Because i needed to be up at the crack of sparrowshit on a Sunday morning to meet this man so i could get a ride to the Garland ground and join the Plano Tigers as they took on the Ismailia CC. I have no idea where Garland is but i know it's not that close, but geminibalance offered to drive me halfway and Sri was going to pick me up from there.
It was fucking freezing. It would have been just on freezing when we left Arlington and by the end of the game it was not much above that. I don't think i have ever played in that kind of cold. It was lovely and sunny and i was without sunglasses and sleep. I offered to keep mainly because it meant that i got gloves to keep my hands warm.
The Ismailia CC got off to a great start, with their openers swinging at everything, and getting away with it, as the Tigers were still feeling the cold. At 0/100 it was starting to look a bit one sided, but i kept up the chatter behind the stumps (i am sure they all hated me after a while) but the skip was happy enough with my work thus far (i had missed a quicker one in the second over and conceded my only bye for the game). There were some run out chances that square leg wasn't interested in (i am not sure about them but the boys were convinced there was one that was way out) and the order went around from the skip that there would be no run outs today. Some good loopy leg spin was treated with utmost respect and slowed the runs from one end, and the skipper finally brought himself on and got the important break through wicket. The wickets started falling after that, and there were only two dropped catches, a bullet like caught and bowled at the skippers head, and a sharpish one to shortish cover.
They kept on swinging and the Tigers kept coming after them. I took a sharp one down leg side and was not given another that i was fairly confident about. The end of the innnings saw them 7/168 from their 25 overs. Which i thought was a good effort in the end since the openers had done so much damage.
At the change of innings i volunteered to stand at square leg for a bit because i knew if i sat down i'd probbaly fall asleep. Our boys started cautiously, but played some lovely strokes picking up a few runs here and there. Poor discipline from their bowlers, gave us a some bonus runs. I have to say both sides were very typically indian. Lovely wristy players, and fine strokemakers, but lacking committment in the field, tending towards being bloody lazy for some of them. They in particular, were fairly asleep in the field and with a big target and a lot of encouragment from the sideline our boys pushed the runs, turning ones into twos, with everyone who batted getting in there and playing their part.
With four overs to go we needed 22, kept it at more or less run a ball. With nervous skipper Raj on the sidelines ready to go in and save the day. We lost a wicket to an lbw and i saw a few eyes roll. He strode out and did what every captain is supposed to do. Take command, and play out the game. On the last ball of the second over a nicely guided late cut into a vacant backward point saw the ball race towards the fence with enough time for the batsmen to run two and seal the game with an over to spare.
The time and temperature on the way home from the game
Vikas and a bright sunny day for cricket.
A new and very wide pitch. And a new batsman makes his way out to face the tigers attack.
It can be lonely at deep first slip... and our opener (in blue) and second drop Saurabh discuss tactics.
The innings break, and the Tigers opener having a look at the field.
Richard their Jamaican import who like me, wasn't sure that it really was warm enough for cricket, but was crazy enough to be out there anyway. He's been in Southern California for the past four years, but now calls DFW home. And Richard at full stretch.
Packing up the gear, and thumbs up from the Raj, winning skip!
Ladies and Gentlemen your victors... The Plano Tigers.