Match 4- The Bounce back!
3 matches into the season and no win to their credit yet, Siyapa went into their first home game of the season. Unfortunately, the alleged ‘home ground’ hardly presented any advantage. Siyapa having only played a couple of games on the ground in the past – All resulting in a loss! Looking at the opponent didn’t give any relief either. Methlick having won 2 out of their 3 games in the season, only losing to all conquering Gordonians so far.
The day was bright and sunny with no cloud cover, meaning lots of dry lips for the fasting players. With artificial pitch, low cut grass providing fast out field and one of the larger grounds in grades, this was expected to be a batting wicket, which it proved to be. Siyapa was also without their wicket keeper captain, Salman Bedaar. Vice-Captain Naveed ul husnain stepping in for the captain and Humayun taking the responsibilities behind the stumps.
Winning the toss Naveed decided to put Methlick in for bat, idea being to somehow get the team out on a low score which can then be chase by unusually long batting, albeit without the in-form Salman.
Naveed started the bowling himself, supported by Asif on the other end. Methlick played cautiously with only going after ball offering some width, or taking calculated risk, hitting over the fielders in the gap. While Asif got his grove immediately, starting with maiden, Naveed didn’t prove as dangerous as his last game, though 5 maidens in a row are hard to replicate on an artificial pitch anyway. Bowling on both ends started neatly but 4s were scored in the second overs from both end as well. This seemed like the theme of the spells, a mix of very good balls with occasional bad ones. Credit to the batsmen who patiently played out the bad ones and perfectly capitalizing on any bad ones. By the end of the 10th over, when Asif took the first wicket (in a wicket maiden over), the score was a decent 27. Naveed took himself off the attack and brought in the experienced M Shahid, with Asif continuing from the other end. Shahid was his usual stingy self giving only a couple in first, followed by single and then a maiden over. But with batsmen gotten used to Asif on the other end and tiredness setting in , batsmen scorred most of the runs on other end for next couple of overs, when Asif was replaced by Tanweer.
The change worked in favour of the team with a wicket maiden immediately, though batsmen kept their wait and punish bad balls attitude, managing to keep a run rate of over 3 well into the spells of Tanweer and Shahid. This continued into the spells of Shahram and Khurram and later when the main bowlers resumed. The destructor-in-chief A Robson making a well deserved 88 not out led the score board. Amir Siddique once again chipped in with usual economic overs when Methlick tried to accelerate and getting C Addison bowled (39) as well who was supporting A Robson. M Shahid managed the last wicket of the inning, B Anderson (17). Methlick managed to finish without giving too many wickets and setting a competitive 207 to win.
Siyapa sent in Saad Khan and Asif Yakub to open the inning. T Duffy started the bowling with his beautiful inswinging bowling , supported by C Addison. With 3 wickets each in his last 2 games at a miserly economy rate, T Duffy was clearly the bowler to survive, and survive they did. Though in the caution the run rate suffered. Methlick bowlers bowled a smart tight line, giving little in terms of width. As a first Siyapa managed to go through first 16 overs without losing any wicket, well into the third and fourth bowler’s spells, but managing only 37 runs. The batsmen have laid a platform and tried to accelerate but with no bad balls coming had to take their risks. Unfortunately this led to Saad falling to S Kennedy (bowled , 8) and Asif getting stumped on 20, off A Robson. With wickets falling in consequent overs (17 and 18th), there were 2 new batsmen on the crease, Khurram and Bilal. A natural dip in the run rate came about yet again. Methlick brought back the attack bowlers to get some wickets but Khurram and Bilal resisted till Bilal fell in the 30th over to C Addison after scoring 13. With score only 84 in 30, overs and requiring 123 in 15 overs (R.R, 8.4), M Shahid was sent in almost by a consensus! With tiredness setting in the field and batsmen hitting the balls around, score started ticking quickly. Plenty of doubles and triples meant that the batsmen got tired, with Khurram struggling with cramps. But the by the time Khurram departed in the 36th over (at 37, bowled C Addison) , the score was a healthy 129 , though still requiring 78 off the last 9 overs. Amir Siddique walked in and immediately accelerated the scoring with a mix of quick singles and boundaries. With the quota of all the main bowlers finished, Methlick was reliant on 2nd string attack. This caused little trouble to the batsmen. Though amply supported by Shahid at first (out on 26, LBW to R Kennedy) and then by Shahram (14 not out), the rest of the Siyapa innings was pretty much about Amir Siddique. He remained unbeaten on 42, the highest score of the Siyapa innings.
With this the much awaited ‘bounce back’ of Siyapa finally arrived. With lots of inputs of players the laurels are pretty much evenly distributed amongst the team during fielding, batting and bowling. While some areas of weakness still remain, for the time being the team will rejoice and relish the sweet taste of victory. The hard work begins again midweek at the practice but till then, enjoy the memories.