Wombats Dubai Super League 2016 – 17.
5th November 2016.
I Have two confessions to make. Confession one: I have a pet hate for Darjeeling… There! I said it! A few years ago, when I was rekindling my love for cricket, after a hiatus of several years, I reached out Darjeeling to enquire if I could play with them (a quick Google search yielded their name first, well done SEO). I was promptly, but politely told via email that since I am not English, I wasn’t quite welcome and that there were several non English teams in Dubai. Naturally, having gone to boarding school in Warwick, university in Loughborough and working several years all over the rainy island, I felt I had a worthy chance. Needless to say, I was mildly upset with the snub…
Fast forward to Saturday, 5th November, 2016… A dazzling show of Blitz and Bling at the ICC with 463 runs scored, spread over 50 overs. Wow! Wombats won the toss and promptly chose to bat first on typically sunny afternoon at the ICC Oval. Playing on a dusty flat wicket with a short boundary from one end meant that every batsman was licking their lips at the prospects of making the bowlers wish they were born with a bat in hand instead…
Moe Ali opened the batting with a new partner, the stylish and prodigiously talented Krishna Lakhani. Tall and lanky, and only 17 years old. They went about assaulting the Darjeeling attack that featured Viv Botha, the raging South African quick that has several batsmen in DSL quivering in their pads. The wicket didn’t help him and the openers looked unflustered as they went about their merry way of picking off the bad balls. Moe playing a particularly punishing innings with effortless cover drives to the short boundary and a mammoth six over mid wicket to the biggest boundary, and it was big, 100 meter monster! Krishna was more traditional in his start as he built his innings, commencing with a wonderful clip off his legs to the square leg boundary. Darjeeling sensing the need to shift the momentum, came out of their corner, sledging, particularly the youngster bearing the brunt of it, being reminded that he doesn’t belong in the men’s league. Krishna, as gracefully as his technique, ignored the slew of verbiage. Ali, Google as he is lovingly known, hauled out a short ball over midwicket to his school friend John Houghton in the deep. He played an aggressive knock to set Wombats Blacks up for a launch.
Aashir, wasted no time and whacked his first ball for six straight over the bowlers head, we have come to expect this. Let the Blitz begin! The ICC audience were treated to a 30 minute display of the most outstanding shower of sixes they have seen in recent memory. Rhys Carter at the mid off boundary kept predicting sixes ball after ball with the couple of onlookers next to him. As the ball kept sailing over his head and smashing into the ICC Academy building. Aashir scored an audacious 64 of a mere 22 balls, with 8 sixes and 1 four. Aashir probably doesn’t need to learn how to keep it on the ground, you can’t coach that. And, he was not out… one wonders if he had more overs to play! On the other end, enjoying the show of Blitz from the best seat in the house, Krishna began to sparkle and show his own Bling, classy, controlled with laser like precision, he kept finding the boundary. Unlucky to miss his century, he made 89 mesmerizing runs of just 57 balls. Has Wombats Blacks unearthed a rare gem here?
With 262 on the board, Wombats Blacks took the field, unaware of the blitzy onslaught that was to ensue by the Darjeeling batsmen. As Tashfen took the new ball, the stylish Rhys Carter and the aggressive John Houghton tore into him like hungry lions. Once again, it began to hail sixes. Pelting Abdul Murad over mid off. When Abdul returned a volley of sledges, something along the lines of “slogging”… Rhys was quick to remind him about using his hands when fielding when he missed a ball that rocketed to the boundary. Darjeeling was making a game out of this, going at the required 10/11 runs an over. Game on! Tashfen however, had a loud appeal for LBW to get the dangerous Rhys out. The momentum shifted towards Wombats Blacks, briefly as Johno continued to light up the ICC with some effortless lofts for six of Aashir.
However, it was another Wombats youngster, Salah who came in to bowl 3 brilliant overs for only 8 runs and took 3 wickets including that of the Houghton that eventually snuffed out the Darjeeling onslaught. As wickets began to tumble, so did the Darjeeling asking run rate. Darjeeling mustered up 202 for 9 in their allotted 25 overs. Another great spectacle in DSL. Blitz and Bling at the ICC.
Now, to my second confession: I have a bigger pet love for Darjeeling. Yes, there, I said it. In the last few years, they have been fantastic partners in DSL and the cricket community, and our teams’ proximity has created a mutual respect and love for each other. After all, they are last year’s DSL champions and they boast some wonderful talent in their ranks. More importantly, they play the game in a great spirit, tough on the field and great blokes off the field. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful mix of players and supporters who are so passionate about cricket and DSL to make a wonderful experience for us all. And to experience a Blitz and Bling in equal measure, that’s just icing on the cake. So here is to Darjeeling! We love you!