Zurich Nomads CC 173ao (19.2 overs) bt Zurich Lions CC 170-9 (20.0 overs) by 3 runs
On a bright sunny day of Sunday 28th May, Nomads CC won the toss and elected to bat first. ZLCC bowlers had the job to do in a good contest between bat and bowl and they had their task cut to
contain the Nomads CC in their chase in second innings.
Batting first the experienced duo Asvin and Fahim opened the innings for Nomads and the right and left hand combination of the duo was to challenge the bowling attack of ZLCC. Arjun started the bowling attack for ZLCC. First over flew to 13 runs in an over. Umar bowled second and both batsmen were playing sensibly watching off the good bowls and putting away the bad ones. The first breakthrough for ZLCC came in third over when Fahim got caught in slips by Sheshu on Sukhi’s bowling who was bowling with some disciplined line and length. The board read 3 overs 29/1. Waqas joined Asvin and they went on to put a good partnership playing sensibly. Asvin played some beautiful cover drives and pulls and was solid in defence too. The scorecard was going nicely on an average of 8 runs per over which meant by halfway thru Nomads CC were 82/1 and ready for the big second half of their innings. Sara, the ZLCC captain introduced himself and some really good bowling saw a lose shot from Waqas where Sheshu took a fine catch in gully and Asvin was joined by Priyank. In the meantime with good looking shots Asvin completed his half century in 37 balls. But soon in the next over, Sumant got him out caught in point by Sukhi where he took a good catch to end the innings of Asvin who made 55 (40 balls, 9 fours) and in the last ball of the over Sumant castled the sticks of Priyank kumar taking his second wicket in over to the board read 100/4 at the end of 12 overs. Azeem and Idris were the new guys on the crease and the onus was on them to take the innings forward, which was well built by the top order for a good finish. Azeem hit couple of sixes in an over and was looking in fine nick. Idris too hit couple of boundaries before getting bowled by Imran Arshad, he made 10 runs and at the end of 14thover the board was 120/5. It was a chance for both the teams, for ZLCC to wrap the innings and for Nomads to go on for last 5 overs. Jayarante Sudath joined Azeem and duo hit some lusty blows to up the ante. Umar broke the partnership when he caught and bowled Sudath for 13 and by the end of 15thover the board was 135/6. In the last 5 overs one would assume Nomads CC will score no less than 50-55 runs given their power hitters. Satbir singh joined Azeem who was well set and was going good. Both of them collected 29 runs in next 3 overs to reach 163/6 in 18th over when Satbir was bowled by Umar. Azeem was caught by Arjun off Sumant’s bowling before playing a good hand of 35 (4 sixes, 1 four in 17 balls) and Nomads were 173/8 at the end of 19th over. Sukhi bowled an excellent last over to wrap the things taking last two successive wickets of Dinesh and Farid ending the Nomads innings 173/10 in 19.2 overs. Looking at the start Nomads got they might have felt a little below par as the par score was on this ground was around 185-190, but it was a good job done by ZLCC bowlers as well to pull back things on time to give them a fair chance to chase this score which was one would say, doable.
Chasing a target of 174 in 20 overs, ZLCC openers tasks was to see off good bowls, keep the scoreboard ticking and make use of power-play to build a good foundation. However, Sumant was bowled in the first over by Farid without scoring and ZLCC was in an early spot of bother. Amol the other opener was joined by Sai, and Amol hit some glorious sixes too tee off his innings but an early check on the shot of Farid’s second over he was caught by Azeem on short mid-wicket which was a crucial blow to ZLCC. The scorecard read 22/2 at the end of 3rd over. Sara joined Sai in middle and in the very crucial phase of the chase it was very essential for both of them to stay positively and play wisely. Nomads CC bowlers were not giving any easy runs and it was up to ZLCC duo out in the middle to take risks to keep the runs coming and scoreboard ticking. However only 1 run on the 9th over of Sudath and next over maiden by Fahim got Sai loose in concentration and runs were hard to come by, he was out on sudath’s next over caught by Farid in mid-wicket area when the scorecard was reading 66/3. Sai made 19 runs (28 balls, 1 four), while at the other end Sara was determined to take his team across the line as he was looking in ominous touch and needed some partner just to stay at the crease. However the very next ball Umar was caught and bowled of Sudath’s bowling and at the end of 12th over scorecard was 67/4 and ZLCC team was in serious spot of bother and the current run rate was 5.5 per run and the required run had climbed up to 13.5 runs per over and was seriously challenging; meanwhile Imran Arshad joined Sara in the middle. Sara was in some different dimensions of his batting where he hit some out-of-stadium monstrous sixes and some fantastic pulls and lovely looking square cuts on the off side. In the 15th over ZLCC reached the mark of 100/4. Keeping his cool Sara knew that he is the key to take his team par and Imran knowing this was playing sensibly as well to give the strike back to Sara. Needing 74 runs in 5 overs is no mean task and it needed a heroic and superhuman efforts for ZLCC to win this match. Let’s see how things went; in the 16th over of Waqas, Sara let loose and went bonkers to hit 3 sixes and four to fetch 23 runs in an over and Nomads were left stunned. They knew they are in a serious spot of bother as the run required drastically came down to 41 needed in last 4 overs. They say heroes are not made in rooms, but in fields where you showcase your skills and Sara’s wicket was key for Nomads. In a dramatic turn out in 17th over where he had already collected 10 runs, the big man got tempted by a full length and got bowled, but not before taking his team to the verge of the victory where ZLCC can sense they can do it. He made a scintillating 81 (53 balls, 5 fours, 6 sixes with a strike rate of 153) the scorecard read 144/6 at the end of 17th overs. 3 overs and 29 runs, doable to say in T-20. Sheshu joined Imran but Nomads tightened the run flows as in a crucial blow of confusion Sheshu got run out without scoring and in the very next ball Imran was caught in long on by Priyank, both of them in the bowling of Idris. The over was so crucial that only 1 run came and 2 wickets fell. 2 overs 28 runs required and 2 new batsmen Srivatsan and Snehil were at crease. It’s said no easy task for the new batsmen to score in such crunch situation but the duo fetched 14 runs on 19th over where Srivatsan played some nice shots for 2 boundaries. 15 needed in last over, nail biting finish. Azeem had the ball, first ball dot to Snehil, second ball a wide, next ball Snehil went for six, caught at long off boundary by Priyank Kumar, ZLCC needed 14 of 5 balls. Srivatsan at other end played good shots for brace fetched and needed 12 out of 3, what a game it turned out to be. And a six on the 4th ball, wow great shot under pressure by Srivatsan, needed 6 of 2 balls, but a the fate had he got run out in 5th ball while trying to complete a double. 5 run needed on the last ball, but last batsmen Arjun could manage only a single. Phew, what a match it turned out to be. What a fight, bravery, heroic display of batting by ZLCC captain Sara but at the end just short of 3 runs of a memorable victory of the season. Disappointed to be on the losing side, but ZLCC didn’t give up, they fought and gave a run for their money to Nomads, but credit to Nomads also to bowl 18th over only for a run.
It was a great game of cricket, where both the teams played wonderfully but Nomads won by 3 runs, win or lose doesn’t really matter as the spirit of cricket shown by ZLCC; they can have their chin up and pride the way they fought. A valiant effort of Sara went in losing cause, but we will continue to see the great games in league’s coming matches.
Report by Snehil Joshi (Zurich Lions CC)