Olten CC's unbeaten streak in CSPL 2016 was brought to stop by a resilient Nomads CC who managed to defend 164 runs and register a 41 run victory.
Winning the toss, Olten CC skipper Ali Nayyer had no hesitation in inviting the opposition to bat first. The spongy bounce from the first few balls was an indication that it was not going to be a high scoring game. Nomads started cautiously and started to flex muscles as the overs went along and openers Faheem Nazir and Lakkaraju put together a partnership of 50 before the left arm guile of Tharani got the better of Faheem who was caught and bowled.
Shafqat and Lakkaraju then put on another 45 run partnership and Nomads were looking good at 96-1 in 20 overs. However good bowling from Olten CC bowlers led by Tharani (2/25), ensured a mini collapse for Nomads and all of a sudden Nomads were 111-6 including the wicket of Lakkaraju who was caught behind for a well-made 52 and was well set.
Sudath Jayarathne (16*) and rest of the lower order then batted with lot of responsibility and ensured that Nomads reached 160, which was considered as a par score on that wicket. Nomads finished on 164 all out in the 39 over. For Olten CC Sathees was the pick of bowlers with 3/32 in his allocated 8 overs.
After a delicious lunch Olten CC chase was dented in the very first over when Jaso was caught by Farid Don off Nouman at long on. Tight bowling lines by Nomads CC and a difficult pitch ensured that Olten would not run away with the chase. The pressure dramatically mounted when skipper Nayyer was caught in front of the wicket off the bowling of Faheem, who bowled with express pace in sweltering heat.
With temperatures in high 30s, conditions became difficult for both batsmen and bowlers and it was clear that the team, which held the nerve, would win the game. Olten lost Raja Jacob to an excellent catch from Lakkaraju standing up to the medium pace of Idrees and the slide continued with Faheem getting two wickets in two balls, both bowled.
At 80/8, the game was well in Nomads grasp or one would have thought so. However Jeyakanthan has other ideas and started hitting boundaries with ease and managed to get 45 runs in 3 overs with the able help of experienced Sheeraz. The partnership was ended when, Skipper Azeem Nazir knocked off the stumps with a good yorker and the final rights were performed by Faheem Nazir, who emulated his brother and got the wicket of Jeyakanthan left Olten all out for 123. For Nomads, Faheem was excellent and bowled with lot of pace in extremely hot conditions and finished with a well-deserved 4/13 and was supported well by all the rest of the bowlers. For Olten, Shahid made a fighting 33 but did not receive much of support from the rest of middle order apart from Jeyakanthan who made a blistering 39 towards the end.
Both Nomads and Olten CC take on St Gallen in their next CSPL assignment. With a bonus point in the game, Olten CC have now qualified for quarterfinals, whereas Nomads CC will need another point to ensure qualification.