Sharmageddon time
Pacific v Hadley Wood Green at Highgate CC
Sun 10 Jun 2018 at 1pm
Won by 7 wickets
Middlesex & Essex Invitation League

While England’s ODI team floundered in Edinburgh on Sunday, Pacific celebrated a first victory in 2018’s MEIL after surpassing HWG’s 283, the highest chase in the club’s 35-year history. Moses (92) and Sharma’s batting (139*) wrested the game away from HWG in an hour of scintillating match play but until they came together the outcome was far from certain.

After last week’s agonizing defeat to Fives, the toss was key. We’d won the last five against HWG usually by setting big totals and breaching dead bats and limited ambition. Surprising for a team with 'Hadley' and ‘WG’ in its name you’d think.

But Skipper Hussain, whose playing experience in this fixture dates back to the Olympic year of 2012, had his attention piqued by the arrival of several young ringers alongside the seasoned HGW core of Turner, Sawtell, Steele and Dann. Not wanting to suffer a repetition of recent history, our captain duly inserted the opposition on winning the toss.

This new HGW hybrid departed from the script by getting out of the blocks like a sprinter in a Diamond League meet. Swathed in blue zinc sunblock, cricket’s warpaint, young opener Ahmed put Pacific to the sword with pinchhitting abandon, swinging so freely for fours and sixes he’d reached 42 before locating a Pacific fielder with a shot within the ropes. Ormesher and McGinnigle have added spice and skill to the seam attack in 2018, but the lifeless track, rapid outfield and risibly short boundary on the tennis court side did them no favours.

The heavier the ball the further it travelled from the bat. So after Ormesher had breached Dann’s defences with a ball fast and full, skip wisely brought himself on. His gentler velocities exposed his namesake’s lack of patience and broke up his fluency. On 58 he was trapped on the crease by another Ormesher special. Umpire Turner raised his finger but the lad stood his ground petulantly before departure. Hussain bowled Khaled for 28 soon after.

Rather than flog the fast-bowling stick, skip then opted for the Garrett approach, our offspinning Tim, whose guile accounted for the middle order wickets of Ghosh and the Milburn-like Reddy, his 7th and 8th of a fine debut full season. Former Old Parkonian and MEIL freelancer Usman Rafiq, having censured his teammates for their soft dismissals, was joined by 68-year-old HGW legend Mike Steele with the score about 120-odd for 5.

Pacific were back in the game but began to fritter away the gains over the course of the mid afternoon under the enervating June sun. Hussain took himself and Ormesher out of the attack and gave most of the outfielders a bowl. This was very generous but one felt we weren’t grasping the nettle, though we did have to forage a few balls out of the bushes as the adhesive Rafiq and Steele accumulated through overs 25-40. The nature of the pitch meant that runs could flow simply with crease occupation and it was hard to believe HWG surged to and way beyond the 200 mark. Finally, Ormesher caught  Rafiq (50) off a Moses seamer, Hussain returned to bowl the now exhausted Steele through his legs for his fourth 50 in Hadley colours (source: Play-Cricket), a valiant effort by the old fox. Ormesher returned to pick up a deserved four-fer and Hussain closed the innings by having Mahraj stumped by Sharma, but not before the opposition had added late runs in an unexpected 283. Due to the match circumstances, Jas didn’t get much of a bowl but his improving chinamen will surely get more outings this term.

Time was of the essence as Burnham and his colleague, financial litigator David Wigg, started our reply after tea. Ben looked secure, steering a four through third man and a sweet cover drive off an outswinger before skying a Turner full toss to the crocodile hands of mid off. Wigg’s dismissal brought Sharma to the crease with Moses. Hadley Wood were hollering. But the fun was just about to begin.

Photographers refer to the golden hour, that period before sunset ideal for the image. With the sun now setting below Shepherd’s Cot, Sumeet and George gilded the day with stunning shots. In the soft light casting a rich glow around the ground, their hard hitting stunned the HGWooders into bewildered silence. Hadley Wood’s old guard had seen a lot in their time I’d guess, but this torpor spoke of new, incommunicable, previously unexperienced hurt. The pain of the powerless. Sharmageddon time.

