23rd July. The day we were waiting for since our first game against Kampong. I arrived at the ground well before the scheduled time to check the ground, prepare it. ( open club house, do the boundary lines) I thought I would be doing it alone but eventually Asif arrived at the scene and caught me red handed. We both finished the work. I was told later the opponent captain was also there already watching us doing the preparation from distance. This game we had official umpires Steve Tovey and Hasrat Bagkari made sure the game is played in good spirit. This was a big game of the season. Both teams had equal points and this was going to be a fight for the championship. And yes the fight it was.
VVV won the toss and elected to bat first. The batting lineup was quite strong and our aim was to bat out 40 overs and setup a good target to defend for our bowlers. The start of VVV was not that great and we lost two wickets quickly for opener Asif Khan and no.3 Saqib Chaudry. This was a big blow. Kokab Nadeem and Ali Rashid played really mature and started building up a good much needed partnership. The score reached 40 in 10 overs for 2 wicket when the rain stopped the play. We had an early lunch and after rain stopped and ground dried a bit the game was resumed. We now had 32 overs in total to play for each team. Kokab played a marvelous innings (4x6 and 2x4) and scored 62 runs. Ali played an excellent supporting role from other end and together they added 102 runs to the team total. With 9 overs left in play we lost some quick wickets and no one could contribute big score to the total until at No.10 Omar Raja played a cameo of 17 runs of 5 balls. (2x6 and 1x4). VVV finished at 162 for 9 in 32 overs.
We started bowling within 15 mins of the inning pause. Omar and Zee attacked with bowling. Omar always had the feeling that we were going to win this match on fielding. That proved to be true. Opening of Kampong had a fire cracker start with 2x4 and quick singles in 1st 2 overs but due to our sharp fielding one of their openers was runout. Omar bowled the other opener in his following over. After 8 good overs a change was made to bring Kokab and Khurram Tahir . Kokab managed to take a wicket in his second over by a brilliant catch by Saqib Chaudry over extra cover. The ball was hit very high and Saqib ran all the way from Mid off to over extra cover and held on to the catch. 7 more to go before we could claim the victory. Pacers got punished a bit so quickly spinners Ali and Saqib Iqbal were brought into attack to change the momentum of the game. Both did what was asked where Ali stood out with 4 wickets in his 7 over spell for 22 runs. Saqib supported him good with 7 overs 1 wicket and 25 runs. With 1 wicket left Omar was brought into attack again to finish kampong innings with style and he up rooted the off stump of the last man on first ball of his over. VVV3 won by 55 runs.
The season is almost near end and we have 3 more games to go. Team needs maximum support it can get and from members prospective everyone is supporting this team which is a very good sign for the club. So far this has been a good year for VVV overall so we hope we can add as many good things as we can to make it even better by supporting all our teams.
2017 has been a good season for cricket so far. Every week we are greeted with sunny and pleasantly warm days. Last week's convincing win over our opponents, the team moral was high. Most showed up at training and the result of those extra efforts we saw in the match against HMS.
Having lost the toss we were asked to bowl first. HMS captain was sounding quite convincing that they wanted to bat first. Whom am I to judge. So we went to the field with a bit of warm up ready to bowl. Our target was set to restrict them to 150 total.
Zee and Shafaqat Ali started the attack and they were spot on dominating HMS batsmen. An out-swinger found the edge flying towards gully but the catch was not taken. Boy those early wickets missed chances. That did not seem to bother Zee that much and very next over he bowled an in-swinging yorker and uprooted the middle stump. And there you go, HMS which were struggling to score runs, started their journey towards early finish. With hardly any runs on the board 11/1 in 8 overs Shafaqat clean bowled another batsman with consistent wicket to wicket bowling and the following over another one with same delivery. In no time they were 30 for 3 in 11 overs. Bilal Khadim replaced Zee (4-0-8-1) and his left arm medium fast pace was too good for HMS to handle. He consistently bowled one line and length and finally got his reward caught at mid off in safe hands of Ali Rashid.
HMS in the mean time could not even take singles because of sharp fielding by everyone in the team. Khurram Tahir replaced Shafaqat (6-0-15-2) after his 6 overs and bowled exceptionally well while giving 1 run in his first 3 overs ( 2 maiden). HMS had no reply to Khurram. They could not read Khurram mystery bowling ( Till date I do not know if he is an offspiner, a medium pacer or a fast bowler). Hats off to the keeper who stands behind stumps and collect Khurram bullets. Roy Thomas did a fabulous job as a keeper. You suddenly feel more confident knowing your keeper is not going to miss anything. With consistent good pressure bowling , HMS struggled to score any runs and their failed attempt resulted in 2 runouts. We revised our target to get them bowled out under 80 and so we did.
Bilal (8-2-16-1) finished his good spell and replaced by Ali Rashid as trade for offspin and on the other end Hameed Mirza was brought into attack. Spin from both end proved to be too good and both spinners took 2 wickets each. For Ali one caught at mid wicket and one bowled. He bowled really well. For Hameed one caught at cover and one very odd bowled. It was a flighted delivery and batsman thought its too high so he ducked but the ball dipped and hits the bottom of the stumps. What an odd way to get bowled. IMO that ball was too deceiving for batsman to realize its just going to be a full toss. Smart bowling by Hameed helped us reach our revised target. Ali (5-0-15-2) Hameed (6-2-8-2)
HMS were bowled out for 73 in 32.4 overs. This was a great effort by the team to dominate in the field. We had a plan and we as a team executed it well.
After lunch Ali and Tajieb Tabassum were sent to bat to represent VVV opening batsman pair. From the very beginning they looked too strong for the opponent. Great to see youngsters like Tajieb play that well. This guy can drive the ball like a pro.
Within 4 overs we were already at 24 when Tajieb tried to smack a wide out side off delivery and got caught at short cover. I am not sure how that fielder was able to catch that ball but a sad ending for Tajieb that he had to walk his way back to pavilion. Hamza Ahmad joined Ali in the run chase as No.3. Ali played a good innings to support the team and made sure the runrate stayed over 5 for a comfortable win. Hamza struggled a bit to score runs and in order to rotate the strike eventually played across the line on a straight ball and lost his wicket as LBW. We were 55 for 2 when Khurram joined Ali. With a few runs left Ali played a beautiful cover drive and scored a boundary for a comfortable win for VVV.
Ali Rashid 37*
Tajieb Tabassum 12
This was an excellent convincing win over opponents considering we had a shallow batting lineup. But I guess when you click as a team , nothing is unbeatable.