Weasels walloped at Barnes

Barnes Common, Saturday 11 June 2022.

St Anne’s Allstars 290-6 (35 overs: Amit Deverathippa 72, Steyn Grobler 46) beat New Barbarian Weasels 182-7 (35 overs: Muhammed Askar 2-45) by 108 runs.

Allstars Debuts: Usman Khan, Shorif Uddin.

Report by Sam PereraPhotos by Jimmy Scott and Amit Deverathippa

The Weasels and our club go back a long way, and even though they play few games these days, Iain “Wibble” Wilson’s men always make a special effort to raise a team to play us. On a pleasant afternoon at Barnes Common, they played with spirit – but we were just too good as we went to a comfortable victory.

We went in with a well laid out game plan, a batting strategy, and a contingency plan, and our batting order was set to achieve this strategy. For the first 10 overs – building the foundation – our opening batsmen Amit Deverathippa and Harshad Keskar were given two targets: holding their wicket to see off the opening bowlers, and maintaining a run rate of 4 to 5 an over. This wasn’t easy with the Weasels’ two opening fast bowlers, Hamad and Hamza, who swung the ball to a level one would expect in a much higher level of cricket than ours. But the immense maturity and patience our two openers displayed saw them off, and after 10 overs we were on target at 44-0.

From overs from 11 to 20, the plan was one batsman accelerate and the other two anchor in. Harshad played a top innings, and the level of maturity he displayed, coupled with the wide range of stylish technical strokes, was a treat to watch. The opening stand had reached 61 in the 13th over before our old friend Wibble had him stumped.

Steyn Grobler joined Amit at the wicket, and played his natural attacking game from the start, with a boundary off his first ball – and then the boundaries started to rain. Amit, too, increased the run rate yet higher, and the pair put on a lightning stand of 98 in just 10 overs, a scoring rate rarely achieved in our history. When Cam dismissed Steyn caught and bowled four short of his fifty, we were very handily placed at 159-2 with plenty overs and batting still to come.

Our batting hero, and undoubted man of the match, Amit’s performance deserves great credit far beyond the impressive 72 runs he scored. Many who have seen Amit’s previous innings for the Allstars saw a very different batsman at Barnes. He held his nerve, played a defensive innings, with patience and maturity, and this season he has displayed his ability to play at any level of the order. Supported by debutant Usman Khan’s 41 and Amiya Ranjan’s quick double digits the score passed the 200 mark with 8 overs still to be bowled. Though Joshi was to dismiss both Amit and Usman, Sam Perera and Shanmugam Sama then shared a sixth wicket partnership of 59 in the last five overs before Sam was caught off the final delivery. Our eventual score of 290-6 was the third highest total in our history.

When the Allstars took the field, our efforts were no less impressive. Shanmu and Amiya both bowled at rocket speed and gained massive swing, stretching even Steyn’s athletic keeping skills. Shanmu struck in the first over to a stunning catch by Jimmy Scott at second slip, one of the best ever catches by an Allstar in the slip cordon, and neither of the second wicket pair were able to make any meaningful contribution as Amiya kept the scoring rate under tight control.

Usman continued a fine debut with the next blow, a smart stumping by Steyn who kept with the highest level of quality throughout the innings, and Muhammad Askar bowled superbly to take two wickets, having Sarmad caught by Steyn and bowling Cam. Our fielding performance was equally sharp, Sam Perera sending Chinton back as he ran him out with a direct hit from mid-off. Though the Weasels bravely saw the overs out, Hamza top scoring with 48, an 108-run victory was fully deserved. The Allstars’ motivation and commitment was exceptional, and team work and partnerships were the keys to victory.

We wish the Weasels all the best for the rest of their season – but next up, we face Mighty Wanderers at Crouch End this Sunday.

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