vijay part 4 cont'd
376 when your leading scorer posts 259 by himself: not a great total tbh! should have expected to see 400+. 4 ducks is just embarrassing
might have to tinker with the settings a little further
time to bowl and we start off with the usual stuff: outswingers outside off stump, short-of-full and front-of-good-length.
aggressive opener Phil Salt (a limited overs England international) seems to be striking the ball well, going about a run a ball, and that means he’ll be more keen to swing at stuff outside off stump.
the wide ball induces a drive and the drive gets an edge, and that’s Salt gone for 27. first wicket down!
what next… well there’s the number 3 batsman, Phil Balderson, a left hander. Vijay has always struggled against left handers, straying in line and giving up a lot of runs to the leg side. the captain hasn’t provided a square leg fielder so balls tend to go to the boundary quickly
I just don’t know what line and length to take against lefties tbh, my usual ball which swings left gets put away, and my ball that swings right, it’s hard to place the line
after some attempts bowling over the wicket, we decide to experiment with going around the wicket. that points the delivery into the batsman’s pads: riskier in some ways, but also gives more ability to precisely pitch the ball outside off stump
and with the line change, we eventually see a type of delivery that’s rare coming from Vijay… could it be…
YES IT’S AN LBW! The umpire signals leg before wicket with little hesitation. he’s blocked the stumps with his pad and Balderson is gone for 44 off 103 balls.
huge wicket to celebrate for a number of reasons, not least of which, LBWs are surprisingly rare in this game: the AI seems to have a sixth sense of when to defend and when to leave the ball, and it’s rare to seem them miss a defense or a shot when it’s on the stumps and their pad is also in the way.
this strategic calculation, going around the wicket for lefties, is true to life!! Here’s an article that makes the same case for IRL cricket: right arm bowlers going around the wicket do much better against lefthanders
Coming ‘around’ to sort out the game’s lefties (sportskeeda.com)
How LEFT HANDERS are being hunted from AROUND the WICKET | Good Areas | CRICKET - YouTube
That’s the end of the bowling spell for Vijay, it’s quite a while before he’s brought back on and in the meantime Cullen has taken two wickets. The score is around 166-4 or 166-5.
In the second spell, there’s the all rounder Steven Croft and South African international Kyle Verreyne in at numbers 6 and 7. Verreyne is swinging hard and dispatching anything outside offstump to the boundary — his strike rate hovers between 150-200 — while Croft is content to defend, take singles and feed Verreyne the strike. this partnership threatens and needs to be sorted out… never fear, Vijay is here.
but actually, Vijay is struggling! it’s rare to struggle like this against right handers, but Verreyne is latching onto the usual outswingers and driving them hard through cover to the boundary. he’s middling everything and his confidence is high, it’ll take something special to find the edge. It’s Day 2 and the weather is overcast and humid, which should help the ball swing, but it’s all moving a bit predictably and that subtle variation is hard to find.
After the first three balls of his second over go for four — all to the same place, the cover boundary — the captain comes out to chat with Vijay. we need a change of tactic…
…how about bouncers? we’re used to bowling in the region from good length to yorkers, but we rarely do short balls. and it might just do the trick!
Vijay’s first experiments with the bouncer are met with mishits and edges. they don’t carry to a fielder, but it’s proof that the theory is working. when you’re facing chin music, it’s hard to hit it over the rope, and often batters just swat to keep the ball out of their face. the trick is to use the two that you’re allowed per over judiciously, and vary it with other good deliveries.
and vary we do… with Verreyne off balance, pretty soon…
he pops it straight to the backward square leg fielder standing on the edge of the circle, and that’s Verreyne gone! the threat of his 23 runs off 12 balls is seen off, and now we’re well into the tailenders.
it turns out the tailenders really struggle with the short stuff. Croft has an impertinent whack to square leg on a ball he should have left alone, and Parkinson swats it down onto his stumps when he should have ducked. and that’s Vijay’s five-for!
after a run out, Danny Lamb, the swing bowler, is one of the last two men standing, trying to hold up the innings with a reasonable 35 runs.
but after terrorizing his bowling with sixes, Vijay clatters his off stump with a classic outswinging good length ball to clean up lancashire.
they’ve scored 243 by the end of Day 2 and vijay has taken a fearsome 6 for 71 (16.5 ov)
our best bowling figures for an innings!
Second innings is nothing to write home about… Vijay comes in at 55-2 and continues his usual shenanigans, flexing his straight drive and reaching his 50 in a speedy 42 balls. he eventually goes fishing outside off stump on a shorter ball and plays it onto his own stumps, having fallen just short of another century – 90(86).
Middlesex all out 218
the captain ignores us for the whole second innings bowling. why do you hate stat padding, Cap? don’t ignore me just because i’m an all-rounder! i’m not tired, honest!
since we didn’t get to bowl the second innings, the whole thing was simulated
Vijay has signed, sealed, and delivered it; final scoreline:
MSX 376 & 218
LNC 243 & 210
MSX win by 141 runs