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Zomi's wilter in the heat out in Schiedam

[by Brendin Scholtz] A few weeks ago the home fixture had seen ACC edged by a slightly stronger Hermes DVS team in a match that went down to the wire. So it was with revenge top of mind that the Zomis headed to Schiedam for the corresponding away fixture. Some of the Zomi regulars had decided that they preferred to enjoy their summer holidays rather than come up against the same opposition again, or maybe it was a weather inspired decision to rather enjoy the summer heat somewhere other than out on the cricket field.

Captain Kees lost the toss and the opposition wasted no time deciding they much preferred the chance to sit under the shade on the side-lines and watch us out in the field. A short warm-up ensued with everyone turning their arms over and practicing a bit of underarm throw and catch – suffice to say that not much warming up was required before everyone was boiling away.

In the team huddle Roelof did not hesitate and before the skipper could start his inspirational speech, we were informed that we need to use the switch-on/switch-off strategy in the field. Our focus was best utilised when something was happening, whilst in between deliveries the best athletes (the Zomis fit this category perfectly) are able to switch their focus off to save energy and ensure that when needed we were fully focused.

With some of his chance to truly inspire taken by “switched-on”Roelof, Kees provided some further incentive to bowl well – the promise of shade and cold refreshments on the side-lines; the sooner we bowled them out the sooner we could make the most of these promised items.

Early wickets

Despite a few wides early on, the opening bowlers set the tone with a tight start offering the batsmen few loose deliveries. Some early wickets, including an LBW plum enough that the umpire raised his finger before the Zomis could even begin their appeal, and the scoreboard was looking in our favour at around 3 runs per over. Energy levels were still high, with the opposing umpire even asking how long our chirps in the field (mainly from Richard) would continue.

Shashank was not fazed by the heat and at the end of each over when asked by the captain if he wanted to bowl another he willingly obliged – going on to bowl his seven over spell on the trot with exceptional figures. Unfortunately I fear there was misunderstanding of the switch-on/switch-off strategy, because as the innings and heat progressed it seemed as if most of the bowlers and fielders were more off than on. An occasional shout of “switch-on” could be heard out in the field. Some batsmen were gifted some extra lives when some switched-off catching did not quite work out in the field, luckily none of the batsmen really went on to make us pay for our lapses in concentration. Instead, their batsmen all contributed towards their total.

Lifting shirts

When the preferred method of dismissing batsmen with good bowling and fielding did not work, some fielders resorted to lifting their shirts to cool down (no names mentioned). This did concern one Hermes batsmen who asked the keeper if this was a scare tactic. This it might have been – perhaps tactically some were even more switched on than others. Frequent drinks breaks also allowed players to pour water over their heads – again, I am not sure if the resultant wet T-shirt competition look was part of a tactic to scare the batsmen.In the end, Hermes managed a very respectable 214-6 in their allotted 35 overs. Standout bowling from Shashank with 7-22-1. Some others had slightly less pleasing figures.

A nice lunch (and air-conditioning) had us refreshed and ready to chase down the total. After a fair amount of calculating and discussing required run rates a clear strategy was set and it was up to the batsmen to deliver the result after the hard work done by everyone out in the field.

The opposition had a clear strategy – bowl slow (exasperatingly slow!) and make us work hard for our runs. Despite an early wicket, Berend and Roelof laid the foundations of our innings perfectly (or even a bit ahead) of the discussed plans. A combination of heat, fatigue and slow pies delivered by the bowlers proved their undoing and their wickets followed in close succession.

Problems with slows

Skipper Kees then rebuilt the innings with Ezzat “Tazze”, but nobody was able to put the slowest (or even the less slow) bowler away – resulting in the required run rate ever increasing. Efforts to increase the run rate were not entirely successful with wickets falling regularly. In the meantime one of our players returned to the field to umpire with his umbrella (parasol) in tow. Definitely the first time I have seen a square leg umpire under his own umbrella!

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Umpire Roelof at the drinks break. “Under my umbrella” Tein meanwhile had decided that a side-line nap was the best method of survival after the first innings out in the field was followed by a stint of umpiring. Giving new meaning to the “switched-off” part of the Zomi strategy after fielding and umpiring. Others rather tried the “switched-on” approach with the cricket expert, Rahul, and South African, Brendin, having a good chat about cricket of course.

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A lower order collapse under a double figure required run rate proved to be the last straw with the team eventually bowing out with a couple overs left to play and a total of 168-10. A respectable total that on any other day against other opposition would surely have been enough. Standout performances by Beiran (41) and Kees (31).

Despite a long day in the field with temperatures peaking at 32 degrees celsius, the third inningsbeers were ice cold and the camaraderie amongst the teams excellent. Maybe next season the ACC Zomis will manage to get one back on the Hermes team. Post-match debrief. Discussing tactics for the all-important third innings.

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Insights from a South African perspective

As two brothers from a town an hour inland from the East Coast town of Durban in South Africa, our schoolboy cricket games were often played in fairly warm conditions. It was interesting to see the affect that the warm weather on the weekend had on the game – weather that was warm but often a weekly cricketing experience growing up for us, with games often played when the temperature sored a fair bit more into the late 30s and early 40s.

Although it might have hampered energy levels, it certainly didn’t affect the typically aggressive style we have observed in the Netherlands of run chasing (or target setting) with some big leg-side mows (mainly by the opposition) despite the game situation maybe not warranting such at the time.