Dodgers v Superstars, 25 June 2024

Although rainy conditions claimed the first fixture against rivals Superstars, Dodgers were itching to defend the Ken Block Trophy on a much more suitable summer evening at the end of June. Sunny skies and long daylight hours promised a result, and with no other fixtures on at Chiswick it was up to us to put on a good show. 

We found ourselves in the unusual position of setting a total rather than chasing one, a rarity this season, with Charlie and Mike D (captaining) getting us underway at a steady early pace. Opening bowler Conrad ultimately claimed them both: breaking through Mike’s defences early but duelling longer with Charlie, who held on for a well-made 18 before being caught hunting for boundaries. Harry continued to accumulate runs alongside Krishnal, a debutant for Dodgers, before falling lbw to the left-arm spin of the Mountain. Following a few balls to get his eye in, Krishnal proceeded to pick out shot after glorious shot; it took a rather spectacular running catch in the deep to remove him just shy of retirement. And speaking of retirements, who better than Jatinder and Neil to steer Dodgers into serious high-scoring potential as they respectively made their quarter centuries in entertaining fashion. Dave and Brendan tried their best to close out the innings at a similar rate, but Duggan’s death bowling rallied the challengers. His slower pace dried up the runs and saw Brendan caught at mid-wicket, leaving time for Satya to add just two runs from the final ball.

Although we may not have hit the heights of a truly massive total, Superstars still required a fairly steep 133 to win. Sajan began the batting response, and was clearly the right man to do so, as his rapid retirement soon proved. He frustrated our opening pair of quick bowlers, first Abhi and then Will, with a succession of boundaries, though Will was unlucky not to take his wicket on an unfortunate drop. Satyta and Dave came in at first change and brought with them a new pace that began a slowing of the run rate which did not let up for the rest of the innings. Suddenly we had two huge wickets courtesy of Satya: the first to a spectacular diving grab from Charlie behind the stumps and the second to a confident Neil charging in off the rope at full pelt. At the halfway stage Supes required a realistically achievable 80-odd, but we were determined to let them nowhere near the required rate. Sharp with the ball and unrelenting in the field, Dodgers ramped up the pressure until Mike whirled at cover to claim a crucial runout. The batters had no answer to Krishnal’s variety of deliveries, including a great ball to dismiss Bard, while Neil took two quick wickets of his own against an increasingly shaky lower middle order. With the required rate climbing ever higher, and victory in sight, Brendan stepped up for a solitary over which saw Harry’s rapid closing speed at backward square produce another runout. Then it was down to Abhi again, back into the attack to take the final three wickets, finishing appropriately by clean bowling Sajan only moments after his return to the crease.

In the end Dodgers won by a convincing and deserved margin of 49 runs, guaranteeing our retention of the Ken Block trophy for another season! With only one remaining fixture to come, Superstars can hope for no more than a level series, and we don’t intend to let them even have that much.

Man of the Match votes: Neil 4, Krishnal 3, Charlie 2, Satya 1, Brendan 1 (doubled for providing such an excellent match report)