Mar 1 2014, the Sevens, Dubai
On a pleasant afternoon, the Wombats took on the Standard Chartered Bank Cricket Team (SCB) at the Sevens ground, Dubai. This would be the second game of the weekend for the wombats, having played the day before against the Seven Seas Cricket Team. The wombats were keen to revive the winning streak after having lost the previous game.
Wombats elected to bat first and in went a new opening combination of wicket keeper batsman Ali Bajwa and veteran opener Sherry. The openers began cautiously, choosing to start at a sedate pace and focusing on building a solid platform from which the middle order could propel towards a match winning score. The SCB bowlers bowled a decent length, not allowing the wombats openers to free their arms and score freely, testimony to which was the fact that there was only one boundary scored in the first 5 overs of the innings. Tragedy struck on the first ball of the 6th over when Bajwa was run out at the bowling end while trying to complete a second run. Omar Hayat walked in at the fall of the wicket and together with Sherry put on a partnership of 7 runs including a shot to the boundary by Sherry. Sherry got out caught off the bowling of Munaj Hussain while trying to increase the tempo of the innings. The score read 33/2 and in walked the Wombats captain Haroon Ghaus. The new pair played the following 2 overs cautiously, taking their time to get their eye in before starting to cut loose. In a partnership spanning 10 overs, the duo put together 64 runs which included 4x4s, 2x3s and 37x1s. The batsmen seemed to have settled against the bowling of SCB’s bowlers Syed Anwar and Syed Ali prompting their captain to introduce Nauman Ghauffar as new bowler. This yielded immediate results with Nauman bowling Omar Hayat in his second over thereby ending a partnership which seemed to be assuming threatening proportions. Munad joined Haroon in the middle and the duo put on 11 runs taking the score to 108 /3 before Nauman struck again getting Haroon caught out for a run a ball 28. Muqtader and Munad began aggressively, sneaking quick singles and running hard threes before Muqtader offered a return catch to Nauman, the score reading 122/5. Nauman had picked up 3 wickets in 3 overs conceding 18 runs. SCB seemed to be getting back a hold on the match when Umer chugtai walked in to join Munad. The pair ran aggressively and put on 25 runs in 20 balls before Umer C was run out trying to make ground going for a quick single. Munad hit a huge six in the 25th over and with quick running between the wickets took 14 runs in the last over of the innings taking the wombats innings to a respectable total of 162/6. Munad’s hitting spoilt the bowling figures of Nauman who finished with figures of 3 for 36 off 5 overs.
Chasing 163 runs to win off 25 overs, the SCB team got off to a shaky start with SHariq Sayani striking in his first over getting the opener Syed Anwar to edge the ball to the wicket keeper. The batting pair of Haroon Zafar and Khurram Saleem tried to force the pace of the innings and struck three 4s before the bowler – keeper combination of Shariq – Omar Hayat struck again , leaving the SCB team at 25 / 2 off 4 overs. Haroon Zafar seemed to be playing the role of the anchor while the other SCB batsmen built their innings around him. Rao Sarfraz and Haroon put on a partnership of 36 runs in 16 balls. Of these 36 runs, extras constituted 12 runs. The Wombats bowlers seemed to be loosing their control on line and length. With 102 runs required off 18 overs, the Wombats skipper turned to spin bowlers and brought Umer C and himself on. This seemed to backfire as Umer C went for 23 runs and Haroon conceded 10 runs in their first two overs respectively. Haroon Ghaus was however successful in getting Haroon Zafar out caught by Sherry and the SCB score read 97/4 off 10 overs, with 66 runs required of 90 balls with 6 wickets in hand. The SCB wicketkeeper Lak joined Sheeraz at the crease and the duo put on a run a ball partnership of 33 runs for the 5th wicket before Haroon Ghaus claimed the wicket of Sheeraz , caught behind by Omar Hayat. New batsman Syed Ali and Lak put together 23 runs for the 6th wicket before Hammad , who had been brought back into the attack struck , claiming Lak’s wicket. With victory in sight, the SCB team received another jolt when Hammad struck again to claim the wicket of Munaj. SCB’s Syed Ali and Shabbir held their nerves and scored the runs required to win a hard fought match for SCB.
A tight match which would have seen the Wombats win had they not conceded 41 extras which included 34 wides.