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Want to win a match? Score some runs…

Sometimes you want the opposition batsmen to stay in. That was the lesson learned from a
handsome victory for the VCC Zamis over USV Hercules, who had a run rate that was slower than the
queues at Schiphol.

Not that the Zamis started in particularly spectacular fashion either, in a game that was shortened to
25 overs with same-side bowling and no mid-game lunch break, due to the ominous rain clouds that
were looming. We won the toss and decided to bat first, with Chris and Ivo forming the opening
partnership.

The first two overs achieved just three runs plus two wides before Chris scored a handsome
boundary, followed by a nifty two, and was then made to pay for his impertinence in playing some
exciting cricket by being caught on the next ball. Graham came in, hitting a boundary on the third
ball. Not to be outdone, Ivo hit three sixes, creating a 60-run partnership that lasted until the 9 th over
when both men were caught in quick succession.

In came Yves and Gijs, with Yves managing a couple before being bowled, to be replaced by Marek,
who had an uncharacteristically bad day at the office and was caught for naught. Nick came in for a
useful eight runs before he was caught, and Sander knocked a captainly 19 off 20 balls before he was
run out. Floris added another eleven off six balls, including one six, ending the match not out.
But it was Gijs who proved to be the star of the show, scoring 46 runs off 47 runs, including two
fours and two sixes, sadly not managing to notch up the half-century as the 25 overs had been
bowled. We ended the innings at 174, a strike rate of 1.2 per over, following one of the best Zami
batting performances for some time.

The war of attrition

After a brief break to eat bananas, stroke dogs, round up stray children and pray to the Dutch rain
gods that the weather would hold, we came out to field. Hercules actually started better than we
did, knocking a four in the first over to make seven on the three wides we gifted them. The first
wicket fell in the third over on a direct hit from Chris.

And then it became a war of attrition, with Hercules managing to score just 15 runs in the next seven
and a half overs. Realizing that the run rate was barely two an over, which would leave Hercules
finishing well short, Sander kept the opening two bowlers Chris and Nick in place to maintain the
trajectory. Both bowled their full quotas in the first 10 overs, keeping Hercules to just 25, before
Graham didn’t get the memo about keeping them in and stumped their man for eight on 33 balls.
More slow scoring worked in our favor until the 13 th over when a six was achieved, much to our (and
probably their) astonishment; their axeman would go on to become the Hercules’ highest scorer,
achieving 37 off 46 balls. If only they had had more of him; some astute bowling from Floris, Gijs,
Stefan and Yves put their run rate back into low single figures. Gijs caught and bowled their second-
highest scorer as their scorecards reached 83 with just seven overs to go… a truly, ahem, Herculean
task for the Utrecht side.

Four wickets in one over!

Then we had the miracle 21 st over. Their high scorer was run out, and the incomer was clean bowled,
leaving Gijs on a hat-trick. This was to be denied by the new man who stayed in for two balls before
he too was out, caught with a spectacular boundary catch by Marek. And then his replacement was
run out, making it four wickets inside one over, and possibly some kind of record.
A bit of a grind to the finish ensued, before the last over came and it was time to let Frits bowl.
Proving that you should never underestimate an opponent, their penultimate batsman was a bit too
overconfident in taking a dramatic swipe at one of Frits’s looping specials. He was well out of his
crease and was stumped by Graham. Three runs off the final three balls saw an end to a lackluster
innings of just 111 for nine, giving the Zamis a 63-run victory.

The decision to curtail the innings proved a good one, as the heavens opened just as we retired to
the pavilion for the third innings. And as someone pointed out – “every time that John plays, we
win!” But then even John has a higher average run rate than 0.74 per over….

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Harold Vogelaar