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1st XI fall to frustrating defeat in India tour opener

Vengsarkar Academy Mumbai 185 all out (39.5 overs, Seth 3-15, Kiritharan 2-31)

Hampton School 132 all out (31.4 overs, Avant-Smith 41)

Vengsarkar Academy win by 53 runs

A formidable total of 185 by the Vengsarkar Academy, Mumbai proved just too challenging for a spirited Hampton School side in the first match of their winter tour of India.

Batting first in cool conditions, a strong Academy team came under early pressure, with half their side dismissed before reaching three figures following some penetrating bowling by Hampton’s opening attack.

Fast bowlers Alfie Simmonds-Gooding (1 – 15) and Miles Patience (1 – 17) put the Academy team on the back foot at 27 – 2, and excellent fielding, led by Tanmay Thanawalla with four catches, kept up the pressure.  

Backed by a sharp spell from Pravin Kirithran, who took 2 – 32, the Academy were reduced to 89 for 5 as Hampton quickly blew away any winter cobwebs on the world-renowned Mumbai Maidan.

But some spirited batting down the order by the Academy all-rounders revived the home team’s efforts, before spinners Mikey Ford (2 – 32) and Kyle Seth (3 – 15) brought the Academy innings to a close at 185.

Hampton’s reply got off to a strong start with important contributions from Jack Berg (15) and Arjun Bhat (18) seeing the tourists reach 50 for the loss of just two wickets.

But the middle order, perhaps betraying an off-season rustiness, found acceleration a challenge, and when Hampton were reduced to 59 – 6, the match threatened to end prematurely.

But some spirited hitting down the order by Matt Avant-Smith, who stroked 41 in 28 balls, including 5 fours and 2 sixes, seemed to turn the tide, as a partnership of 46 for the seventh wicket suggested Hampton might yet snatch an unlikely win.

In the end, though, the challenge proved too tough for the tourists, though resistance from Kirithiran, Tom Chandler, Ford and Patience revived the tail to win respectability if not victory on the day.

The tourists now have two more games ahead of them in Mumbai before heading to Ahmedabad for the second leg of their tour.

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