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.