Still radiant, and hungover, from the flush of winning in the Champions Trophy, I take my coffin and take the train to the city. It’s the clash of the primary colours: London’s Green vs Blues.
Rory Burns, Joe Denly and Mark Wood are off with England. 22-year-old Max Holden comes in as an opener. Zak Crawley and Eoin Morgan bump up the order to 2 and 3. Essex’s Daniel Lawrence comes into bat 4.
In place of Wood, Mohammad Amir comes into the attack.
There are quite a few established internationals in the Green’s changing room. Jason Roy, Sam Billings, Sam and Tom Curran are all in their side. This might be a hard test.
Predictably, we lose the toss – a phrase I use so often, it’s added itself to my autocorrect.
They tell us to bat.
London Blue’s Innings:
10 balls, 10 runs.
Holden gets bowled by Curran, T. It’s a great ball and there’s little the youngster can do. 10-1.
Crawley and Morgan both decide to go after them. They bat fluidly and look to open their shoulders early.
After 30 balls, we’re 48-1.
When Crawley goes, it’s poor. He steps across to the leg side, about as far he can go, to chase a straight one over the top of the stumps.
The lucky beanpole nearly gets away with it as well, but Billings takes an excellent diving catch across to his right. Gone for 43 off 28 balls. 52-2.
Lawrence does not grab his opportunity. He’s sharply stumped by Billings off the bowling of Nepalese international Sandeep Lamichhane.
Just not by us. 67-3.
47/100 balls gone.
Glenn Maxwell looks steady but, when he was 10 off 10, he tries to slap Sunil Narine for a six. Sadly, there was a Curran underneath it. Gone. 89-4.
Morgan has provided a real captain’s knock here, and his 44 comes off 40 balls. However, he’s caught off the 100th ball by a diving catch by Lamichhane off Curran. T.
We finish 112-5. One doesn’t like to be pessimistic but twice we’ve scored more than this.
London Green’s Innings:
It’s Roy and Rilee Rossouw who open up for the Greens.
We tinker with the plans and I pull Toby Roland-Jones aside to give him a pep talk. Not saying I’m a magician or anything, but he does him for pace and tears his off stump out.
“See ya!” gets screamed from the balcony, “Wouldn’t want to be ya!” Don’t know who said it.
Stevie Eskinazi takes the berth at 3. He’s nearly gone third ball playing and missing. So close…
Amir bowls from the other end, but we don’t look that threatening as a unit. I look again at the in-depth bowling plans and change the field settings.
As they edge to 33 off 27 balls, this tinkering works and Rossouw makes a mess of one and is gone for 6.
Sam Billings tries to wrest initiative back for the hosts. He steps across to the leg side, Crawley-style to swat away Maxwell’s off spin.
Next ball he’s caught by the skipper and gone for 10. 46-3.
67 from 58.
Stylish left hander Alex Blake comes in and immediately looks decent.
However, if they win here, it’ll be because of Eskinazi. He’s gone to 49 from 30 and moved them to needing only 46 from 50 balls.
I’m particularly unimpressed when my carefully positioned fielder lets the ball go between his legs for a boundary. I massage my temples to try a push out the rage.
Mohammad Nabi eventually makes the breakthrough, trapping Eskinazi lbw for 61. 83-4.
Fabian Allen comes in. He edges it; it lands safe. Then he goes for a suicidal run out and Blake is gone for 6. 85-5.
New over and they’d crossed so Will Jacks comes in. Nabi gets him lbw as well. 85-6.
Sam Curran bludgeons 14 from 8 balls and I fear I’ve somewhat thrown Roelof van der Merwe in at the deep end.
However, the 35-year-old gets shot of Allen, caught well by Crawley. 100-7
The Curran brothers come together at the wicket. Tom survives a very attractive leg before wicket shout. 108-7.
5 from 10 needed.
Amir’s no ball does not help us.
The six Sam carts away off the free hit ends the game.
We lose by three wickets.