The Dodgers met up with Superstars at Chiswick for the second match in the 2021 Ken Block Trophy series, the first game having resulted in a memorable tie. Superstars, captained by Matt Conway, won the toss and elected to bat. Dodgers, captained by Chairman John, would have fielded anyway, so everyone was happy.
Dodgers commenced with the pace of Pankaj and Christian, both of whom bowled very tightly, but the Superstars openers had come out with an attacking mindset and were taking sharp singles from the get-go. The outfield was long after all the rain, so very few shots made it to the boundary. Abhishek and Junaid came on as first change, the latter playing his first game for Dodgers and demonstrating some very handy left arm swing. Each picked off one of the Superstars openers and the game began to turn in our favour. Noman, Raj and NJ provided an object lesson in economical spin bowling and claimed two wickets apiece, Noman just missing out on a hat-trick. Special mention to Luke for his excellent work behind the stumps and to Damian, Jatinder, Christian and NJ (twice) for some smart catching in an all-round high-quality fielding performance. Some strong hitting from Vijay gave Superstars added momentum towards the end and they finished with a total of 107 for 8 off 20, a commendable score given the boggy conditions underfoot.
NJ and Noman opened up the Dodgers innings, but neither found it easy to score on such a slow wicket. Noman was run out for 11 as the two of them tried to increase the pace, and Damian strode to the middle to play his first game for Dodgers since 2019. Yet neither he nor the other incoming batsmen were able to raise the scoring rate, and we were soon in trouble. Only NJ was able to hold the innings together, striking a number of good boundaries (including one majestic head-high six) and carrying his bat for an unbeaten 45. We came to the last two overs needing 16 to win, but Conway bowled a very tight penultimate one for just 5 runs, leaving us 11 needed off the last.
Superstars bowler Farnham, who had up to then kept a tight line, clearly felt the pressure of the occasion and helped us back into contention with a string of wides. Raj then hit a crucial four before being stumped off the penultimate ball of the innings, and Abhishek was left to come in and face the last delivery cold. One more wide intervened, meaning that we needed 3 to win off the last. Abhishek struck it nicely to long-on, NJ made it back to the non-striker's end and we had tied again! The Ken Block Trophy is ours for the taking when we meet Superstars again for the 40-over match in late August. Or maybe it will be yet another tie?
Man of the Match votes: NJ 10, Noman 1
The Dodgers XI, unbeaten (just) at the end