Coming back for day 2, we knew that there was not going to be a declaration and we had to get this final wicket ourselves. Given the chance to complete his Michelle, Valmik almost took out the biggest number 9 in Sydney first ball, before the big fella had a bit of fun for the next 6 overs. We could finally exult as Rockets got the big fella to edge to the go-go-gadget arms of Ashish Bhat at gully, finishing with the splendid figures of 5-33 in 22 overs.
Left with 177 to chase in 71 overs, the task was never going to be easy but as long as we batted the day, we’d give ourselves a chance. To the credit of the North West bowlers, they bowled with purpose and gave away nothing for the first 22 overs. At that point we had dug ourselves into a bit of a hole, with the score reading 3-28 and the required run rate creeping up. It was up to Denesh and John to rebuild the innings, and they did so by putting their vast experience to good use to make sure that no more wickets were lost at tea. At 3-38 after 27 overs, there was still a long path ahead of us.
As the pace bowlers tired and the reality of fielding on such a large ground dawned on the home team, shoulders started to slowly droop as the spinners couldn’t muster a breakthrough. Slowly but surely, Denesh and John started picking out the gaps and the fielding team insisted on keeping players out on the boundary. At the final drinks, the score read 3-89, with 88 required off 23 overs. Thankfully, there was plenty of firepower in the shed, so the veterans began to tea off.
John’s vigil came to an end, but not before reaching his highest score for the season at 36, while Denesh continued and reached his first 50 for Randwick Petersham since returning from his 10 year sabbatical. In between, the in-form Jordan Segal fell trying to push the rate, and at 6-136 with 13 overs remaining in the day there were a few nerves gathering on the sidelines. There really shouldn’t have been, as Ashish Bhat and Jackson Dodd played aggressive but smart cricket – hitting gaps, running hard and interspersing boundaries when needed to ensure we never fell behind the rate. With the fast bowlers cooked, North West had to return to spin and a hard earned victory and finals spot was achieved as Ash sent a boundary over cover with 3.2 overs remaining in the day’s play. As has been the case through out the season, a hard victory was earned on the back of a consummate and gutsy team effort.
Jeremy Jastrzab (C)