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Mexico beats Costa Rican “granddads” in cricket

Cricket being played at the Reforma Athletic Club ground in Naucalpan, Mexico. Photo Courtesy: www.icc-cricket.com
Cricket being played at the Reforma Athletic Club ground in Naucalpan, Mexico. Photo Courtesy: www.icc-cricket.com

ICC World Cricket League Americas Region Division Four is certainly not the most followed cricket tournament in the world. A match between Mexico and Costa Rica at Naucalpan is supposed to go unnoticed. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at a curious match played on June 14, 2010 — involving a few ancient people.

Raja Maharaj Singh, the oldest First-Class cricketer of all time, had made his debut at 72. However, his adventures remained confined to a solitary match in which he scored a mere four and neither bowled nor fielded. What happened in the ICC World Cricket League Americas Region Division Four match between Mexico and Costa Rica in 2010 was somewhat more striking.

To begin with, the Mexican bowling attack consisted of a Gupta, a Sharma, a Matta, two Ahujas, a Singh, and then, almost as a bolt of lightning from the sky, a Wucherpfennig. The Costa Rican team, on the other hand, was, to put it simply, a very Costa Rican attack.

The oddity of the match was elsewhere: Francis Roger Sherman, the Mexican middle-order batsman, was 47, while Theodore Wucherpfennig, another middle-order batsman, was a whopping 51. However, this was nothing compared to the granddads of Costa Rica: Barry Ashworth was 54; Timothy Baker, 48; Garth Tweedale, 48; and Paul Cardwell, a staggering 59.

Playing cricket at 59 is no joke, but all of them were paled by the august presence of Richard Illingworth [who had presumably nothing to do with his namesake, the English cricketer and umpire]. Born September 21, 1940 in United Kingdom, Illingworth was an unbelievable 69 years 266 days when he took field that day.

The match was generally an unremarkable one: Ashworth and Baker, the openers, were both bowled without a run on the board; batting at three, Benjamin Smith was last out after he scored an emphatic 104 in only 127 balls — an innings studded with 12 fours and two sixes.

Unfortunately, there was not much support at the other end as Tushar Gupta ran through the Costa Ricans, finishing with figures of 9.5-1-32-5. A salient feature of the innings was the bowling of Kumar Gulshan Ahuja, who opened his gloves to remove David Crisp.

James Garrity and Tarundeep Singh then added 59 for the opening stands in quick time. Two quick wickets followed — all three to the bowling of Timothy Baker — but the calm presence of Tarun Sharma [who had returned figures of 10-1-28-2 earlier in the day] ensured a Mexican victory with 89 balls left.

What followed?

-  Costa Rica lost the next match to Falkland Islands as well, being bowled out for 92 chasing 131 as David Taylforth finished with figures of six for 14.

-  With all to play for in the final match, Mexico put up 242. Unfortunately, Gupta (six for 13) proved to be more than a handful for Falkland Islands; none of the batsmen reached double figures as they were shot out for 31 in 19 overs.

Brief scores:

Costa Rica 186 in 46.5 overs (Benjamin Smith 104; Tushar Gupta 5 for 32) lost to Mexico 187 for 7 in 35.1 overs (Tarun Sharma 45; Timothy Baker 3 for 43) by 3 wickets with 89 balls to spare.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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