Blues vs Combined Services - the Tayle

Friday 06 May 2016

Rain ruins Blues’ day, despite stellar performances from Rory Sale and Izhan Khan against the combined services.

Skipper Abbott continued his incredible form at the toss and elected to bat first, wanting an early piece of retired professional Graeme Cessford. Following a few trademark drives, Chohan was dismissed, dragging on a half-volley from the Services’ tallest bowler. Abbot entered the fray, calming the nerves of Tom Colverd – a self-confessed run machine and second most attractive person in his profile picture – who was ‘seeing-off’ the new ball with heart. Abbott unfurled a few drives, before being bowled through the gate by the Services’ captain, in his first over. Perhaps he had heard of Sale’s successes earlier in the season, through bowling left-arm-straight? With Abbott’s departure, the ground became tense as fan-favourite Alex Hearne strode to the crease, a hero returning to his hunting ground. After a few delicious drives and cuts, Hearne, too, was dismissed by a ball that must have hit something. Dalgleish followed his previous performances with the bat poorly, chipping a catch to mid-off for just one, while Tice decided he was Sachin Tendulkar reborn, only to give the opposition keeper a simple catch, backing away from a medium pacer.
Enter the day’s star… Rory Sale. With Colverd hitting a long-hop straight to midwicket for thirty-something, Sale’s new role of all-rounder was immediately tested. Despite early mutterings of Sale’s lack of batting prowess, the languid right-hander was soon tucking into the bowling, punching off both the front and back foot to great effect. Emerton came and went, leaving Sale with the ever-vocal Waghorn for company. The pair put together a good partnership, Waggers running well between the wickets, while Sale continued to plink the ball into the outfield. Waghorn was dismissed for a crucial 25, playing an ungainly mow; Khan followed two balls later in similar fashion. A few lusty blows from Taylor and Sale ensured that Cambridge made in excess of 200, and batted the full allocation of overs. Sale’s 62 not out combined the brutal with the delicate and represented the pillar of Cam’s innings.
The decision to open the bowling with Khan turned out to be inspired, as the slow-left-armer took early wickets, hitting the pads and stumps with relentless consistency. Taylor also entered proceedings with a wicket first ball, the batsman plumb LBW. Khan and Taylor continued, reducing the Services to 50 for 5; Leg-spinner Taylor bowling a batsman around his legs, reminiscent of the great Shane Warne (or Avish Patel). At that point, Cambridge looked favourites for victory.
Yet the Blues came unstuck against an experienced combination, which could wait for the bad ball, an increasing inevitability in the rain. Despite Khan returning to complete his five-for (5-34), the Services completed victory for the loss of 7 wickets: a fine effort by Cambridge against a side full of quality and experience.
Despite Sale and the tail’s efforts, not enough runs were posted to allow Khan et al to press for victory.
Two stellar performances stood out in a disappointing, but encouraging, defeat.

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