The PCC pair surged from  84-2 off 9 to 150 off 15 in the blink of an eye, smiting the ball to all parts as a film of bbq smoke drifted across the outfield (“a heady mix” said Wigg). Moses used his formidable power to launch checked sixes into the netting at Weblyesque low trajectory, then spanking one through square leg with an aggression our live comms Garrett described “as if he were an irate 1950s father whose child had just done a very bad thing.” But he mixed the domination with delicacy. John O especially enjoyed a finessed sweep off of a seamer, displaying the control of shot selection.

“Determined not to be left behind” (Garrett), Sumeet showed his class all around the wicket, a sumptuous midwicket steer here, a high-calibre drive there. Since his PCC debut in late 2015, he has been adapting his game to English conditions. Growing up in Ahmedabad, Western India, the largest city in the state of Gujarat, the boy Sharma would play games of cricket using the softer tennis-style ball, in community parks or on the streets. It wasn’t until University in Mohali and at the start of his career in Bangalore that he played red ball cricket. In Bangalore, he and his colleagues would play on “non-grassy, barren grounds with a matting wicket” (concrete underneath); 20/20 games which encouraged big hits with his heavy Slasher bat. This innings showed us how he’s adapted his game to the longer formats. The short boundaries at Highgate tempt the batsman but Sumeet kept his composure. He found the boundary 24 times in total, putting him into the Pacific records. George hit the maximums as the union prospered, the G6 Sumeet you might call it, before, just after the 200 had been brought up, Moses was run out for 92 after a miscommunication.“Heartbreaking is the word” said McGinnigle, but it was testament to the quality of entertainment that umpires Korgaonkar and Hussain stayed out for the entire innings, having box seats for a visual feast.

Sharma and Mullens ticked off the last 80 or so required, after which the PCC could celebrate with jugs of auburn ale and good chat in the late evening. Thanks to everyone who took part for a great day. Here’s hoping for more wins in the MEIL this year!


Stats corner

* Highest chase in PCC history (287), beating the 275/6 v Oakfield Parkonians in 2016.

* Sharma's 139*, his third PCC ton, is our equal 18th highest score and his 24 fours place him equal 13th for most boundaries in an innings.

* 570 is the ninth highest aggregate score (HWG 283 + PCC 287)

* George also scored 92 against HWG at Botany Bay last year.

Hadley Wood Green v Pacific
Toss won by Pacific
Hadley Wood Green innings  R  M  B  4  6
Dann   b Ormesher   11  0  0  4  0  
Ahmed†   lbw b Ormesher   58  0  0  11  6  
Khaled   b Hussain   28  0  0  5  0  
Usman   c Ormesher b Moses   50  0  0  7  0  
Ghosh   b Garrett   0  0  0  0  0  
Reddy   lbw b Garrett   10  0  0  0  1  
Steele   b Hussain   50  0  0  9  0  
Adnan   lbw b Ormesher   5  0  0  1  0  
Turner   b Ormesher   10  0  0  2  0  
Mahraj   st Sharma b Hussain   14  0  0  1  1  
Sawtell   not out    1  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 20, lb 1, w 13, nb 5) 39    
 TOTAL (45.0 Overs) 283    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 James McGinnigle   7  0  59  0  
 John Ormesher   11  1  66  4  
 Ahmed Hussain   8  0  26  3  
 Tim Garrett   7  0  33  2  
 Aroon Korgaonkar   3  0  15  0  
 Kieran Mullens   4  0  17  0  
 David Wigg   2  0  12  0  
 George Moses   3  0  24  1  
 Jasbir Basi   1  0  12  0  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
David Wigg   lbw b Turner   4  0  0  4  0  
Ben Burnham   c N/A b Turner   10  0  0  2  0  
George Moses   run out WK b Ahmed   92  0  0  12  4  
Sumeet Sharma†   not out    139  0  0  24  1  
Kieran Mullens   not out    19  0  0  3  0  
John Ormesher   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Aroon Korgaonkar   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Tim Garrett   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
James McGinnigle   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Jasbir Basi   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Ahmed Hussain*   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Turner   6.1  1  53  1  
 Adnan   6  0  45  0  
 Sain   2  0  23  0  
 Sawtell   4  0  47  0  
 Mahraj   4  0  49  0  
 Ahmed   4  0  24  0  
 Reddy   3  0  31  0  

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