When Manderston CC were approached for a match by the MC Lions of Mumbai, the offer was eagerly accepted, for who could resist the thought of playing in an international?
An extra date was set for Monday evening and a strong home team assembled to give the visitors a good game.
MC Lions had already played in Edinburgh and Bamburgh – in previous years they had toured New Zealand, England and South Africa – and Manderston hoped to top all of these!
Coming out of their tour bus with matching kits and accessories the Mumbai team were an impressive sight. After group photos in front of the House, a game of 25 overs was agreed.
MC Lions batted first and although Duncan Sim, one of three brothers playing, had Sohil Shah caught behind cheaply, they made an excellent start, reaching 69 for 1 after 10 overs, an excellent scoring rate on such a large ground.
Alec Sim and Manderston captain Hayden Martin bowled well without reward, with edges induced but not going to hand.
However, things changed around with the introduction of the slower bowlers, first with George Farr taking wickets on consecutive balls, then Eddy Richards taking a career best five for eight off three overs, including that of opener Aditya Chaturvedi who made a well constructed 64 containing some classic shots.
This took much of the momentum from the Lions’ innings and they closed on 152 for eight, with Manderston using no fewer than nine bowlers.
The only other notable scores were Mohit Chaturvedi with 26 and Samir, run out from the last ball with 18. At a rate of almost exactly a run a ball this was a competitive but by no means unreachable target.
A quick turnaround saw Will Thompson and Iain Sim open the batting against some accurate swing bowling from the ‘father’ of the Lions, nicknamed Baba.
Iain got going quite quickly with some powerful shots, and the loss of two quick wickets brought his brother Alec to the crease.
Together they formed a partnership which formed the backbone of the innings.
Alec was quite happy to get singles and give his brother the strike as Iain showed his power and control with no fewer than four sixes off one over. Later dubbed a ‘monster’ by the opposing captain, it was an awesome display of big hitting, with several shots going into the next field.
However, the bowlers persevered, and got the Lions back into the game, with Alec Sim falling for 20, then Hayden Martin for 22 before Iain was finally stumped off the deserving Sohil for a destructive 81.
At this stage the home side only needed 17 runs off five overs, but more wickets tumbled – including three in one over to Sohil. This left Manderston requiring three to win from the last over, but with only two wickets remaining in increasingly gloomy light.
Duncan Sim, last of the recognised batsmen, hit a good shot which looked to be the winning runs, only to be brilliantly caught in the deep by a diving fielder.
So with two balls to go all results were possible.
The batsmen agreed to run come what may and Eddy Richards scampered the quickest of quick singles to leave Richard Thompson one ball, his first. Noticing a gap on the legside he connected supremely well to seal the match with a four.
Pick off the bowlers was Sohil with five for 22 from five overs, Samir with two for 43, coming back well after being hit for 24 in his first over, and Harik with two for 35.
In the true spirit of cricket both sides were unstinting in their appreciation of each other for a fantastic match played in a great spirit, with presentations of memorabilia made before players and spectators enjoyed refreshments together.
The MC Lions are next off to Glasgow and then Jute, and Manderston wishes them the very best of luck – and very much hope to host them again some time!