Report by Saleem Awan
Defending SCA champions, Geneva XI Stars Cricket Club, continued their march in defence of last year's league title in style with a convincing 8 wicket victory and ten overs to spare at Onex Cricket Ground, against Uprising Cricket Club in their 2nd league game of the season.
On a cold & cloudy day, Uprising called the toss correctly and decided to bat. That was the only thing that was going to go right for them.
Geneva XI Stars CC, forced to test their bench strength as they were missing their 3 key players (Ovais Yousaf; Ali Saleem and Asad Shah), made the proceeding difficult for the visitors in the opening overs by bowling tightly and taking two early wickets as well.
Uprising never recovered from their dismal start and struggled to force the proceedings as the guile of Sudath Jayaratna and the medium pace of captain Raja and his opening ball partners Vithu and Mounir all bowled a tight line and length and made it hard to score runs. Raheel Malik of Uprising CC firmly held one end while wickets kept falling at the other and played a patient knock of 57. However, some lusty blows from the Upriding CC skipper Bhaskar who scored a quick fire 31 helped pushed the score but all hope of a big score vanished when he was bowled by the opposite skipper and ultimately the innings finished at a respectable 180 runs for 9 wickets in their allotted 40 overs but the big question remained if it was going to be enough runs on a batsman friendly wicket as the par score on the Onex ground has always been 250 runs plus in a 40 overs game. For the XI Stars, Sudath Jayaratna was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed 4 wickets for 36 runs in his allotted 8 overs.
Any hope of an early breakthrough by the Uprising vanished fast as both the openers Waleed and Asvin went about their batting very calmly and rotated the strike easily by picking the gaps nicely and stamped their authority with a solid 97 runs partnership. The partnership was only broken as Asvin who was playing brilliantly and for whom the 50 was there for a taking suddenly skied a ball and was out for 46 well played runs. However his fall brought Skipper Raja to the crease, who defied all instructions from his team mates to play cautiously and get into some early form, as he went after the opposition bowling in his usual style and scored a quick fire 46 runs before getting out but that was the last laugh for the visitors as the Champions went on to make the required runs without losing any further wickets and with more than 10 overs to spare. Young opener Waleed Saleem played a patient but brilliant innings of 62 runs not out and also played the shot of the match with a front foot cover drive that sizzled past the fielder like a bullet for 4 runs.
Uprising CC 180-9 (40 overs) lost to Geneva XI Stars CC 185-2 (30 overs) by 8 wickets
Uprising CC: K.Malik 57, B.Charavarthy 31;
Geneva XI Stars CC: A.Lakkaraju 46, W.Saleem 62*, R.Hafeez 46; S.Jayaratne 8-1-36-4
Umpire(s): Ahmad Daqquaqui (GICC)