Blake's XI v Babylon XI Cricket Report

By Harriet Monkhouse.

At Katratzi, February 22, 23, 2264. Blake's XI won by 80 runs. Toss: Blake's XI.

The teams had some difficulty locating the ground, a neutral venue chosen for the third game in this biennial series, until Ambassador Kosh admitted that the Vorlons knew a short cut. In view of their late arrival, the captains and umpires agreed to play a single- innings match. Blake called correctly, and once again elected to bat.

Tarrant and Jenna initially held off the Babylonian attack, to steer the rebels to 25 in the seventh over. But Jenna's run of form against these opponents - she had averaged 55.50 in her previous four innings - came to an end when she edged Lyta to the wicket-keeper. In the very next over, Tarrant, who had been playing with uncharacteristic restraint, failed to play a stroke against Ivanova. Umpire Scorpius, somewhat distracted by the local flora, referred the decision to the third umpire, Pilot, who reluctantly reported that, despite his natural sympathy for one of Tarrant's profession, the evidence of the DRDs suggested that the batsman was plumb lbw. Blake and Zen kept the scoreboard moving briskly and had more than doubled the total when Lennier's swift return seemed to have found Zen short of his crease. Umpire Rygel muttered "How the frell would I know?" and turned down the appeal, but later in the over pronounced Zen lbw before he had even been asked. Gan lifted Marcus for a mighty four over long-on, and Blake pulled him for six. But Lennier came close to trapping Blake, and just after they brought the hundred up turned a leg-break nearly three feet to leave Gan's stumps in ruins.

Avon strolled out to join his leader, but those hoping for a fruitful partnership were horrified by what followed. In the next over, Blake called Avon for a run - Avon hesitated, then agreed, and had just crossed with Blake as Marcus, the bowler, collected Ivanova's throw and demolished the non-striker's wicket. For a moment, Avon froze, hardly noticing Blake's intense glare as he tucked his bat under his arm and stalked back to the pavilion.

Half the rebels' wickets were down for just 104, and Orac was beaten for pace when Lyta began her second spell just after the lunch interval. The crystherium sandwiches appeared to have revived Avon's interest in the game, however. He was especially severe on Garibaldi's off-spin, lashing him for three fours, and formed an effective alliance with Soolin, who played some devastating shots. But when they had added 42, Avon called her for a quick single, tripped halfway down the pitch, and was dismissed the same way as his captain. At 166 for seven, consolidation was required; instead, Dayna went straight on to the attack, rushed out for a single that was never there and became the third run-out victim of the innings, thanks to Sinclair's accurate throw from the slips. When Ivanova bowled Soolin, Blake's XI were 188 for nine, with only Cally - reprieved by Scorpius in the previous over - and Vila remaining.

Vila took his first chance of a run to get away from Ivanova, but the sight of Cally hitting her for two successive boundaries emboldened him; he carried his side past 200 when he cut Lennier for four, and celebrated by repeating the shot next ball. Meanwhile, Cally seemed to be able to predict Ivanova's every delivery, driving her for another four, then hooking her for six. As the stand mounted, Sinclair turned to the occasional slow left-armers of Delenn, and then to Marcus, who had been so deadly in the last game, but neither could make the breakthrough. Vila was growing in confidence, hitting both for four, and Cally brought up the match's first half-century with a six over the head of the bowler. They had put on 87 in a mere 12 overs when Sinclair finally recalled Lyta, who shattered Vila's stumps with her opening delivery. Cally remained unbeaten on 62, from just 49 balls, with six fours in addition to her two sixes.

The next morning, Londo and G'Kar emerged to launch their pursuit of a target of 276. They got off to a dreadful start when Londo was yorked attempting a grand sweep in Soolin's first over, and G'Kar soon followed his partner when Scorpius ruled his slash at Dayna had carried to Orac. Sheridan and Delenn batted as one to build only the second fifty partnership of the match, with Delenn stroking 13 runs, including a six, off four balls from Dayna. The introduction of Avon's fast-medium temporarily slowed down the scoring-rate - he conceded a miserly two runs in his first three overs. But the turning point of the game came when Blake tossed the ball to slow left-armer Vila. His first over was a little loose, going for seven. In his second, however, he almost had Delenn caught by Tarrant, and did have her stumped two balls later. Sinclair fought back, plundering Avon's fourth over for 14, but Vila followed up by removing Sheridan (caught by Jenna at fine leg) and Marcus (lbw) with consecutive deliveries. Cally cut short Sinclair's hard-hitting innings - all but one of his 23 runs came in boundaries - when she bowled him.

After the drinks interval, it was all Vila. Only Ivanova seemed able to read his spin, and even she treated him with a respect she denied her fellow telepath, Cally, whom she lofted for a couple of sixes. In all, she hit three sixes and four fours, but her only boundary off Vila was the four which brought up her fifty. In the meantime, Vila made Kosh his fourth victim, motionless in front of the stumps, and might have had Garibaldi caught low down by Dayna at gully; Scorpius decided that the ball had grazed the ground on its way to her. In the next over, Rygel contemptuously rejected Blake's appeal for lbw against Ivanova - the microphone caught something about "can't even offer a proper fee", but the referee, Dylan Hunt, insisted there was nothing to merit an official inquiry. Vila wrapped up the innings in his next three overs, clean bowling Garibaldi, Lennier and finally Ivanova herself for 63, the highest score of the match, from 66 balls. She sportingly clapped him on the back on her way off, Dayna embraced him, and Blake and Gan chaired him off the field to receive the match award from a distinguished guest, Chris Boucher. The result put Blake's XI 2-1 ahead in the series. But with tremors beginning to shake the pitch, the umpires advised both teams to leave the planet as quickly as possible.

Man of the Match: Vila Restal (Adjudicator: Chris Boucher).

Blake's XI
Tarrant lbw b S. Ivanova10
Jenna c Kosh b L. Alexander14
Zen lbw b M. Cole19
*Blake run out34
Gan b Lennier8
Avon run out28
+Orac b L. Alexander11
Soolin b S. Ivanova33
Dayna run out1
Cally not out62
Vila b L. Alexander32
B 5, l-b 15, w 1, n-b 223
1/25 2/31 3/72 4/100 5/104 6/124 7/166 8/171 9/188275
Bowling: L. Alexander 11.1-1-32-3; S. Ivanova 12-0-69-2; M. Cole 8-1-51-1;
Lennier 11-0-44-1; M. Garibaldi 6-0-37-0; Delenn 4-0-22-0.
Babylon XI
L. Mollari b Soolin0
G'Kar c Orac b Dayna4
J. Sheridan c Jenna b Vila32
Delenn st Orac b Vila28
*J. Sinclair b Cally23
M. Cole lbw b Vila0
S. Ivanova b Vila63
+Kosh Naranek lbw b Vila13
M. Garibaldi b Vila10
Lennier b Vila0
L. Alexander not out1
B 9, l-b 8, n-b 421
1/0 2/16 3/70 4/88 5/88 6/102 7/157 8/179 9/194195
Bowling: Soolin 6-0-29-1; Dayna 5-0-33-1; Avon 5-1-25-0; Vila 15.2-2-44-7;
Cally 6-0-41-1; Blake 3-0-6-0.
Umpires: Rygel XVI and Scorpius. Third umpire: Pilot.
Referee: Dylan Hunt. Scorer: Marisu.

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