Corporate Cricket Challenge Match Report
Catch 22 versus Willis Tower Watson
A gutsy batting performance from Will Russell hitting an unprecedented 44* saw Willis home in a belter of a curtain raiser at the Corporate Cricket Challenge at the home of cricket.
Catch 22 batted first with both Vince and his son, Gabs getting to the mandatory retirement score of 25 to give them what seemed a comfortable first innings score of 115/2 - batting their entire ten overs.
However, the heart of the WTW batsmen certainly outweighed the accuracy of their bowling as they raced off the mark despite the enormity of the task at hand.
The chase started poorly for WTW as Rob Pollock-Hill was caught off the bowling of Ben in the first over.
Perhaps it was complacency, perhaps it was the pressure exerted by the free scoring WTW batsmen, but Catch 22 really let the game get away from them after that.
The introduction of Nick into the attack stemmed the flow somewhat as he removed the other Nick with his first ball. Confusion reigned supreme in the commentary box.
The most controversial moment of the match came in the 7th over as a seemingly obvious run out wasn’t given that would have left WTW with one wicket remaining. The umpire in the scorer’s box pulled an Arsene Wenger and claimed to have missed the incident. Quelle Surprise.
The hero of the day in the end was Will who was left alone (figuratively speaking) at the crease and set 7 to win from the final over. He had two balls to spare as he capped off a fine innings by pulling a shot for three, as you do.
Barclays versus Mindshare
Barclays got their title defence off to the perfect start with a straightforward victory over Mindshare.
Batting first, Barney stroked a classy 25. Meanwhile, Rezwan whacked his way to an equally effective 27 after Nick had caught Arun cheaply off his own bowling.
Krishna soon followed in amusing circumstances after being stranded mid-pitch after the ball had ricocheted off the stumps at the bowler's end. The runs kept on, however, with Nish and Jason providing some lusty blows to take Barclays beyond 100.
In reply, the Mindshare batting display faltered from the fifth ball of proceedings. Soon after Rob and Nick were run out in successive overs, Mindshare found themselves four down within the first five overs. Not ideal. Things would have been worse but for the occasional lapse in hand-eye coordination. Jason was bowled while attempting something fairly ambitious before Arun had Alok caught for 17 to end Mindshare's resistance. An emphatic win by 69 runs for the holders.
WTW versus Mindshare
WTW won the toss and decided to bat first, getting off to an excellent start as Rob and Tom raced to put 50 on the board for no loss. Tom got to his 25 with a consummate ease against a lacklustre Mindshare bowling attack.
As Shane Warne’s twirlers inspired the Aussies for so long, Jason stepped up to the plate for Mindshare. His two wickets in the same over sent shockwaves through the WTW middle order and destabilise what was an all but secured second victory of the night.
3 run outs followed as communication broke down in the heat of battle, allowing Mindshare to skittle the talented WTW side for a paltry 80 runs.
The chase began as measured as you like, with the Mindshare openers learning from WTW’s shambles between the crease and deliberately not taking runs when they were on offer.
The wicket of Alok threatened to galvanise the shattered looking outfield - worn down by the grit of the Mindshare openers and the astonishingly high score by E. Xtra.
His partner, Shardul, threw caution to the wind and hit a lovely couple of sixes to get to his 25, and the remainder of the innings passed without incident.
An easy victory in the end for Mindshare who got the 81 required with 10 balls remaining.
Barclays versus Catch 22
Barclays were made to pay for a careless batting display as they were skittled for just 57 by Catch 22.
After Arun was caught at mid-on in the first over, key man Barney soon followed as a quintissentially English collapse saw the holders reduced to 45-5. A counter-attack of sorts threatened to occur as Catch 22's discipline bowling temporarily deserted them. 57-6 the end result as Catch 22 restricted their rivals to less than a run-a-ball.
Barclays, with a below-par score on the board, started well in the field. Ben nibbled at a good delivery from the pacey Nishan as Catch 22 lost an early wicket. Gabriel soon followed, chopping on to Rezwan before bums became squeaky as 38-2 became 41-4. With tension in the air, Vince was struck plumb in front.
Or was he? Given out on the field, the skipper immediately reviewed the call. Hotspot revealed a mark on the bat of the Catch 22 captain - the decision overturned amid great controversy. “The ball having been struck right off the middles of the bat, no where near a leg !!! “ VP
The moment would prove crucial, with Henry seeing his side over the line to win by two wickets.
WTW versus Barclays
With both teams having won and lost a game apiece, Barclays and Willis Tower Watson met in a crucial final encounter of the evening.
After Rob was dismissed by the first ball of the match, the WTW approach was somewhat sedate, as they strolled along at two runs an over for the first eighteen deliveries.
Although Barclays remained in control, a flurry of no-balls threatened a much-needed increase to the run-rate. Tom and Will ticked along nicely, with Will striking some lusty blows as WTW began to take control.
Barney, however, had other ideas, pulling off a cracking no-look flicked run out to get rid of Tom. Will fell for 22 before an extraordinary catch to get rid of Nick.
Gordon was cleaned up next ball as he attempted something fairly agricultural and WTW had gone from 58-2 to 58-5 in the blink of an eye.
Barclays chased down the 67 required with ease. Tom took a consolation wicket with a superb delivery that clipped the off-bail but Barclays strolled to victory with Barney retiring on 25.
Catch 22 versus Mindshare
Catch 22 opted to bat first and got off to a dreadful start as skipper Vince was clean bowled off his first delivery. No complaints from Vince this time around.
They struggled to deal with the insatiable form of Mindshare seamer Jason, who added to his two wickets in the previous match with two more. On top of that he bagged a great catch off the bowling of Shardul to leave Catch 22 in real trouble.
An excellent innings from Colin somewhat steadied the leaky ship, as he notched his 25 before retiring so quickly that this reporter assumed he’d fallen like his comrades. Fortunately not.
A string of extras and some sloppy bowling let Catch 22 post a far more reasonable total than they might have done had Mindshare kept their foot on the throttle.
Colin’s return to the crease was greeted by rapturous applause from the gantry. The general consensus was that he was the only hope of a first Catch 22 win of the night.
This prediction was suitably proved right as he was left stranded on 40, but with 6 balls to come.
Cometh the man, cometh the hour. Colin used the remaining balls to notch the first half century of the competition, finishing on an unbeaten 54 and helping Catch 22 to a respectable 88 off their full ten overs.
Colin’s knock proved to be the difference as the Mindshare innings never really got off the ground.
Despite a good late knock from Jason, who managed 24 before being run out by his runner, Mindshare could only muster 54 runs in reply - a total that Colin managed on his own.
A big win for Catch 22 on a great first night of the competition.
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