Match 5, 25/5/2019
Siyapa vs Aberdeen Superkings
After a weather forced break of 2 weeks, Siyapa came on the Duthie Park pitch hosting Aberdeen SuperKings. The game was again at risk of getting affected by rain so the teams decided to start early.
Aberdeen SuperKings won the toss and decided to bat. In the proud Pakistani tradition of throwing the youngsters into the deep end, Ali Naseem, who was playing the hard ball game for the first time, was asked to start the attack with Naveed ul Husnain. Naveed started with a wicket maiden, getting the prized scalp of captain Mausam Thapa. Ali generated good pace but wasn't lucky with the wickets. Kings didnt pause after the fall of Mausam cheaply and kept scoring at a good run rate, punishing any mistake of Siyapa bowlers, of which there were plenty. Change of bowling with Asif and Shahid in brought the healthy partnership between H. Chouvatia and S. Kaki (37 runs in 9 overs) to an end with S. Kaki getting caught by Salman off Shahid on 23. Spin was introduced at this point to stem the flow of runs and both Umar and Tanweer striked in their second overs, Umar getting H. Chouvatioa (bowled on 34) and Tanweer getting Magesh Devendran caught on 1. Kings were still at 94/4 in 20 overs and carried on scoring freely managing 141/4 by the 25th over and seemed to be taking the game away from Siyapa. Shahid brought himself and Naveed back into the attack and managed to get R. Mantha caught on 27. Asif managed to finally get the free scoring B. Yalamanchile LBW on 38. While Naveed got another scalp (D. Fernandez, caught by Asif on 12), rest of the inning was just Shahid's who rolled through the tail and finished with his second consecutive 5 wicket haul !!!!
With the weather coming in, a deteriorating pitch and a decent 187 to win, this was bound to be a tough chase. Probably made worse with the eraly fall of Opener Khalid Zia on 0. However, Bilal and Salman built a solid foundation with Bilal hitting some juicy cover drives (one gem caught on the drove video) and Salman playing his usual risk free innings. Bilal fell to H. Chovatia on 24, unable to keep a low bouncing ball away from his stumps makig the scoreline 53/2 in 14 overs. Salman carried on his partnership with Shahram but it couldnt carry on for long with Shahram losing his stumps to S. Tadoori on 7. Abdul Rauf then took the mantle but right when it seemed that this is the partnership bring the game home, he got a nasty hit by the ball to his head. With no helmet to protect him, this could have been dangerous and he was taken out of the field to rest. Luckily it proved a superficial injury. Umar Ghafoor went in but couldnt manage his recent heroics and got out on 11. Siyapa were comfortable till Salman was on crease but that changed in 28th over when Salman was bolwed on 58 by Magesh Davenderan. On 125/4 after 28 overs, Siyapa still needed 63 runs in the remaining 17 overs.
Abdul Rauf went back in (with a helmet!!!) but eventually got out on 21.Probably sensing blood, Kings brought the strike bolwers back. H. Chovatia getting both Asif (LBW, 3) and Ali (bowled, 6). Naveed and Shahid took the scoreline from 159/8 in 36 over to 180 in the 40th over with Shahid trying to rocket through to the end with a 6 and 4 but got caught on 14 courtesy a brilliant catch by M. Thappa, leaving the last wicket to manage the remaining 8 runs. Kings didnt let those runs slip easy but the wet weather was causing trouble in fielding and bowling and eventually the balance tilted Siyapa's way in the 42nd over.
With margin of victory so small and factors like rain and pitch affecting performance throughout, it was hardly a convincing victory. Probably first time in the season Siyapa was stretched both in their bowling as they struggled to contain the runs flow, and in their batting as just scrapped through the last few runs. In the end there was little to differentiate between the teams and result could have gone either direction.
Siyapa now 4 out of 4 , but probably a cue for the things to come and a hint for the weeks practice