Season One: Episode 26 – “The Hundred” Birmingham vs London

Season One: Episode 26 – “The Hundred” Birmingham vs London

What fresh, merry hell is this?

When I loaded up the game, I saw a reference regarding The Hundred and idly accepted the invitation to take over the London Blue franchise.

I have, elsewhere, written about The Hundred http://pajnewman.com/2020/06/01/without-hindsight-reconsidering-the-hundred/ Suffice to say, it’s not something I’m enthusiastic about, yet I fully appreciate isn’t aimed at the likes of me.

To learn that – after the torrid horror of the  T20 season – that I now have to manage an entirely new shower of hit and giggle cricketers, in a format I value as highly as the waste product of my neighbour’s Pekingese when it deposits on my lawn, does not amuse me.

Selection 

We do have some players to choose from.

England stars Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Zak Crawley, Eoin Morgan, Mark Wood and Jade Dernbach are all in the squad, as is Australian Glenn Maxwell and Pakistani Mohammad Amir. 

So … Could be worse, I suppose.

The Opposition 

We head to the beautified Midlands – ha – to take on a Birmingham outfit stuffed with  some stars of their own.

Ravi f-ing Bopara is now someone else’s problem for a match – which is nice – but Shaheen Afridi is also on their side, and he’s not to be laughed at.

Staggeringly, considering it looks like the weather turns to the apocalypse in the second innings, we manage to win the toss.

We’ll be having a bat, please.

London Blue’s Innings 

Denly and Crawley face the new ball. Together they move to 9 before Patrick Brown snares Crawley leg before wicket for 4. 9-1.

Got to be said, the five ball over nonsense does make this appalling game nip along. 

Truly, it is to cricket what the sharing pack of supermarket own brand chocolate is to a gourmet meal.

Morgan is next to get the dead man’s finger, Aussie Adam Zampa getting him with the first ball of his second over. 28-2.

Zampa has Denly in a bind all of a sudden. First ball of his over he has a good shout waved away. 

Second ball, a snick doesn’t carry. 

Third ball Denly smacks him dismissively for 6. He follows this up with a 4. 

Then he tries to sweep him. 

Misses. Lbw – out. Walking for 33. 48-3.

Maxwell and Adam Rossington begin grinding away. Somewhat bizarrely, they decide to take a suicidal single, and the ball is lazily lobbed back and the stumps broken. The Aussie gone for 20. 79-4.

Daniel Lawrence is next to perish. He goes to the deathly bowling of, can you guess who? Oh, that’s right – Bopara for 6, 92-5.

Rossington survives two consecutive leg before shouts to Brown, but is still there at the end of his over.

Luis Reece and Rossington survive to the end. Our batting comes to a close at 121-5.

Birmingham’s Innings

Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali face Amir to open the innings. They get off to a flyer, plundering Amir and then Toby Roland-Jones for 19 off 10 balls.

However, a tweak to Amir’s line allows him to bowl Livingstone and he’s gone for 2. 21-1.

101 from 88 balls required.

Riki Wessels and Ali go after us good style.

I bring on Luis Reece. They go after him too: he’s smacked for 16 off the over. 

At 80-1, they need a paltry 42 from 60 balls. 

I decide that Roelof van der Merwe can turn his arm over. He certainly does. Third ball he rips out Wessel’s off stump. 82-2.

40 from 57 balls.

Glamorgan’s Chris Cook is next out to face the spin and slow medium pace I have in my arsenal.

However, my dismal pessimism is rewarded as Reece comes back fighting from the slaughter in his opening over, and inspires the umpire to send him home tae think again. 84-3.

38 from 53.

Guess who’s next to the fray? Ravi. Ravi fucking-thorn-in-my-side-pain-in-my-butt-Bopara.

He hits Reece for 6 first ball.

On the bright side, he nearly gets out playing and missing embarrassingly next ball, of course, because … Ravi.

But cricket’s answer to the Rubix Cube lives to fight another day.

Mohammad Nabi and van der Merwe keep things surprisingly tight. A maiden over to Ali takes them to 99-3.

23 from 35 needed.

Nabi has an appeal for leg before against Ali waved away, as he was missing leg stump by a fag paper.

Next ball, Ali snicks one and Nabi has his man: caught Rossington, bowled Nabi for 50. 103-4.

19 from 30.

Cameron Delport and Bopara steer them to victory, knocking off the runs by 16:42, the promised cloudy conditions never materialising.

We lose by six wickets.

There are seven more games of this.

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