Mar 15, 2014, the Sevens, Dubai
Match # 6 of the Dubai Super League played at the Sevens Cricket Ground saw old rivals Wombats facing up against The Cricketers Club (TCC). Both teams had played 2 games before this match. While TCC had trounced the opposition comprehensively in both their matches, racking up scores in excess of 200 and restricting the opposition well below the target, the Wombats had won one match against Booz&Co and had lost a close game against NBF. A victory in this match for the Wombats would even up the points table while a victory for TCC would mean that they would lead the points table followed by NBF, Wombats and Booz&Co in that order.
On a windy morning with slightly overcast conditions, the Wombats won the toss and sent TCC into bat first. Nauman and Owais opened the innings for TCC while Taz and Naeem started the bowling for Wombats. Taz bowled a good line and length and conceded only 2 runs in his first over. Naeem, bowling from the other end was not so lucky and was hit for a 4 and a 6 in his first over. TCC’s Nauman started to flay the bowling and Taz’s second over was taken for 13 runs. This seemed to signal the batting display to follow. Naeem’s second over was hit for 13 runs which included another set of 4 and 6, all coming from the bat of Nauman who seemed to be in a punishing mood that morning. At the end of the 4th over, TCC were 38 for no loss. Taz’s third over went for 3 runs while Hammad’s first over yielded 5 runs including a wide and a leg bye. Hammad struck in the second ball of his second over, latching on to a full blooded drive from Nauman. The first wicket fell with 52 runs on the board and Nauman had scored 41 of those, his innings laced with 4x4s and 2x6s. Ahmad Malik joined Owais at the crease. Owais who had been watching quietly when Nauman had been attacking the bowling, started to open up and struck 3 fours in Hammad’s over spoiling the bowler’s celebration of having taken a wicket. Owais would hit another 4 off Taz’s bowling before being given out LBW in the very next ball, having score 24 off 25 balls. The TCC score read 69/2 in the middle of the 9th over. Hammad struck again in his third over to remove Asif Saeed who was caught brilliantly by Shariq Sayani. The Wombats had struck thrice in a space of 14 balls and seemed to be wresting the control from TCC. The experienced Kashif joined Ahmad malik in the centre and the duo set about thwarting the efforts of the Wombats bowlers to make inroads into the TCC batting line up. They stuck together for nearly 7 overs between the 11th – 17th over and put on 37 runs for the 4th wicket. The duo had scored only 11 runs in the overs 11-13 and exploded in the 14th over bowled by Masam, scoring 13 off the over with a huge 6 and 4. Haroon came on to bowl the 15th over and bowled a tight one giving away 2 runs. The next over from Masam was again targeted and cost 10 runs. The partnership ended when Ahmad Malik failed to make his ground safely and Omar Hayat whipped off the bails. Malik had scored 22 runs off 30 balls which included three 4s. The all rounder Farhan Anwar joined Kashif in the middle and put on 36 runs for the 5th wicket off just 22 balls. Haroon’s over went for 7 runs while Shariq’s lone over of the match went for 12 runs. Naeem was brought back into the attack and was hit for a 4 and a massive 6 and he had conceded 13 runs off 5 balls before he knocked back Kashif’s stumps, getting him out bowled. Kashif had scored 41 runs off 29 balls with two towering hits over the boundary ropes and 3x4s. Abrar joined Farhan in the middle but the partnership was nipped in the buds with Haroon striking to have Farhan caught by Abid for 12 (10 balls). Ehtisam made a brief appearance in the middle before being out run-out on a smart piece of glove work from omar hayat. Wombats had again picked up 3 wickets in a space of 6 balls to leave TCC shaken at 148/8 in the 21st over. New batsman Abir joined Abrar and the two did not let the pressure get the better of them and played aggressively, putting on 25 runs in 18 balls for the 8th wicket, Abir fell to the bowling of Hammad, with Haroon taking a blinder. The last over of the innings was given to Masam, who had shown ability to bowl in the death overs. He started with a full toss above waist height which Abrar duly dispatched to the square leg boundary; the umpire called it a “no ball” and the ball had to be bowled again. A wicket fell off the next ball with Aamir having backed up too far and Masam threw down the stumps at the bowling end. With 5 balls to the end of the innings, Shahid joined Abrar who continued to toy with the bowling, hitting the next two balls for 6s over square leg. To add insult to injury, a catch was also dropped. Masam was straying in line and leaking runs and conceded 4 more off the next two balls.The last ball of the over was treated no differently , with Abrar teeing it off for a six. TCC had scored 24 off the last over and 54 in the last 4 overs of the innings. Where the wombats would have wanted to restrict TCC to under 175, they had been set a stiff target of 203 runs to win.
The Wombats skipper chose to start with attacking batsman Naeem Abbas with Sherry and the pair put on 13 for the first wicket before Nauman had Naeem bowled for 4. Nauman struck again in his next over , taking the wicket of Ali Bajwa who was caught by Abir for 1. Sherry tried to keep the runs flowing at one end but was not getting much help from his partners. Taz strode in with the score reading 24/2 and immediately hit 2 fours. He continued to try to play aggressively but his innings was cut short when he was declared out LBW off the bowling of Farhan Anwar. Taz had made 15 runs of 10 balls with 3 hits to the boundary. Haroon walked in and started to forge a partnership with Sherry. The pair had put on 20 runs when Sherry was caught by Owais off Farhan’s bowling for a well made 34 from 31 balls with 5 hits to the fence. The Wombats had been reduced to 67/4 in 9 overs. Atif Ilyas joined Haroon and the two started to rebuild the innings and stitched together a partnership of 35 runs from 40 balls which included a huge 6 over mid wicket,7 twos’ and 13 singles. Masam walked in and tried to force the pace of the innings and was out for 1, caught by Ahmad Malik off the bowling of Abir. This brought the Wombats wicket keeper Omar Hayat to the crease and together with Atif Ilyas he put on 39 runs from 26 balls. Atif Ilyas continued to play his strokes and hit another 6 over mid wicket in his innings of 38 runs from 37 balls. The hopes of Wombats was starting to soar with the manner in which Atif and Omar were playing. Ehtisam, who had disappointed with the bat, came back for his final over and got Atif’s wicket, getting through his defense and bowling him. Usman Alam joined Omar with the score reading 147/7 and needing 56 runs to win from 22 balls and 3 wickets in hand. Both batsmen went into overdrive and scored 23 runs off the next 9 balls and were aided in their efforts by TCC’s Aamir who bowled 2 no balls in the same over which cost 7 additional runs. With 33 runs required to win from 14 balls, the wombats started running for everything and Omar Hayat got out run-out after having scored 33 runs of 17 balls. Shariq fell next after scoring 1. The Wombats still needed 32 runs from 11 balls to win while TCC needed a wicket to win when Hammad Usmani joined Usman Alam in the middle. The 24th over yielded 9 runs leaving 22 required off the last over. 9 runs were scored off the first 4 balls of the over while the fifth was a dot ball making it impossible for the Wombats to win. The 10th wicket fell on the last ball of the innings with Usman Alam getting run out having scored 16 runs from 13 balls. The Wombats lost the match by 13 runs much to the joy of TCC.
Positives from the match were return to form of Omar Hayat, Atif ilyas’s innings and USman Alam & Sherry’s batting. The catch dropped in the last over of the TCC innings bowled by Masam seemed to have cost them the match.