Wombats Dubai Super League 2016 – 17 Cricket
6th January 2017
The much awaited match between the number one and two sides of DSL did not disappoint. Even though there were the best part of two spectators, one of which was a lost crow. However, there was another kind of spectator too, fielders, they too were left awe struck by a desert storm.
Wombats Blacks won the toss and on what appeared to be a road of a pitch, elected to bat first. SCB would have reminisced their last outing, the semi final of last year’s DSL where the Blacks encountered a tragic collapse to some wily and accurate bowling, spear headed by the SCB captain, Haroon Zafar. This time, ‘Google’ Ali and Rehan started proceedings with a solid partnership. Rehan, the more aggressive of the two, hit an audacious six over extra cover in his brilliant 50 of just 39 balls, however, no one, not even the lost crow could have imagined that six was a sign of things to come. Krishna Lakhani, the elegant Wombats Blacks number 3 walked out to bat when Rehan got out, and immediately began to attack the bowling. Interestingly, when Krishna came out to bat, Google tried warning him about how slow the pace was, as it was ‘sticking’ in the wicket. However, when Krishna cracked his first boundary, he promptly made a statement about how true the wicket was. By the time Google got out to a patient 25 off 27 balls, playing a vital role by rotating the strike, storm clouds were brewing…
Out walked the monstrosity that is Aashir Hasnain. Krishna would have told him how true the wicket was. What followed was simply breathtaking in its power and poetry. His first ball was a dot and then it was 4, 4, 4! As all eyes turned to focus on the eye of the storm (4, 4, 4), cleanly struck cricketing shots on the off side, the opposition began to tremble. However, little did they know that they would be the subject of a carnage so vicious in the ensuing overs that even they would be dazed by it’s sheer brutality. It didn’t take long for Aashir to unleash a huge six over the bowler’s head. From then on it was a hail storm of sixes. Each six going further than the last. Each six, going to a different part of the ground. As the score resembled a long telephone number with a peculiarity for sixes (14 of them) and fours (9 of them) unleased from Aashir’s bat, SCB were left standing on a cricket field where the nature of play was outside of the boundary. Whilst the run rate soared, SCB’s bowlers’ will sank, everything they tried just simply did not work, whether it was slow, fast, short or full, leg side or off side. As if a six was hit on demand when one of the players from his own team commented on how ‘boring and repetitive’ Aashir’s sixes were, he hit two magnificent sixes over extra cover, the latter bringing his century in a mere 36 balls. He scored an insane 139 off just… just…. Just 46 balls. Who does that? I certainly have never seen it before.
Krishna meanwhile, who enjoyed the best seat in the house to watch Aashir’s brilliance with the bat, played a scintillating innings himself, hitting 5 huge sixes en-route to a quite extraordinary 70 off 38 balls… not often does a strike rate of 184 get dwarfed by 302!!! Nael came out to bat in the last over, and made a zero off zero balls.
Chasing the highest score of any DSL match so far, 292 in 25 overs is a colossal task. Aashir opened the bowling, as if he hadn’t quite fulfilled his appetite and took a wicket. It was not long before Wombats Blacks began to tighten the screws. However, against the tide of events, Asim Kiani played a counter attacking innings. Challenging all the Blacks bowlers whenever they over pitched or dropped short. From powerful slog sweeps to front foot pulls, he unleashed his array of strokes to cart the bowling around. He was extremely unfortunate to get out on 99 off 60 balls. He also was unfortunate to experience the wrath of all the Wombats fielders when he challenged Nael and gave him some ‘lip’. As if a barrage of sixes wasn’t enough, the fielders unleashed a barrage of sledges, particularly the younger Wombats. All in good fun, of course. But the spirit and style with which Wombats Blacks plays their cricket is a pleasure to watch and experience, even if you are the opposition. As Asim kept losing partners at the other end with attritional wickets, SCB made it to 216 all out. Blacks winning by 76 runs. Adeel Safvi picking up 3 wickets and was on a hatrick when a stumping went amiss whilst Nael bowled a commendable spell of snaking swing bowling picking up a couple of wickets.
I love a good storm, and I enjoyed watching it from the comfort of the boundary and first slip, as did the crow, who got a more aerial perspective. What a game and a tremendous privilege to watch the kind of brilliant talent we have in this year’s DSL.