resolution was reached and a smiling Kirk returned, thankfully not the only time we would see a grin on the managers 49th birthday.
The hosts won the toss and elected to bat first but an improved performance in the field by MCC saw the Chairman’s XI restricted to 157-8. Simon Lambert led the way with a superb display of off-spin after being given the responsibility of bowling during the powerplay. Lambert finished with stunning figures of 1-10 from four overs and was well supported by Evert Bekker (2-13 off 3 overs) and Sumeet Sharma (2-15 off 2).
Early wickets hampered the MCC’s reply, which faltered to 95-8 with six overs remaining. It took a calm and calculated innings of 33 not out by that man Bekker, well supported by Jim Hindson (22 not out) to see the MCC home, in an unbroken ninth wicket partnership of 68.
It was a stunning game of cricket, where the hosts once again showcased their raw talent and it was a genuine relief to record a hard fought victory. A box of twenty poppies was waiting for us when we returned, thanks to Sarah Cooke at the British High Commission following a conversation earlier in the week. It had been a good day for the club.
Tuesday saw a change of venue, as we headed out to Dar Es Salaam University bright and early to run a coaching clinic for local primary school children. Scott McKetchnie lead the session superbly and was well-supported by the tourists, who were impressed with the knowledge and talent of the youngsters.
In the afternoon, the Club took on a TCA Chairman’s XI on the first grass pitch of the tour. The Club batted after wining the toss and McKetchnie lead from the front once again with a blistering 50 from 32 deliveries, which included two fours and three sixes. Contributions down the order saw the visitors reach 124-8, on a low, slow surface which felt around par at half time.
The match was broadcast live by ITV and the skipper of the Chairman’s XI claimed his side would win easily when interviewed during the break. Galvanised by yesterday’s victory and with the bit between their teeth, MCC produced a disciplined display in the field. Captain Mike Coles produced a fantastic performance with the ball, recording figures of 3-13 from four overs which included eight consecutive dot balls and a breathtaking caught and bowled.
The tourists ran out winners by 35 runs, with seamer Jimmy Dixon also excellent with the ball, taking 3-10. The boundary count has proved the difference between the sides, with the MCC hitting three fours and five sixes, compared to just two sixes by the hosts. The victory was particularly sweet for Simon Lambert who stepped up to co-commentate on the day. “You boys have got a mountain to climb the size of Kilimanjaro” one of many gems heard on the airwaves.
With one match remaining in Tanzania, the MCC have built some momentum and will be gunning for a third victory before moving onto Nairobi to take on a Kenyan Chairman’s XI.
It’s certainly all to play for.
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