Saracens won the toss on a beautiful Saturday morning at KCC, and elected to bat. We welcomed back Vikash Vaswani from his time overseas, and soon he and the ever-elegant Peter Wooden were building a healthy first-wicket stand. Vikash departed for 22, leaving the core of the innings to be constructed by Wooden and Shahnawaz Malik. Shahn has had cause to lament losing his wicket without making a big score so far this season; he put that notion to rest by batting throughout the rest of the Saracens dig for a classy undefeated 70.
Wooden peppered and cleared the boundary in classic Trescothick fashion – one might think he had heard of the £1m bounty offered to Tresco for clearing the pavilion at Lords – and Saracens progressed to a dominant score of 256 in our 35 overs, helped by this superb Wooden century, Malik’s cementing seventy, and late cameos from McAnulty and Parkinson.
Saracens had a quick huddle as we went out into the field, intending to put Kai Tak under pressure and take wickets as that pressure mounted. Sadly, we could not keep that pressure on them for long enough periods, bowling too many wides and loose balls, and while their wickets steadily fell they were able to keep up with the required run rate. As time became an issue the captain did not get the field well enough set, and allowed runs to leak away. Kai Tak were still up against it as they lost two men in Kunal Parwani’s fine final over, but they got the winning runs with nine men down and deep into the 35th over.
Defending 256 on our home patch should not be beyond us, and that we let Kai Tak even get close was a cause for deep disappointment as we conducted the post-mortem in the gathering gloom. Kai Tak bowled us almost as many wides as we did them, but we really cannot afford to give away 27 extras – more than 10% of the opponent’s target. The captain’s field placings also left something to be desired, as did vocalization of team spirit, and it was a chastened and subdued debrief in the dark.
Saracens slip to a 3-3 win-loss record with this defeat, but will bounce back in the next über-clash as they go head-to-head with KCC Tartars on Dec 11. Watch this space…
Saracens were:, Peter Wooden, Vikash Vaswani, Shahnawaz Malik, Chris McAnulty, Tim Parkinson (c), Waqar Dawood, Louis Chan, David Thomas, Kunal Parwani, Azeem Ebrahim, Robin Gill