Millennium are a fine side, vying with Saracens for the last play-off berth, and they came to the crease with confidence. However, they had to face Saracens’ premier quicks - Kunal Parwani and Aditya Kanthan – and soon they found themselves struggling as ball after ball zipped and lifted past their outside edge, each one expertly pouched by stand-in superkeeper Roshan Dadlani (something of the Alec Stewart in his bearing). However, it was not a catch or a bowled that had the first batter back in the hutch, but a lethal pick-up and throw from Louis Chan at mid-on. Superb stuff, reminiscent of Derek Randall in his prime.
We kept the asphyxiation pressure on, and edges and wickets came for Adi and Kunal (one of which was a spellbinding Matt Collins leap and one-handed grab), as well as a first Saracen wicket for debutant Simandeep Singh. Just the second ball of his Saracens career, and the Millennium bat was unable to cope with his pace and verve.
Ravi Sujanani came on at the KCC end of the ground, and gave an exhibition in resilience and skill under pressure. After a couple of uncharacteristically loose balls in his first over, he knocked over two Millennia in successive balls, and Saracens crowded round the bat as we pressed for a Ravi hat-trick. In vain, unfortunately, but Ravi did pick up his third wicket a little later; he, Peter Wooden, and Waqar Dawood kept it tight so that Millennium could post a total of only 174 all out.
We failed to chase such a total a week ago, of course, but this time there were to be no mistakes. Superbat Peter Wooden, his blade firm and linear for those trademark straight drives, was at the crease throughout the innings, and Ravi Sujanani underlined his return to form by compiling a classy knock. Simandeep and Waqar added some quick runs, and we completed the run chase with three overs to spare.
Saracens have two matches to go, on April 2 and 5, and a play-off spot is well within reach. We saw a tremendous team effort out on the KCC paddock on Saturday – lots of supportive encouragement, great fielding (without too many complaints even from Senior Pro Shiroy Vachha, asked to shuttle around from third man to midwicket), tight bowling, and disciplined batting – and we stand well ready for these final challenges.
Saracens were: Peter Wooden, Matt Collins, Ravi Sujanani, Simandeep Singh, Waqar Dawood, Tim Parkinson (c), Roshan Dadlani, Louis Chan, Aditya Kanthan, Kunal Parwani, Shiroy Vachha.