Centuries from Yoav Lebens and Chris Tomasewski helped MAL maintain their 100 per cent start to the Middlesex Sunday League season with victory over Rajput Samaj.
MAL won the toss for the first time this season and chose to bat on a beautiful day at Camdenians. Warren and Joel opened, aiming to set a solid foundation, before a dubious decision five balls into Warren's innings brought an abrupt end to the opening partnership. Warren was adjudged LBW when the ball seemed too high as highlighted by the bruise above the knee-roll.
Gideon Caller joined Joel, who now seems far more comfortable in his new opening position. Two fours in quick succession for Joel upped the run-rate somewhat, but not before he was dropped second ball at short mid-on while checking a drive.
Controversy arose when Joel edged the ball to the keeper with the noise from the edge reaching spectators in the pavilion, however the umpire seemed unmoved until the square leg umpire intervened and Joel was out for 11 from 19.
Caller was out three overs later when he cut a slower ball straight to the fielder. This brought out Chris with the score on 50 after 10 overs. At tea Yoav and Chris were both well set, batting brilliantly with the partnership at 78 and both batsman drawing near to their half centuries. Four overs later the 100 partnership was reached and an over later Yoav reached his half century.
By now Chris had caught up and reached his own half century in the next over. Chris did the bulk of the scoring for the next few overs with Yoav batting the most subdued innings that most people had seen him play before.
Once Yoav reached 70 runs he accelerated once more hitting four successive boundaries before finally reaching a quite terrific century with a massive six down the ground - his only maximum of the innings. The century came off 88 deliveries. It seemed impossible that either batsman would be out until Yoav was run out for 124 off 98 while backing up halfway down the pitch.
This partnership of 236 unfortunately does tie with MAL's record partnership in 1994, as confirmed by former player and Sky Sports cricket stats guru Benedict Bermange. Yoav's wicket did little to stem the run rate with Chris at the other end reaching his own fantastic century of 81 deliveries. Chris finished not out with 107 off 84. Ami Wynbourne was dismissed for a duck after charging down the pitch going for a big hit, but missing the ball, and Jonny with a sensible unbeaten knock of 1 off 1. The last ball of the innings went for a six to cow corner to take the total score to 300.
Understandably there was a change to the bowling order with Yoav and Chris taking a breather. However, they weren't out of the action for long with an edge flying to slips of Jonny Evans' bowling in the second over and Chris clawing the ball out the air
The bowlers continued to maintain the pressure with Binny bowling a maiden in the fifth and Evans keeping it just as tight at the other end. The second wicket came in the seventh over after a terrific onslaught of quick bowling from Binny he finally got one full and straight, through the gap and bowled the second opener. Binny picked up another wicket four overs later after a fantastic exhibition of fast bowling.
An inspired bowling change from Yoav brought Gideon Reston at one end and Eli at the other. Reston kept up the tight bowling that Evans had started while the wickets fell at the other end for Eli. As Eli tossed up flighted deliveries that turned from one way to another it exasperated the opposition batsman who succumbed to the pressure one by one.
The first wicket fell in his first over when the batsman was bowled through the gate. The second in his next over was caught by a fantastic catch from Binny at mid-off. Reston finally got his reward when he bowled out the batsman at the other end. In Eli's penultimate over he picked up his third wicket when the batsman was looking to attack but was completely beaten by the flight of the ball which clipped the top of off-stump.
As the end seemed near, Ami replaced Reston at one end while Guv gave Eli a well deserved break at the other. Ami finally got his reward for a very big effort with a quite remarkable catch from Yoav diving forwards from his slip position to take a catch near the stumps. Guv got his wicket after the batsman chipped the ball straight back up and Guv nonchalantly plucked the ball out of the air.
The final wicket fell at 7:15 with the first ball of Ami's last over, another catch at slip dismissing a batsman who had dug in, defended and decided not touch anything that wasn't hitting the stumps.
In the end Rajput were all out for 154 giving MAL a win by 146 runs, a quite fantastic all-round performance.