Madrid Victorious in Valencia 28/7/2017

Madrid 1st XI made it back-to-back for the first time since the Bronze Age, as they recorded a 7 wicket win away in Levante. Murari Perulmasamy did the damage with the ball with 4 victims to his name, as Adam Langhans and Ollie Wrighton took Richard Wilson’s side across the line with 20 overs to spare.

So, the saying goes, “don’t change a winning side,” which Richard Wilson would’ve been keen to remember after the 33-run victory posted by his side against Valencia Stars the previous week. Naturally, Wilson made 8 changes to the team as 4 debutants took their place in the side in the form of Mark Dove, Thomas Blacklock, Vineet Kumar and Madrid’s first French cricketer Xavier Gomez. Incidentally, Gomez goes straight into the French squad for their upcoming tour of the Caribbean. The players were presented the caps long-time friend and confidant of Richard Wilson from the Madrid Captain’s Association, Sergio Ramos. French Actor Gerard Depardieu was on hand to make the presentation for his countryman. Sam Tetlow wasn’t available for selection due to a large unforeseen booking for Tetlow’s Tapas Tours ©, but Ollie Wrighton stepped up to fill the Tetlow-shaped void as the club had a private jet chartered from his ranch on the outskirts of London.

Levante’s captain Graham Hunt won the toss and elected to bat first on a humid day at the Valencia Cricket Ground. Richard Wilson scuppered a mutiny in the ranks led by Adam Langhans after news filtered through that they were bowling first. Rumours that Wilson was caught paying for Langhans’s “arroz negro” after the game are yet to be proven, with a case being filed against the Captain to release his bank statements.

2 years ago, the sides played out two high-scoring thrillers where 1,500 runs were scored in two days as Levante came out on the right side of both matches. Wilson could be forgiven for thinking the same was going to happen, following a first over where Abdul Hakim was hit for 16, as Birchell and Tivey started the innings as though they had been batting on the pitch all week. But, on debut from the other end Vineet Kumar was offering nothing for the openers to pounce on as the runs dried up. The pressure he created forced the run out of Tivey (15) in the third over. Birchell (10) would follow an over later as Vineet took his first wicket for the club. Perulmasamy then came into the fray and would come to get 2 almost identical wickets as Pinkiton and Senhouse found Kumar at the deep square-leg boundary in close succession, before Woodward removed Murphy on the stroke of drinks.

Levante found themselves 82-5 at drinks with Hunt offering the sole resistance. He began by flicking the ball well off his pads into the gaps for ones and twos, showing patience by waiting for the loose delivery. However, at the other end wickets continued to tumble with a further wicket a piece for Preulmasamy and Woodward to put the visitors in a commanding position. Azhar arrived to the wicket and proceeded quickly to take on the bowling of the visitors. A reverse sweep for 4 one of the early highlights of his innings. The key wicket of Hunt (43) came thanks to Perulmasamy, getting his fourth wicket of the match. The skipper drove a low full toss straight to Wrighton, leaving Levante 112-8. The home side then made Madrid work hard for the last two wickets. Azhar (68) provided the spectators with some lusty blows as he brought up his 50 off 31 balls. He continued to farm the strike and shepherd the tail well, before Wrighton took his wicket as Levante set Madrid 168 to win.

Perulmasamy was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4-41, with Azhar and Hunt top scoring with 68 and 43 respectively for the home outfit.