It’s Headingley, it’s mid-September and Gloucestershire have travelled to meet Yorkshire in a Royal London One-Day Cup semi-final.
The hosts bat first and openers Andrew Gale and Alex Lees put on 103 runs for the first wicket. They look like walking to the cup final.
Enter Michael Klinger. The tall Australian made an unbeaten 137 runs and took Gloucestershire to the most unlikely of victories. There were other factors in the win that night, but it’s fair to say that had Klinger not returned from Perth to make that game, Yorkshire would almost definitely have won.
It wasn’t the first time Klinger’s explosive form has been the catalyst for a win and it has caused many to claim that Gloucestershire are nothing more than a one man-show. One journalist, in the lead up to today’s final, even referred to the side as “Klingershire”.
How, then, did a group of West Country lads win the Royal London One-Day Cup final when Klinger was out third ball for no runs? In fact, the captain barely contributed at all today and yet it is his side that walks away with the silverware.
There must be some satisfaction to seeing the naysayers proved wrong, but Klinger remains unmoved by such claims.
“I was asked about this a lot during the week,” he said, “but we’ve had contributors throughout this competition. Unfortunately I missed out today but the boys chipped in really well.
“To be honest, you come here today and you take the win. It doesn’t matter what your personal feats are. Obviously, you’d like to get runs in a final but the boys got the job done and the group has done that throughout the tournament.”
And get the job done they definitely did. Veteran Geraint Jones took a half-century in his final professional match, and with the wickets tumbling around him, that was incredibly valuable.
Even with Jones’ fifty, the total of 220 was barely enough. It would fall to the bowlers to defend it well. Jack Taylor and James Fuller were more than equal to the task, both taking wickets for very few runs. Taylor gave an all-round performance, adding 35 with the bat, that earned him the Man-of-the-Match title.
Klinger says it is a part of a three-year progression plan for his relatively youthful side, but that it wasn’t expected to come to fruition just yet. Nevertheless, the win has come and after an extraordinary fight back it was certainly well deserved.
“You could probably say the success has come a little bit quicker than planned, but I said to the boys that sometimes you win them before you’re ready and sometimes it’s just your time.
“I tried to put the message across that this year, it is our time and in the end it’s turned out to be that.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to keep building on that over the next couple of years. It doesn’t matter what position we’re in, I couldn’t be happier or prouder to lead these guys.
“I’m a very proud captain and very proud to be part of this club.”