Catches win matches
Derby. Nerves. Sentiment. Excitement. Motivation. These are just a few words which can describe how we felt, playing at ACC on the 1st field which has been the home ground for many now VVV players. When we arrived, we saw happy faces to welcome us. Given the history, didn’t expect anything else.
Especially, to have their 1st field available on very short notice and swapping the home-away game, is very much appreciated. The only thing they couldn’t arrange were better weather conditions. That is something, we won’t be able to provide either.
Having us send in to bat first, would pose some difficulty with the strong breeze and wet outfield. Zeddy and Asif bhai went in to open the batting. Given their track record on this pitch, we expected fireworks. First ball when for 4 by Zeddy. The battle had started. Asif bhai on the other end, misread a length ball and playing cross is not the way to go which resulted in a clean bowled. 10/1 after 2
It took just two more overs before Zeddy found himself playing a half shot and caught at mid-on. 19/2 after 4
Just like last time, Saqib and Wasim bhai build their partnership slowly yet positively. Wasim bhai took command and Saqib played an excellent supportive role. ACC changed their bowler and put on the spinner. This proved unlucky for us. Saqib was lured into playing a shot but mistimed it instead and got bowled. 43/3 after 15
Zishan took off where the batters had left their runs flow. Just like with Saqib, Wasim rotated the strike with Zishan. The spinners try to make you come forward. This is what Zishan deed and got beaten by the flight and got stumped. 114/4 after 30.
It was too me to pick up where we left. That just worked briefly because I too got deceived by a very poor short pitched ball by they spinner. I just poked it right back into his hands. 134/5 after 34.
Noman next man in wanted to have Wasim bhai on strike as much as possible until he was played in. Good strategy. Unfortunately, the pain in Wasim bhai’s legs meant that he couldn’t take the quick singles anymore. When he tried that too didn’t last long and he was out caught. 138/6 after 35
The experiment to get Zee in earlier didn’t work and lasted just three balls and got bowled while heaving his bat towards long off. 146/7 after 37
Back to our regular line-up, Imran went in and with just three overs to go and Noman on strike. Quick running between the wickets got us to a decent total of 159.
Batting (runs & strikerate)
Wasim bhai – 66 (80.5 )
Saqib – 18 (40.9)
Zishan – 16 (45.7)
Imran – 11 (100)
After lunch, we did our warm-up and finally the Sun came through. Which wasn’t really going to help us. Simply because our opening attack is quick and combining that with a quick outfield, would make runs flow easily. Zee and Shani started really good. Just after 10 runs on the board, Zee got the breakthrough by cleanbowling their captain and a few balls later a LBW decision dismissed the other, a double wicket maiden. A dream start for me as the stand in captain. 10/2 after 3.
Zishan covering the other end made sure no runs were leaked. The left – right opening attack works wonders. A cut to point on Zishan’s was unfortunately dropped. It was hit hard but should have glued onto the hands of point.
Simple rule: you drop a batter, he’ll score runs. The batters nestled in, gave another chance to point on Zishan’s bowling and again, couldn’t hold on to.
I changed myself after Zishan had bowled his full quota of 8 overs but wasn’t really posing a threat and was releasing the pressure on the batters while Omar was putting it on them. I changed myself after drinks, with Imran to bring in some legspin action. It made the batters edge the ball a few times but couldn’t hold on to. After Omar’s 8 overs, Noman was asked to have a (spin)ball. Unfortunately, spin both ends, didn’t work out either. And what you do when wickets stop falling? You bring back your best bowlers. Since Zee still had 3 overs left he replaced Imran and Noman was replaced by myself for a second spell. The change was a good one: fierce pace from one end, cut/swing from the other. Result: Batters edging it twice but not taken. Thereafter hitting the ball straight up in the air to mid off on the circle. Not taken either, Omar, always safe hands, tried his best but the ball just didn’t stick to his hands. It seemed as if they just wanted to finish the game with a bang.
Finally, he went again but now held onto fairly easy at mid off by Omar. Strike 3, you’re out! 149/3 after 33
Zee, in his final over, got the new batsman in, out, caught at long on by Omar. Two drops and two catches, Omar evened it out nicely. 154/4 after 34
Still requiring 6 to win, the game was pretty much over but I always wait until the very very fat lady sings, whether she does that for us or the opposition.
It helps if maintaining the ball is done really good so a yorker removed another batsman who just got in. 158/5 after 34.
After this they played a shot towards cows corner and ended the match.
The runs scored were just not enough on a batting wicket and the bowlers did whatever they could to get the batters out early on but, we just didn’t held onto the catches. However, as an unit, we’re becoming closer and healthy constructive comments are given which is really great to see. A win, is just inches away.
Zeeshan (Zee): 8-1-26-3
Zishan (shani): 8-1-34
Man of the match: Wasim Ismael for his splendid batting