THCC 3/94 (Murali 29, Israfeel 20*, Daub 1/11, Murugan 1/16) def. Göttingen 90 (A. Mustafa 34, Kamaladin 3/21, Cam 3/23)
There can be no doubt that back on February 2, Punxsutawney Phil saw a shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter. Well, that must have been some shadow, because it was still winter in Germany when the first ball was bowled in the 2016 NDCV Bundesliga.
A short pre-season, with little chance for outdoor training, meant the THCC first XI travelled to Göttingen with little preparation, but with a lot of clothing. Snow was forecast, and it came, along with rain, hail and a chilly northerly wind. For many, the match marked the first time playing cricket in snow.
The new-look THCC team included Murali and Chandan, playing their first games for the club, while Henrik debuted for the first XI. It meant the team comprised players from Afghanistan, Australia, Denmark, England, India, Pakistan and South Africa, with a 12th man and scorer from Germany.
Cam lost the toss, with Göttingen electing to bat, perhaps hoping conditions would improve during the day and the temperature might rise from 3° to 6°. So, THCC took the field, literally shaking with excitement. Bipin started proceedings, bowling with the arctic wind and finding a rhythm early. He had an LBW turned down, which looked about as good as an LBW can, but then got the rub of the green next ball, when a good-pitched delivery kept (very) low and hit the bottom of the stumps.
The Mustafa brothers then batted well to defy Israfeel and Bipin, taking the score up to 36 until G. Mustafa was well caught by Safiullah at point, with Bipin getting a second wicket. Israfeel followed soon after with a searing ball that cut back on Germany U19 player Oliver Markus and took the top of off-stump. From there, Kamal and Cam teamed up to cut down the runs and pick up six wickets. Celebrating his 23rd birthday, Kamal dislodged the stubborn A. Mustafa, brilliantly caught by Bipin at first slip, then had Prem out next ball, this time with Murali taking a sharp catch at short leg, but couldn’t get the hat-trick.
Murali and Steve combined well for a run-out, Henrik took a great catch at extra cover, and after 26 overs, THCC had managed to dismiss Göttingen for 90. In the break, the Göttingen team, always generous and welcoming hosts, put on an excellent lunch of sandwiches, home-made cake and hot drinks.
With the temperature having dropped, debutants Murali and Chandan opened the innings, cautiously taking the score to 25 before Chandan was out LBW. Murali and Cam got to 50, before another LBW sent Cam packing for 16. As the weather started to turn bad, with blustery snow falling, Murali swung the bat some more, hitting a succession of fours before trying one shot too many and getting bowled by the Göttingen captain, Raja Murugan. Israfeel and Safiullah weathered the storm (hah!), getting the runs in the 23rd over, with Israfeel finishing in style with a big six over long on.
The low scores, matching the day’s temperatures, shouldn’t take anything away from this being a hard-fought match. Göttingen is a team showing a lot of promise, especially Z. Jamali, the young left-arm bowler, and Mahel Daub, who dismissed the THCC captain, while Oliver was solid behind the stumps. THCC wishes Göttingen all the best for the rest of the Bundesliga season, and extends a big thank you for your warm hospitality and a great day of cricket. Thanks also to Moritz for scoring in difficult conditions.