MCC's Jim Hindson describes the Club's final fixture in Tanzania ahead of a trip to Kenya for one last match, in his penultimate blog of the Tour.
After three days of baking sun in Dar Es Salaam, the MCC were cleared to play against a DSM Combined XI at the Gymkhana Club - our final tour match in Tanzania. An inscribed stone laid by FR Brown sits within the pavilion - Brown captained the first ever tour of East Africa by MCC back in 1957. Back to present day and our own skipper Mike Coles won the toss for this 50 overs per side fixture and openers Simon Lambert and Tom Twiney wasted no time in vindicating his decision. On a slow but true pitch, they pounced on width and were particularly ruthless on anything over-pitched.
Both left-handers coped remarkably well with the sweltering humidity, as the slow outfield required plenty of scampering between the wickets alongside boundaries collected along the way. Lambert was first to record his half century and shortly after Twiney reached his, his partner was raising his bat once again, to celebrate a superb century. He went on to make 102 before being caught, his dismissal finally ending an exceptional opening partnership of 182. Twiney made a cultured 76 and with contributions down the order from Scott Mckechnie (61 not out) and Evert Bekker (33), a final total of 294-4 felt 20 or so above par.
It was Jimmy Dixon who made the breakthrough when the hosts responded, trapping opener Kilasi LBW. Spinners Jim Hindson and Alistair Neale were introduced into the attack at the end of the first power play and quickly made inroads, finding some sharp turn and making life difficult for batsmen. Bowling in tandem, slow left armer Hindson finished with 5-26 and off-spinner Neale 2-20, as the hosts collapsed from 41-1 to 90 all-out as the Club recorded a comprehensive victory of 204 runs.
After the game, speeches were given by both sides and the players mingled and swapped mementoes and stories, capping a fantastic seven days in Tanzania. The MCC’s visit had undoubtably raised the profile of cricket in the country, with comprehensive newspaper coverage and matches being broadcast on live on national television.
The matches had certainly been competitive and keenly fought, with the club eventually taking a 3-1 victory in this mini-series.
The Tanzanian cricketers displayed raw talent, combined with an admirable desperation to win and the signs are that the country has real potential to develop. Women’s cricket is also strong here and the Club witnessed at first hand the passion for the game shown by junior cricketers during an MCC coaching session with primary school children.
Better facilities, a more clearly defined infrastructure to be headed up by an national coach of repute would assist in capitalising on the undoubted opportunity that exists to develop the game here. Ultimately that will come down to support from the likes of the ICC and the Club will be feeding back to the games’ governing body with a detailed report from its latest trip.
After a fond farewell, it’s off to Nairobi to take on a Kenya select XI. A visit to Amboseli National Park is planned on the way where the touring party will get 24 hours to rest some weary bodies after three games in three days, played in 30 degree heat. The aches and pains are never quite as bad on a winning streak and the Club were in high spirits as they departed on the final leg of their African adventure.
For the latest updates from MCC's Tour of Tanzania including photos, scorecards and blogs, click below.