24 Jun – Normandy away

Following a week of scorching weather, Sunbury bowled first on an overcast day in Normandy.

Right from the warm up, the enthusiasm and intensity which has epitomised this youthful Sunbury side was visibly lacking, and Normandy began well despite an early wicket from Ed Knight. With the opening bowlers for once not setting the tone for Sunbury, the side sought for a moment of magic, however despite another breakthrough from Sacha Duran, leaving the score at 77-2, it was a case of a young side lacking maturity to rise up to a difficult situation. As a large partnership grew, the field became quiet, however, with the Normandy batsman not scoring at any sort of alarming rate, Sunbury always had a foot in the game. With 80 runs coming off their final 10 overs, Normandy declared on 280-2 off 52 overs, including an unbroken stand of 202.

With Wimbledon already having won by 10 wickets, Sunbury’s backs were up against the wall if they were to head into SW19 top of the table. But just as Manchester United defied the odds in the 99′ Champions League Final, and Liverpool’s grand comeback in the 2005 Final, the very best teams defy the odds to win no matter what; and chasing 281 in 48 overs was going to require a comeback on par as aforementioned.

And so Sacha Duran and Mesome Hussain strutted out to the middle with their usual flair and vigour, and despite a steady start, grew into their strides and began stroking the ball with ease. Duran’s classy 6 down the ground was complimented beautifully by Hussain’s elegant clip into the trees, and Sunbury seemed to be cruising at 83-0. Hussain fell for 43 looking for another boundary, and Duran was joined at the crease by Rajan Soni. The pair continued where the last had left off, knowing it was paramount the momentum they had built up in the opening 20 overs wasn’t left in vein. Duran moved onto his debut 50 for the club, as Soni attempted to imitate a Virat Kohli drive given any chance. Their partnership of 92 was broken as Soni fell LBW for 58 off 40, and Duran soon followed for a classy and effortless 75.  This left Sunbury requiring another 100 off 20 overs, no easy feat, despite Armaan Randhawa, on the back of an 84 in his previous innings for the club, and  Darren London a.k.a Michael Bevan a.k.a the finisher at the crease. The pair continued on positively, before London fell just before the 50 partnership for 25, leaving Sunbury needing 50 off 10. Harvard joined Randhawa, and the pair never looked troubled, with Randhawa’s shot selection mature and Harvard’s leg side flick sumptuous. The pair saw Sunbury home with an over to spare to complete a quite brilliant chase, 281-4, Harvard ending 23* and Randhawa ending 39*, off just 42 balls including one 6.

The win keeps Sunbury on top of the league, and sent a strong message to the rest of the competition. Sunbury proved with this win, that they mean business, and no team in the league stands a chance against the mood of Sunbury’s batsman on show today.
Rajan Soni

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