There were ecstatic scenes at the end of a nerve racking T20 final held in Bern as Winterthur took the last Bern wicket in the last over with Bern requiring just one scoring shot to win. What a great way to end the season.
On winning the toss Winterthur skipper Rahul elected to bat. Things started well for WCC as Rohit continued from where he left off the previous day. Unfortunately for him and WCC he got a ball that stayed low and trapped him LBW for 12. Next up was Stevie Cooper who walked to the wicket and walked straight back being bowled first ball. The skipper didn't fair much better and things were not looking to good at 35 for 4 at the halfway mark.
When Nasir, who was batting confidently, was out with the total at 38 one was starting to think it wasn't going to be Winterthur's day. At this stage Rajeev strolled to the wicket and played with controlled aggression while Jiten Patel held up an end. Things were still not looking good when Rajeev finally fell for a well played 19 and Jiten got himself run out.
With the score at 65-7 and only a handful of overs left Winterthur needed the tail to wag. Fortunately WCC had a line up that batting all the way down to the last man and the tail did wag. Raghu scored a quick 7 and was very unfortunate to be the victim of a freak run out. Yogish and Mahmood gave the ball some long handle both hitting sixes. Shortly after Mahmoods dismissal the umpires called time with Winterthur on 98-9 after 19 overs. Bern might look back with some regret that they were too slow getting through their overs as it meant Winterthurs score was adjusted to 103-9 and also meant Bern only had 19 overs instead of 20 overs to chase the target of 104.
Just like the previous day the opening attack of Nasir and Rahul was proving a handful for the Bern batsmen but Bern did manage to keep the score ticking along. Rahul was the first to strike trapping Azeem LBW with 16 runs on the board in the 4th over. Nasir followed up by bowling Asman to make the score 24 for 2. After this the game started to turn in Berns favour with the Bern batsmen Tissa and Vikram taking control.
Rajeev finally caught Tissa in the deep of the bowling of Mahmood but Bern were cruising at 53 for 3 and plenty of overs to spare. At 62 for 3 after 10 overs and only 41 required off of the last 9 overs Winterthur knew they had to dig deep. The never say die team spirit and the positive encouragement from the team to the bowlers started to pay dividends. First ball after the break Vikram, who looked as though he was going to take Bern to victory, got a balled that jumped off of a length and Rohit took a caught and bowled – 65 for 4.
Fesham and Sathya were going well and at 81 for 4 in the 14th over this was surely going to be Berns day wasn't it? Rohit then picked up the wicket of Fensham. Into the bowling attack came occasional bowler Rajeev. A bold move by the skipper and one that paid handsomely. In his first over Rajeev took 2 wickets and when Mahmood chipped in with the wicket of Sathya, who scored 16, the Bern score had gone from 81 for 4 to 85 for 8 in the 15th over.
The match was in the balance but once again it started to swing Berns way as they took the score into the 90s with balls to spare. Of the 2 WCC spearhead bowlers, Nasir had bowled his quota of 4 overs but the skipper had one left and he bowled Umar – 96 for 9. The last over and Bern required 7. The skipper made the decision to go for the wise old man in the team, Jiten, for the last over (no, the reporter won't mention those dropped catches from the previous day).
The first ball was to Adam who looked very capable of winning the game for Bern with his controlled aggression, but he only managed a single. The next ball and the Bern batsmen swung and missed and the “death rattle” was music to the Winterthur team and their followers causing wild on-pitch scenes of jubilation. Winterthur had completed a marvellous comeback to win an enthralling game of cricket.
The fielding had been top class by both sides and for Winterthur Rajeev, Rahul and Nasir made catching in the deep look easy. The Winterthur bowlers never wilted under pressure and there were several gutsy batting performances.
WCC 98-9 after 19 (adjusted to 103-9 under time rules) - Bern CC 98 all out after 18.2 overs
Winterthur CC: Raj, R.Grover, S.Cooper, R.Khandelwal*, Nasir, J.Patel, Rajeev, Y.Kumar, R.Viswanathan, M.Rahman, S.Zala, 12th J.Hallam
Berne CC: K.Attapattu, T.de Zoysa*, M.S.Husain, U.Sheikh Snr., U.Sheikh Jnr., F.Shaukat, C.Weerakoon, A.Bandura, A.N.Khan, A.Murfitt, S.Narayana+
Umpires: C.Denney & S.Muzaffar