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24 Jun 2018
Match 8 – Batting Paradise
Siyapa’s last game from the first half of the season was against AGSFP’s (Grammar) second team at Rubislaw ground. The artificial pitch didn’t promise much and the neatly cut grass of the outfield on the nice afternoon sun didn’t look like it will offer any resistance to ball. Probably all these helped Grammar’s captain to decide they will prefer to set a big score on this. But this was not a decision Siyapa would have minded, considering how well their bowlers have been bowling lately.
Siyapa started with the usual strike options Naveed Ahmed and Asif Yusuf. Grammar sent in the left/right combination of M. Nattrass and I. Johnston. Asif started magnificinetly with a wicket maiden, sending back lefty M. Nattrass, helping to stop moving fields for left/right batsman. Naveed, kept it tight with a couple of maidens but was not lucky with wickets. M. Nattrass was replaced on the crease by A. Sood who seemed more assured against the Siyapa bowling then his partners. The strike bolwers kept prodding but were not successful in getting more wickets in their first spells eventually getting replaced by Shahid and Tanweer after 12 overs, with score of 23/1. Shahid managed a wicket in second over when he bowled I. Johnston at a score of 5. However, Tanweer remained wicketless in his first spell. As the batsmen started getting comfortable with the bowlers, with A. Sood hitting occasional boundaries on his preferred leg side, captain Salman experimented with Saad Khan and Amir Siddique for an over, but the flatness of the wicket, accompanied by the issue of bowling in headwind and batsmen hitting technique meant that Grammar kept marching on. On other end Naveed Ahmad was brought back in and got the wicket of Alan Macdonald at a score of 34 (caught by Shahram). With score at 111/3 in 27 overs, Salman decided to take the matters (and the cricket ball) in his own hands. Relinquishing the keeping duties to Amir Siddique, he came to ball his handy off-spins. With bit of support from all the bowlers from other end he slowed the flow of runs. Amir found his groove in keeping and managed 2 run outs, while Salman himself got 2 wickets , both bowled, including the danger-man A Sood (88) who tried to accelerate again near the end. Grammar finished with a healthy 206/9 which was surely a fighting total.
After a good tea, Siyapa sent in Saad Khan and Shahram Memon to chase down the total. A cautious start , helped by extras meant that score ticked along without any undue risk. Saad managed 21 before being caught off A. MacDonald. But the chase was led by Shahram who raced to 30 with six 4’s. As Salman replaced Saad, he scored some useful 4s taking him 34 before he fell to S. Yarney. Bilal Usman replaced him and continued scoring where Salman left, starting off with a 4 towards covers. On the other end Shahram kept moving unperturbed as a man possessed, eventually scoring a century, climaxing with beautiful 6 to reach triple figures and taking Siyapa’s score into 200s (see the video clip of the shot). He and Bilal remained unbeaten on 103 and 14.
While reaching a sweet end, the game again opened some cracks. A few catches dropped (including of A. Sood), some misfields leading extra boundaries meant that score was much more than what it should have been. Despite being a batting wicket, Siyapa expected its bowling to get 10 wickets.
The big positive is the first century of the season by Shahram, long this may continue. The team moved quickly between tricks that didn’t work, changed bowlers, adjusted fields and at the end that brought the momentum back to them. Keep learning, keep marching…..
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