Game 3 - Siyapa plays away at Fraserburgh
After 2 consecutive losses, Siyapa travelled to Fraserburgh hoping to get their first win. With a longer than usual batting line-up there was a hope of setting or chasing a good score. Bowling, though missing the usual attack bowlers, had a variety to it. The pitch at the Kessock road ground seemed to be well baked by the recent sun and had firmness to it. As expected it had good bounce for the bowlers, and remained predictable enough to be good batting pitch.
Siyapa’s captain Salman successfully called the toss and elected to bat. The idea was clearly to set a good score on the board and use the board pressure and the diverse bowling to contain the home team.
Two of the best Siyapa batsmen started the innings, Amir Siddique and Asif Yakub. However the opening ended without any score, with Amir nicking a leg side bowl to the keeper. With mixed noise sounding like a ball-pad or bat-pad sound there was confusion amongst umpire and a less than enthusiastic appeal as well but Amir walked amongst an applause of the fielding players.
Salman joined Asif on the pitch and started building what is now a familiar innings. With cautious runs and occasional shots, the pair took the score from 1/0 in the first over to a total score of 17 in the 6th over, when Asif got run out (at 12) by a direct throw in what seemed like a close call. Salman once again left looking for partners to build the innings. A role well filled by the new arrival to pitch, Bilal. While starting cautiously, he scored some classy boundaries which showed what the pitch offered if the batsman settles in. He scored 29 with the help of six 4’s but then got caught in the slips off Paul O’neill. With score now 66/3, the stage was set for a good score considering the batting yet to come. But here’s when Siyapa fumbled again and wasted the opportunity. They lost 2 wickets in successive balls (Humayun and Nauman ),making the score 66/5 and leaving experienced Shahram to survive the hatrick, which he did. But perished soon after without adding to the total.
Salman desperately looking at the fall of wickets on other ends managed a few more shots but eventually fell at 32, getting caught by the keeper. Another of the Siyapa batsman who walked before the umpire’s signal.
Umer Ghafoor who had joined Salman on the crease and managed to get the score ticking again with some late cuts eventually got bowled to Paul at 8.
M Shahid and Asif yousaf replaced Salman and Umer on the crease.
M Shahid started his innings with uncharacteristic caution but then hit some good shots. He was joined at the other end after Asif Yousaf became the 5th duck of the innings. As Tanweer blocked balls at one end Shahid managed 11 before getting bowled, leaving Fraserburgh a below-par 102 to win.
Fraserburgh sent in F Lawrence and M Watson to bat. F Lawrence made his intentions clear when he hit a 4 at the very first ball off M Shahid. With Asif filling in the role of usual strike bowlers the usual pressure on the batting was missing, if such a thing was possible at all with such score. Asif took M. Watson’s wicket without him scoring any run, but the runs kept coming. Between Shahid and Asif the score was relatively contained with both finishing at decent 0/15 off 6 and 2/20 off 7. However the spinners (Umar, Shahram, Tanweer) couldn’t put any pressure at all and leaked too many runs giving away 64 runs in just 5 overs essentially wrapping up the game.
While there is still plenty of games to come, this seemed like a very ordinary performance and Siyapa will have to lift their game significantly if they want to come anywhere close to their last year's record where they came at a hairline distance from a promotion to Grade 1.