Glorious run chase sees Pacific sink Chigwell with a ball to spare
Pacific v Chigwell at Highgate CC
Sun 05 Sep 2021 at 12.30pm
Won by 3 wickets
Middlesex & Essex Invitation League

Watch Mutz’s video of the final over here


In blazing September sunshine at Highgate CC, Mutz won the toss and elected to bowl. After a couple of loose overs at the outset, Mark Mehta and Hishaam Siddiqui both offered excellent opening spells, and pressure was building nicely for Pacific. Hishaam bowled opener Rob Allum, finding real pace and zip off the pitch.


Reny came on at first change, and bowled incredibly tight lines, with the batsmen leaving, playing and missing, or prodding to fielders. Having successfully slowed the run rate, Reny swung the game back in Pacific’s favour, and picked up two well-deserved wickets in his last over, including that of Viz, who top-scored for Chigwell with 82.


Nick Epstein bowled nicely from the other end, and, while less economical, looked likely to take wickets each over.


At points PCC looked sharp in the field, showing real intent and vigour, but at others they looked slightly sluggish. A couple of finger-tip dropped catches from Luke de Noronha and Mark at cover and mid-wicket didn’t help, although Toby’s two excellent catches at long on should not go unremarked.


Rizwan Siddiqui and Luke were brought on in the latter overs, and took three handy wickets between them in the space of a few overs. It looked as though they might clean up the tail before the 45 overs was up, but in his third over Luke had to be taken off after bowling two beamers, the second of them at a 16-year-old boy. Hishaam completed Luke’s over for him, bowling with notable regard for the rights of the child (Gen Z solidarity, perhaps?), as Luke looked on sheepishly from the cover boundary.


After samosas for tea, PCC made a promising start with the bat. Mutz Siddiqui and Toby Chasseaud started slowly but effectively, edging up the run rate as they played themselves in. Mutz struck several blistering straight drives down the ground, as Toby worked the ball around the field nicely.


Mutz looked in great form, becoming increasingly aggressive as he built his innings. Perhaps over keen to punish a suggestive half volley, he crashed his bat into ground and ball at the same time, splitting and breaking it in half, horizontally. It was slightly baffling to see a bat break in that way, laterally just beneath the sticker, and on further inspection it appeared to be made of MDF. That explains his average…


Mutz was caught on 48. And he won’t be happy not to have reached his 50, especially given that 4 leg byes were awarded for one he said he deftly guided down to the third man boundary with an open-faced bat. After loudly reprimanding umpire de Noronha on the pitch, Mutz vowed to change the scorebook after the match. And so, perhaps when this report is published Mutz does have his 50, and these sentences too will soon be struck from the record. Either way it was an excellent knock, deserving of a half century.


With Mutz’s wicket, it was time for the strong middle order to prove their mettle and skill. Which they most certainly did not. After a wonderful maiden 50 at Wray Crescent the previous day, Jasbir Basi was caught and stumped in the same ball, and so should perhaps miss the next match. Ben Burnham came in at 4 and was bowled for a duck.


Fortunately, Toby continued to bat with composure despite a controversy over a fallen bail, moving out of the 80s and on to his 100.


At the other end, more mayhem, as Mark Mehta skied an edge straight up to the keeper, who, unaware of the ball’s flight, would have been hit on the lid by it had he not looked up at the last moment. Then Rizwan came in with grand hopes of driving the run rate up to the required 10, only to be bowled for a duck by Nick Allum. Luke, in at 6, also tried and failed to slog a couple, before being caught at long on.


PCC’s auspicious middle order proved as unreliable as the visiting Indian Test side, and so it was left to Reny to come in at 8 and restore some hope. He scored a quick 32 with great aggression and skill, keeping the chase in sight, before being bowled by their nifty young off-spinner Rayan. Nick Epstein came in at 9, and it looked as though the total might now be out of reach. Undeterred, Chasseaud and Epstein refused to play for the draw, and in the last few overs Toby took it to another level, with Nick (aka Jack Leech) offering up the strike and playing a handful of commanding strokes in the process.


