Mar 22, 2014,
Game # of the DSL saw the Wombats clash with TCC for the second time. In the previous encounter, TCC had prevailed and this match was a must win for the Wombats if they intended to remain in contention for a place in the finals.
Wombats won the toss and elected to field first. Work horse Taz and newly married Abid Nazir started the proceedings for the Wombats while TCC’s Owais and Imran strode to the middle to face the wombats bowling. Taz and Abid started with maiden overs each, getting the ball to swing and also move off the pitch. Having got a measure of the bowling, both TCC batsmen Imran and Owais started to open up and scoring freely. Taz’s 3 overs went for 15 runs while Abid’s 2 overs went for 7 runs. Atif Butt and Hammad Usmani came on as first change bowlers and conceded 29 runs in the 3 overs they bowled, Butt going for 20 in his 2 overs and Hammad gave 9 runs in the first over he bowled. Haroon was forced to make changes to the bowling and brought himself on in the 9th over of the match and bowled a tight over , conceding only 3 runs. At the other end he brought on his attacking right arm fast bowler Munad and this paid immediate dividends as he struck with his first ball. Munad snared Imran’s wicket , getting him caught by Abid. His first over cost only a run and he had broken the opening stand. Haroon was making quick changes to the bowling and brought on the mystery spinner Awais Usmani to bowl the 11th over. Awais claimed the wicket of Ahmad Malik, catching him off his own bowling. The TCC were starting to lose steam as Munad and Awais started to tie them in knots. The 11-15 overs yielded only 17 runs , putting the TCC batsmen under pressure. TAz came on to bowl the 16th over and struck with the first ball he bowled. TCC’s Asif Saeed lofted a ball high into the sky and Awais ran in 35 yards to take a brilliant catch. Farhan Anwar who had bowled and batted well in the previous outing , stroked a 4 off the first ball he faced. Taz came back aggressively and got a ball to spit & rise at him out of nowhere. Taz claimed Farhan’s wicket off the last ball of his over, with Haroon taking the catch. TCC had been restricted to 80 / 4 in 16 overs. TAz struck again in his fourth over, getting the wicket of Owais who had made 42 from 52 balls. He was caught by Abid at long on. Taz finished with figures of 5-1-22-3. The wombats had done well to pull back TCC from the rollicking start they had at the beginning of the innings. TCC’s Kashif found himself short of the crease while trying to beat a throw from Taz while new batsman Abrar returned an easy catch to Haroon. Ehtisam walked in at the fall of the 7th wicket and could manage only 5 runs before Haroon bowled him. The TCC innings had been reduced to 99/8 in the 21st over. Wombats had taken 8 wickets for 44 runs in the passage of play between the 11-20 over. Abir and Murtaza tried to steady the rocking boat and put on 33 runs in 25 balls in an effort to take the TCC innings to a respectable total. Murtaza got out in the last over of the innings when he was deceived by a ball from Awais and Omar hayat gleefully whipped off the bails in a jiffy. Awais also claimed the last wicket of the innings when left hand bat Mumtaz lofted a catch to Haroon. The TCC innings had folded at 132 runs , nowhere near the large total which looked imminent with the start they had got. Awais ended with figures of 5-0-24-3 while Haroon returned figures of 5-0-19-2. Munad chipped in with 5-0-30-1. Abid Nazir, Atif Butt and Hammad went wicketless.
With a relatively small total to chase, Wombats started with a new opening pair of Sherry and Ammad. They began at a sedate pace and the tight bowling from TCC restricted their scoring shots. They were able to score only 29 runs for the first wicket in 7 overs when the first wicket fell. Sherry was caught by Kashif off the bowling of Mumtaz for 13 runs (18 b, 1×5,2×2,1×4). Haroon joined Ammad in the middle and they put on a partnership of 13 runs in 11 balls before Ammad fell LBW to Mumtaz. Ammad scored 25 runs from 36 balls with 4 fours, a relatively scratchy innings by his standard. Taz came to the crease and stroked a four to long on and had moved on to 7 from 5 balls when he was caught at Short mid off by Ahmad Malik off Farhan’s bowling. The Wombats innings started to look shaky with the score reading 49/3 in 10 overs. Omar hayat joined Haroon in the middle and the two set about resurrecting the innings. They put on 29 runs for the 4th wicket before Abir claimed the wicket of Haroon, getting him caught behind by Owais. In a surprising move, Atif Butt came up the order and started to forge a partnership with Omar Hayat. The duo put on 30 runs at run-a-ball for the fifth wicket. The partnership was broken when butt played uppishly and was caught by Farhan off Murtaza’s bowling. The match was heading for a close finish with the wombats requiring 25 runs to win from 23 balls and 5 wickets in hand. Munad paired up with Omar and the two put on 19 runs for the 6th wicket in 12 balls, bringing the wombats within touching distance of a victory which had been eluding for quite some time. Farhan claimed Munad’s scalp when he had him caught by Ahmad malik. Munad had played a cameo scoring 10 runs off 6 balls and eased the pressure on the wombats innings. However, the tables were turning fast and Farhan picked up 2 more wickets in the same over. Atif Ilyas was bowled by a ball which swung in while next man Awais usmani was bowled when he failed to keep out a Yorker heading towards the base of his middle stump. In a space of 3 balls, the game had started to swing in favor of TCC and the Wombats innings seemed to be imploding. Batsmen were trying to go for glory instead of playing sensibly and taking the team across the winning line. The responsibility came on Hammad’s shoulders to ensure no further hiccups and he lived up to expectations, gliding the ball to 3rd man for a boundary and winning the game for Wombats.
Wombats nearly threw the game away with the top order playing at a sedate pace and the lower order throwing away their wickets when all that was required was to play sensibly and score at run a ball. The victory turned out to be more hard fought than what was expected at the beginning of the chase.