Halfway there

"I’ve just arrived back at the hotel; it’s half-past-twelve at night and we’ve won our first game in India! What a win – and what a thrilling way to do it! Let’s be honest we arrived here yesterday, had no time to practice or acclimatise and ‘boom!’ the next day we’ve won our first match against Auckland – and to add to the drama it was off the last ball. Leading up to our half-past-eight kick-off we had a pretty busy morning – loads of photos, shirt and bat signings, which were followed by an anti-corruption meeting. This was particularly interesting because it gave some of us a real insight into just how serious betting in cricket is, and how easy it is to fall into the trap. We’re all well aware of the consequences but it highlighted how some of the crooks operate and how easily they can suck you in. After that it was more curry for lunch. Pete Trego made at least ten visits to the toilet before this - which didn’t look like much fun - it was a surprise he managed to get through his four overs later in the day! We were soon driving through the city on the way to the ground. Weaving and slicing our way through the hoards of traffic, the tuk tuk, cars and motor bikes seemed like obstacles in some sort of computer game.

Big match buzz: With the help of our police escort we finally arrived at the Hyderabad stadium – the lights were on, the buzz was evident and we managed to watch our fellow countrymen Leicestershire play in their first game. When it was our turn to take centre stage the match couldn’t have started any better for us. The boys bowled and fielded really well, the energy was fantastic and we managed to take early wickets. The tone was set and it was left to the batsmen to make sure we finished the job off. This was where things got tricky: a decent start, a wobble in the middle and then some good old-fashioned composure from James Hildreth helped to see us through to the end. Steve Snell’s 34 from 24 balls was a superb knock, and as Alfonso Thomas summed-up quite poignantly in the post team chat: "Snelly two weeks ago you were playing minor counties cricket and today you are man of the match in the Champions League. Not a bad way to end the evening - a few beers in the reception bar rubbing noses with Brett Lee and a few other stars and now off to bed. A big game now against the Kolkata Knight Riders - it should be awesome."

Published 21 September 2011