The batsmen were visibly lifted by the audible support from the sidelines, with Mehta’s fan club suitably loosened by craft beers, and Shaline and Georgia shouting words of encouragement from the sidelines (the latter of whom certainly did not know the rules, even if she grasped the game’s ethos quite intuitively). “Come on Toby”, “Let’s go Pacific”, “Score one over the boundary rope, what’s it called, a six? That’s it! Do a six”, etc, etc. It was suggested among several pundits that receiving this kind of support more regularly would do wonders for team morale and performance.


What seemed an untenable over rate after the collapse of the middle order started to look more and more feasible, as Toby blasted fours and sixes for fun, despite the spread field. With three overs left, there were 45 to get. With two overs left the target was 27. Toby crashed a six over long off, and it was 18 off 9, just two a ball. With 15 needed from the final over, the crowd cheered and gasped, as Toby rightly hogged the strike, and clattered boundaries and a two, taking him past 150.


When Chasseaud hit the winning runs – a four through mid on – with one ball remaining, PCC players and fans streamed on to the pitch in jubilation, having just witnessed club cricket’s answer to Headingley 2019. It was a dramatic end to an exhilarating match, and even a few tennis heads found their eyes diverted from court to pitch as the game reached its crescendo.


The team stayed on to discuss the match’s drama in the faltering evening sun, ensuring Toby was well quenched and celebrating a great victory.


by Luke de Noronha 

Toby Chasseaud after hitting 151 to help Pacific CC beat Chigwell with a ball to spare

Chigwell v Pacific
Toss won by Pacific
Chigwell innings  R  M  B  4  6
Visakan Balakumar   b Ponnamkunnath   82  0  92  0  0  
Rob Allum*   b Siddiqui   27  0  35  0  0  
James Harley†   c Chasseaud b Epstein   41  0  35  0  0  
Nav Jaswal   run out Epstein    4  0  17  0  0  
Ross McTaggart   b Ponnamkunnath   1  0  5  0  0  
Richard Hannant   c Chasseaud b de Noronha   25  0  16  0  0  
Mark Hutchinson   c & b de Noronha   20  0  23  0  0  
Rob Orange   not out    14  0  14  0  0  
Nick Allum   b Siddiqui   1  0  5  0  0  
Rayn Ismail-Ahluwalia   not out    2  0  6  0  0  
Owen Evans   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 15, lb 5, w 16, nb 9) 45    
 TOTAL (45.0 Overs) 262    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Mark Mehta   6  1  37  0  
 Hishaam Siddiqui   10  1  36  1  
 Randheer Ponnamkunnath   12  1  48  2  
 Nick Epstein   6  0  50  1  
 James Soden   4  0  23  0  
 Rizwan Siddiqui   5  0  28  1  
 Luke de Noronha   2  0  20  2  
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Murtaza Siddiqui†   c Rob Allum b Rob Orange   48  0  55  9  0  
Toby Chasseaud   not out    152  0  97  12  4  
Jasbir Basi   st James Harley b Rob Orange   1  0  5  0  0  
Ben Burnham   b Mark Hutchinson   0  0  4  0  0  
Mark Mehta   c James Harley b Nick Allum   7  0  10  0  0  
Rizwan Siddiqui   b Nick Allum   0  0  1  0  0  
Luke de Noronha   c Rob Allum b Rob Orange   1  0  2  0  0  
Randheer Ponnamkunnath   b Rayn Ismail-Ahluwalia   32  0  21  4  0  
Nick Epstein   not out    7  0  9  1  0  
James Soden   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Hishaam Siddiqui      0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 3, lb 10, w 1, nb 1) 15    
 TOTAL (38.5 Overs) 264    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Richard Hannant   4  0  14  0  
 Mark Hutchinson   12  0  73  1  
 Robert Orange   12  1  60  3  
 Nick Allum   7  0  58  2  
 Rayn Ismail-Ahluwalia   3  0  30  1  
 Rob Allum   0.5  0  16  0  

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