MAL picked up their first win of the 2011 Middlesex Sunday Cricket League Division Two season with a comprehensive-looking victory over Wycombe House on Sunday.
Wycombe House won the toss and asked MAL to bat on a blustery day at Old Camdenians. Mark Landau and Russ Corin took the score to 15 before Corin was bowled by Wasi for 4. Landau was next to go in the 5th over, adjudged lbw to the same bowler for 19. 34-2 became 36-3 as Pinty Baddiel nicked behind off slow bowler Bilal.
What followed was a fabulous partnership that rescued MAL from a perilous position - Yoav Lebens and Grant Pakter batted bravely and extremely well on a pitch that proved to be very uneven, and borderline dangerous. Both took numerous hits to the hands and body, interspersed with some sparkling stroke-play.
Meanwhile, Wycombe House were mixing unplayable deliveries with a good sprinkling of loose bowling, and an injury to their wicket-keeper Mervin hindered them further, as the number of byes steadily mounted. Lebens and Pakter's partnership of 144 ended in the 23rd over, as both fell to catches off the innocuous looking Anis.
Grant Traub and Josh Begner added 51 in eight overs to continue the good work before Begner was bowled by one that kept low from the pacy Zahid for 15.
Traub continued to pull crisply through midwicket in his 35 as he and Yoni Schurder pushed the score forward, before a hamstring injury forced Schurder's retirement.
Captain Gav Lebens played some meaty shots, and all the lower order contributed as MAL closed their innings on 312 all out after 40 overs.
With the outfield very quick and the boundaries short, defending any total is always tricky at Camdenians, and Wycombe House came out in very aggressive mood.
Yoav Lebens was swinging the ball at great pace and getting extravagant bounce, and he picked up the first wicket in his second over, bowling Bilal for 9. Things could have been better for MAL as two catches went down behind the wicket in the fourth over.
Landau picked up the second wicket, bowling Mervin for 24. Both Lebens and Landau bowled well in the face of batsmen looking to dominate, and both could, and probably should, have had more reward than the one wicket they each took.
The game accelerated rapidly with the introduction of left-arm spinner Grant Traub. He quickly settled into an outstanding rhythm, and was rewarded with a hat-trick with the fourth, fifth and sixth balls of his first over, clean bowling Omar and Wasi, and trapping Imran plumb in front.
His figures would become even more spectacular in his second over, as Zahid was stumped and Shiv was lbw, to leave him on 2-2-0-5.
It could and should have been 6-0 from the second ball of his hitrd over as Aamir drilled a catch to long on which was well held by Pinty Baddiel, who stepped backwards over the boundary for a six.
It was not long before Traub wrapped up the innings though, finishing with the outstanding figures of 7-24, Corin showing very fast hands to stump Aamir, and seal the win.
This was an impressive performance from MAL, though there are still plenty of areas that can be improved upon, particularly in the field.
MAL 312 (40 overs) Yoav Lebens 66, Grant Pakter 62, Grant Traub 35
Wycombe House CC 181 (26.3 overs) Grant Traub 7-24
MAL won by 131 runs