MAL recovered from an extremely poor bowling and fielding performance to show great fight with the bat and push the 2011 champions all the way at Camdenians in a pulsating encounter on Sunday.
MTSSC won the toss and elected to bat first with the pitch looking green but firm. Yoav Lebens and Kev Venter opened the bowling and found some early swing. Yoav picked up the first wicket, a rising ball only fended to Gav Lebens in the gulley.
Despite creating some chances, there were too many boundary balls from all the bowlers, and they weren't backed up in the field as not only were catches spilt, but the ground fielding was sub-par as well. Even so, Michael Klinger and Jonny Fishel were able to keep some pressure on, as MTSSC were only 90-1 at drinks.
The seven overs following drinks saw three wickets shared by Fishel and Marc Mer, Raitahtah caught and bowled by Fishel for 33, opener Chartarjee caught at cover by Ian Salter off Mer, and Singh LBW to Fishel for 1
From 132-4 with the game in the balance, MTSSC recovered and took the game away, with Patel riding his luck and surviving a strong appeal for caught behind off Mer. The last 11 overs of the innings saw 111 runs come, with MTSSC reaching a daunting 260-4.
Knowing a good start was vital to the chase, MAL came out aggressively, Mark Landau and Ian Salter looking to take the bowlers on at every opportunity. They took the score to 39 before Salter (15) managed to pick out the one man on the legside boundary with a scoop-cum-sweep.
Landau continued to go hard at the bowling, striking some fantastic shots, as Jamie Gance battled hard in the face of some hostile bowling. Their partnership garnered 71 with Landau going through to a well-deserved half century, before Gance was caught for 23 just as he was looking to be gaining confidence.
Yoav Lebens came in at 4 but was bowled round his legs for 2. Landau was joined by Kevin Venter, and they looked to set a platform for an assault in the late overs. Landau moved through to 86 (83 balls, 11 x 4, 1 x 6) before picking out the man at deep mid-wicket from a low full toss off Pradip.
Venter then moved through the gears in partnership with Jonny Fishel, hitting some classic boundaries through the off-side. Fishel was run out trying to get Venter back on strike, with 48 needed from four overs. Gav Lebens went in similar fashion, but there was still a chance with Venter at the crease.
A big six from Venter's bat, and 16 off the penultimate over, meant that 12 were needed from the last six balls. Venter was dismissed for a terrific 64 (53 balls, 7x4, 1x6) , caught off Singh, with 10 needed, and despite a final boundary from Mer, MAL fell five short of an astonishing victory.
MIDDLESEX SUNDAY CRICKET LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
MTSSC 260-4 (40 overs) Patel 57*, Alfonse 57*, Chartarjee 55, Jonathan Fishel 2-53
MAL 256-7 (40 overs) Mark Landau 86, Kevin Venter 64, Singh 2-54
MTSSC won by 4 runs