19 July 2014

The Strangest Dream Ever?

Most of you will know by now that I attend the John Lyon School in Harrow in the United Kingdom.  A lot of you know that I am the cricket team's statistician/scorer. However, some of you will not know that I am a huge supporter of Surrey County Cricket Club.

So following an excellent holiday "up naaaaaath", I ended up daydreaming as I was being driven back home to London. What followed was ridiculous. Many of you know that I prefer the longer forms of cricket (4-days, tests, etc.) - and so it came to pass that my bonkers mind came up with the scenario of John Lyon playing Surrey in a 4-day match at The Kia Oval. The match took place in May 2015.

Although the match took place in 2015, my mind couldn't comprehend transfers for Surrey. Nonetheless, I have very strong views about the Surrey side; it currently contains too many spin bowlers and not enough seam bowlers. I am a big fan of some of their players, certainly. The squad that came into my head was the following: Graeme Smith (c), Rory Burns, Kevin Pietersen, Vikram Solanki, Gary Wilson, Jason Roy, Steven Davies (wk), Zafar Ansari, Gareth Batty, Azhar Mahmood, Chris Tremlett. In hindsight, I don't know why Surrey would play Gary Wilson. Steven Davies is first choice keeper and is not keeping this year due to injury so Wilson is filling in. Indeed, Davies should, to my mind, be England keeper. He was taken on the Ashes tour of 2010-11 as cover for Matthew Prior, and with Prior past it, I feel like Davies should have a chance before the baton is passed on to the likes of Butler and Bairstow.

Having watched the school for two years now, I was worried about how the void would be filled of the excellent Year 13 players who wouldn't be playing for us in the date this is set, and so my mind eventually, although subconsciously, settled on the following - and if the master, Mr A. Ling, is reading this, he may consider this as a possible squad: Dilshan Peerez, James Francis, Tom Marshall (c), Seerone Kandasamy, Jash Ghandi, Shahbaz Ahmed, Dishanth Satkunarajah (wk), Marcus Tighe, Aaryan Devani, Owen Marshall, Adam Wright. I've picked players for the longer forms of the game, for a few of those tend to play themselves in, certainly.

Surrey win the toss and bat - rather well as it happens. Despite Marshall trapping Burns LBW early on, Graeme Smith gets in and stays in. As usual, Pietersen runs himself out, and when Vikram Solanki gets out cheaply (as usual), Gary Wilson buckles under the pressure. Surrey are 124 - 4. Eventually, Owen Marshall gets Graeme Smith out thanks to a brilliant Adam Wright catch (well, we expect nothing less) for 68. Jason Roy bats well to get to 61 off 40 deliveries (being the player he is), before, as we are accustomed to, playing all around a dead straight one. It's 201 - 6. Steven Davies and Zafar Ansari make a very good partnership, and that continued as they put on 179 for the seventh wicket. Ansari is stumped on 93, and whilst Gareth Batty is able to provide a wall, when he gets out, the tail soon follows. 

John Lyon then went in to bat, with James Francis almost immediately nicking one to first slip to Azhar Mahmood off Tremlett. Soon after, Peerez was bowled with a beautiful ball from Batty. Tom Marshall and Seerone Kandasamy sought courage in seeking to stop the rot; they put on 92 for the third wicket. Kandasamy tried to cut one off Batty to reach 50 but edged it straight into Davies's gloves. Jash Ghandi was then trapped in front. Batty was bowling beautifully. Shahbaz Ahmad then got in and stayed in, putting on a very patient 37 from 137 balls. When Tom Marshall was finally bowled off Chris Tremlett, there was a standing ovation from The Kia Oval. After all, he may have just rescued the match for John Lyon: 123 off 232 balls, and the score was now 207 - 5. Dishanth Satkunarajah and Shahbaz Ahmad were very patient with their sixth wicket partnership and got the 50 partnership to the dismay of the Surrey bowlers. Azhar Mahmood finally gets Satkunarajah to edge one. Marcus Tighe long handles Azhar Mahmood for four off his first ball, but completely misses the second one and is back in the hutch. Soon after, Ahmad's fine resistance ends. Aaryan Devani and Owen Marshall focus on a defensive approach and Marshall gets 24 not out as a result. Devani is finally caught in front and Adam Wright is removed one ball later, and suddenly John Lyon are all out.

Surrey fans will want to look away at the next bit. With a first innings lead of 141, all Surrey need to do is to bat decently again. Unfortunately, the Lyonians hadn't read the script, with Smith removed for one before Rory Burns treads on his stumps and Pietersen is run out. Again. Solanki goes for 8. Wilson goes the very next ball. Roy and Davies do stop the rot, however, but Roy can only manage 29 before being bowled. Ansari plays defensively but they don't get the runs as a result. The last four put on just 17 between them. Thankfully, Steven Davies provides damage limitation. He hits an unbeaten 50. Considering Surrey were 92 - 7, some may feel glad that Davies's heroics gave them just 145. But that means that John Lyon only need 287 to win the match.

Peerez and Francis get John Lyon off to a good start, before the wickets fall - and boy, do they fall. Tremlett bowls both the openers before Batty traps Marshall LBW, and suddenly John Lyon have gone from 52 - 0 to 61 - 3 (226 to win). Then comes a bizarre incident when Jash Ghandi, on 12, is surprised by a bouncer and is forced to take his hand off the bat to avoid it. The ball lands in the palm of his hand off the bat. Surrey appeal for a catch and he is given out. However, as the laws of cricket are clear of this matter, Ghandi was later adjudged to have handled the ball. With Shahbaz Ahmad being bowled by Tremlett first ball, John Lyon look to be in dire straits. The score is 75 - 5. They need 212 more runs to win. Kandasamy and Satkunarajah put on 40 together, before in comes Marcus Tighe. Surrey's spin attack simply doesn't work for Tighe, who takes the long handle to them - and is quickly on to 50. The other wickets tumble, but that doesn't worry him. All of a sudden, Tighe's approaching 100 - and the wagon wheel is unnecessary, for the Pavillion has 2 broken windows and the OCS stand has 4. But on 89 he heaves at another one, but it's Batty's quicker delivery, it's through the gate, and Tighe has to go. Owen Marshall played a supporting defensive role to Tighe whilst he was in - and the partnership of 110 confirms this. But when Tighe gets out, the score is 252 - 9, with John Lyon needing 35 to win, Surrey needing one wicket, and the draw is coming into play too. Tom Marshall gets a message sent out on to the field: defend at all costs. The strike rates plummet - but they edge nearer and nearer the target. Ansari tosses up some rubbish and Marshall can cream it away for four. Suddenly, John Lyon need one to win with 18 balls remaining. In comes Azhar Mahmood, Wright drops the ball, they scamper one.... and they're home. The OCS stand erupts. The members in the Pavillion groan. The dressing rooms in the Bedser Stand erupt. John Lyon have done it. 

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