The first ever staff-student cricket game at UWCSEA Dover, after months of eager anticipation, promised to be an exciting contest for both teams. The students won the toss, and under a clear, bright sky, decided to bowl first. The batting innings started quietly, with pace bowler Utkarsh Mali and spinner Arjun Kaushik both bowling tight lines, sharing a maiden over each to the cautious opening batsmen. The pressure gave in soon after, and Utkarsh knocked off stump over to set the wickets column ticking for the bowling side. Andy Carter then came in to bat, and along with Noor Parkar, solidified the innings with a few lusty blows over the infield. Both batsman fell in quick succession to Rahul and Anirudh, leaving the staff team in a precarious situation less than half-way through the innings.
A cautious recovery in the middle overs led by Simon Bignell, and a late flourish from Matt Singer and David Minford at the end propelled the first innings score to a competitive total of 132, and the chase proved to be a nail biter. The students began the innings briskly, only to be pegged back by a soft dismissal against the run of play. Captain Pratik Jena was then joined by AnirudhBaddepudi, who together solidified the innings with a 50-run partnership. Pratik finished unbeaten on 31, and Anirudh on 28. However, a late collapse in the student’s middle order meant the game was the staff’s to lose with 2 overs left. Needing a daunting 14 runs of the final over, FaizanHasan and Neel started the over stealing quick singles of each of the first 3 balls, leaving Faizan on strike with 12 needed from 3.
With nerves of steel and the hopes of the team resting on his shoulders, Faizan launched into a huge heave over deep mid-wicket for 6, sparking the game back to life. 6 needed off 2. The game was back in the balance, and after scampering back for a double on the penultimate ball, it all came down to the last hit. 4 needed to win, and the students still had a glimmer of hope. Faizan, cool as ice, smacked the ball over long-on - a finish we dream of when watching the Dhonis and Bevans of the game.
It was truly one of the highlights of the season, and definitely the most exhilarating game for the student team. We look forward to giving the teachers the chance to come back stronger next year!