The Short Leg XI contested against Neptune Gaming in a warm up match and unfortunately we recorded our first and hopefully final loss of the tournament.
After winning the toss and batting first, we lost D’Arcy Short (5) early in the piece but it was his opening and diminutive batting partner Temba Bavuma who marshalled the troops up to a competitive total. His contrasting style with the aggressive, flamboyant batting displays of the rest of the order worked well as he ran between the wickets very well and hit boundaries right at the times we needed them.
Despite the losses of Joe Root (24 from 18) and Glenn Maxwell (10 from 10) in quick succession, Bavuma was undeterred and powered his way to a 41 ball fifty. Captain Shimron Hetymer produced flashes of his potential with a quick fire 19 before being outdone by a Jimmy Neesham slower ball.
Keeper Alex Carey started fluently at the crease and was unfortunate to lose the rock of the innings Bavuma for a well crafted yet on the slow side 60 from 49 just on the verge of the final three overs. We made up for our lack of runs in the overs preceding the power play through Carey’s innovation (34* from 20) and Perera’s quick flourish (9* from 6) to lift us up to a par score of 166-5 from our allocated overs.
Despite our par score, we needed power play wickets which we got one of of through a terrible mixup between Janneman Malan and Chris Lynn which saw the end of Lynnsanity courtesy of a Bhuvneshwar Kumar direct hit. Tim Seifert and Malan however motored on and attacked our bowling in and out of the power play as we lost control with some misdirected bowling and fielding. Jhye Richardson (0-31 from 3) and spinner Qais Ahmad (0-32 from 3) were on the recieving end of some brutal batting in particular for Malan as he passed his half century.
With the chase down to 67 from 10 overs, a change in attack proved vital. Sri Lankan Thisara Perera mixed up his pace through his superbly executed cutters which bowled Seifert for 32 and then deceived Travis Head who holed out to Kumar for a second ball duck. All of a sudden the game had turned on its head when at 140-3, Kumar ran out Ian Bell to end his 11 ball cameo of 22. Part time chinamen D’Arcy Short was bravely put on to bowl and captain Hetymer was rewarded with the scalp of Neesham (3) a few runs later. 4 overs remained in the match and 36 runs were needed with Malan still at the crease. Were we still in this?
Despite some spirited bowling, Malan plundered and thundered his way through the target to finish up on 84* from 59 enabling Chris Morris 10* from 4 to hit the match winning six with an over to spare.
Our warm up loss will be a good check in our reality and will allow us to prepare better for our first pool Group A match against Trump’s Fringe who have Jason Roy, Jasprit Bumrah and Neil Wagner among their ranks. Changes will be pondered but faith will still remain in the current XI to bring home Lockdown glory!