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Cricket Edged by Temple in Thriller

Andrew Cornell
Andrew Cornell
HAVERFORD, Pa. - Haverford Cricket suffered an incredibly tight loss to Temple University on Sunday's game in a tied game that had to be decided by a Super-over. Facing some of the most disciplined opposition of the season, the match stayed in a state of sheer excitement through all 20 overs of both innings as Haverford and Temple battled neck and neck to the bitter finish.

Haverford won the toss and elected to bat first on a cloudy but warm day. Opening Batsmen Andrew Cornell and Nathaniel Rolfe were tasked with seeing off the new ball and laying a platform for Haverford's hard hitting top and middle order to capitalize on. Playing against a swinging and seaming new ball in the hands of Temple's fast opening bowlers, the duo answered the call spectacularly. Both started cautiously, taking their time to settle in and get a full feel for the new ball's behavior.

With Temple's bowlers targeting the body of the opener's with a short pitched barrage, both Cornell and Rolfe dug into their creases for a tough grind. Both successfully avoided the temptation to pull the ball to early, instead employing smart batting that took full advantage of the pace on the ball to rotate the strike. Cornell made deft use of the late cut, assaulting the Third Man region of the field for many runs. Rolfe preferred to strike the ball ahead of him, using well timed On drives and Cover drives to maneuver the ball. Despite the restraint, the two put on a season record 57-run opening stand.

In contrast to the raw power that drove the game against Philadelphia Cricket Club the previous week, elegance and intelligent shot selection won the day against Temple.  Haverford's openers also successfully contended with erratic bowling that sent multiple balls straight to their bodies without touching the ground. Luckless for 12 overs, Temple's bowlers found the breakthrough when Nathaniel Rolfe drilled back a ball straight towards the bowler, who barely managed to cling on to the ferociously struck ball in his follow through.
Junior captain Raghav Bali arrived in the middle with the task of accelerating Haverford's innings to a competitive score. Bali also employed caution early in his innings, exchanging the strike deftly with Cornell until Cornell was sharply caught out by the bowler off a ball that rose up unexpectedly at the batsman.

Senior captain David White came out to join Bali, but it was Bali who played the dominant hand in the partnership. With Temple's quick bowlers tiring, Bali took full advantage of the replacement slower bowlers. Breaking the shackles, Bali unleashed his strength to smash the ball to all corners of the field.

One over in particular was ransacked by Bali. The very first ball of the 19th over was dismissively pulled by Bali over square leg for six, the very first six of Haverford's season. Insult was added to injury one ball later, with Bali powering an upper cut that careened the ball to the third man boundary for four. While White and Freshman Jake Kutchins fell in quick succession, Bali's onslaught ensured that Haverford posted a very competitive total of 106 in their 20 overs.

 Temple got off to a rapid start, scoring nearly 20 runs in their first two overs, but David White displayed nerves of steel to derail the chase in the third over with a good length ball that cut into the batsman's gap between bat and pad to clip the off stump.

Temple promptly fell into a rebuilding phase, and slowly began to accumulate runs again as their batsmen settled. Haverford displayed an excellent display of ground fielding to severely limit the extent to which Temple could score, but wickets proved elusive as Temple steadily gained momentum. 

In a stroke of genius, freshman Ethan Flicker was brought on in the seventh over in an attempt to break the third wicket stand. The move paid dividends immediately, as the leg-spinner sent in a flighted short-length delivery that lured the batsman into a reckless charge out of the crease. The batsman looked in horror as the ball turned past his outside edge and went into the hands of gloveman Charlie Lynn, who made a mess of the wickets to stump the batsman before he had the chance to make up his ground.

Flicker continued his performance by luring the batsman into a square drive that sent an airborne ball straight into David White, who completed the catch. With the momentum taken out of the chase, Temple struggled to resurrect the innings; however, the third and fourth batsman scratched together a 20 run partnership for the fourth wicket. It fell to a freshman again to break the stand, as Jake Kutchins bowled a fast short length ball that stayed low and careened into middle stump. The next batsman in proved to be a slogger and recklessly hit the ball as he pleased in an attempt to haul Temple over the finish line.

The strategy was working until Ethan Flicker was reintroduced into the attack in the penultimate over. The first ball of the over took the outside edge of the bat and went straight into the hands of Freshman Neal Kelso, who was lurking for such an opportunity at gully. The next wicket came two balls later, with David White throwing himself high into the air and into full extension to cling on to a catch that was struck several meters from him.

The catch was an absolute showstopper and a masterclass in fielding. To cap off the over, Temple's batsman attempted a quick single off the final ball from Flicker; Andrew Cornell, standing at cover point, put and end to that ambition with a bullet throw that shattered the stumps for a run-out. The final over saw Nathaniel Rolfe with the ball in hand, defending five. Temple succeeded in tying the match off the very last ball of the innings, sneaking by a single that was run for at full pelt by the batsman.

 With the game tied at the end of the regulation innings, both sides entered the Super-over to decide the game. Temple scored 10 runs through a mix of desperation and blind luck in their over, which was bowled by David White. Tensions flared and spilled over between Temple's players and the umpires in Haverford's super over; in the end it proved inconsequential, as Haverford's batsmen fell an agonizing four runs short of the target of 10 they needed from the Super-over.

 Despite the loss, Haverford displayed one of its best performances of the entire spring season. Haverford plays the British Officers Cricket Club at Cope Field at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 30 for the final regulation season game before entering the Philadelphia International Cricket Festival on Thursday, May 4.