Feb 21 2014, the Sevens, Dubai
The day that every wombatian had been waiting for arrived. Two matches to be played simultaneously, on adjacent grounds at the Sevens. What had seemed like a dream six months back was turning into a reality – 22 wombatians taking to the field to test their prowess against two different teams. Wombats Green, led by Haroon Ghaus were playing Booz & Co. in the first match of the inaugural edition of the Dubai Super League while Wombats Yellow, under the captaincy of Omar Hayat were taking on ABB in a friendly.
Omar Hayat won the toss and the Wombats Yellow decided to bat first. Openers Usman Alam and Naeem Abbas strode out to the centre with a mission in mind – score as many as possible in the power play overs. They began cautiously taking 6 runs of the first over bowled by Binoj. In the second over of the innings bowled by Khurram, they took the attack to the opposition with some aggressive running between the wickets and a well stroked shot to the long on boundary. Eleven came of that over. Binoj struck in his second over getting the ball to swing and knocking off Naeem ‘s off stump. Ammad Jami walked in wit the score reading 22/1. Usman Alam continued to attack the bowlers and hit four 4’s in his 20 ball stay at the crease before being caught by Aman off the bowling of Kuldeep for a quick fire 27 runs. With the score at 52/2 in 7.2 overs, the Captain Omar Hayat walked into the middle. Ammad and Omar ran aggressively putting pressure on the ABB fielders. In a partnership spanning 41 balls, the duo put on 46 runs which included three 4’s including a pull shot by Ammad to mid wicket for 4. Ammad fell lbw to Salman after compiling a patient 30 runs off 34 balls. Omar, who had been reaching for the ball in the early part of his innings began to middle the ball and find his timing. Shariq S. had a short stay at the crease and was bowled by Salman for 5; the score reading 112/4 in 14.1 overs. With 11 overs to go, the Wombats team looked to be heading towards a score of 200 plus. Ali shah, the stylish right handed batsman, joined his skipper in the middle and both started to try and stamp their authority over the opposition. They put together 34 runs in 20 balls before Salman claimed his third wicket of the match, getting the prized scalp of Omar Hayat, who had scored 41 at a run-a-ball. The bespectacled Umer Chugtai joined Ali Shah at the crease and in a space of 12 balls they had put on 21 runs by running aggressively between the wickets. Ali Shah was bowled by Binoj for 23 runs off 19 balls, an innings which included four 2’s and two 4’s. With 14 balls remaining in the innings and the score reading 167/6, it seemed that ABB would be able to restrict Wombats to a score of under 190. The new batsman Mohammed Masood had other plans and smashed 2 huge sixes over long on in his 9-ball 20 runs innings and took the score to 189/7 with 3 balls remaining in the innings. Usman Khalid made 2 runs off 2 balls while Umer Chugtai, with his quick sprints between the wickets, remained unbeaten on 12 off 9 balls. The Wombats had scored 192/7 in their allotted 25 overs. Salman from ABB was the pick of their bowlers with match figures of 3 wickets for 29 runs off 5 overs.
The ABB team had been set a target of 193 runs @ 7.7 rpo. Naeem Abbas took the new ball and struck with the first ball of the innings, yorking ABB’s opening bat Ishant. He struck again in the fourth ball of the same over, catching the other opener Aman on the crease, to leave ABB tottering at ½. Rajesh and Syed from ABB tried to get a partnership going and put together 13 runs for the third wicket before the real Naqi Shah struck in his second over cleaning up the wicket of Rajesh. At the end of 6 overs, the ABB score read 35/3 with Syed trying to launch a counter-attack together with new batsman Binoj. The duo stitched together a partnership of 45 runs of 36 balls before Shariq S. struck in his second over to remove Binoj. Shariq got the ball to rear off a good length and take the edge of Binoj’s bat and Omar Hayat jumped up to take a one handed catch. Salman was the next man out, caught by Ammad Jami off Masood’s bowling, leaving ABB innings in shambles at 65/5 in 11 overs. New batsman Nidhin joined hands with Syed and steadied the ABB innings, putting together a partnership of 39 runs in 30 balls. They took 19 runs off the next 2 overs forcing Omar to introduce leg spin of Umer Chugtai and military medium bowling of Krish (who was returning to active cricket after a injury lay-off of nearly 6 months). The next 16 balls cost 19 runs before Umer Chugtai got Nidhin to play an audacious stroke which seemed to be headed for a six towards the long on boundary before Ali Shah took a well judged catch with his feet inches from the boundary ropes. Umer Chugtai lured the new batsman Kuldeep outside his crease and Omar Hayat completed a stumping to reduce the ABB team to 105/7. Umer Chugtai had taken 2 wickets off 2 balls and was on the verge of taking a hat-trick. Rohit joined Syed in the middle and the two put on 11 runs for the eighth wicket, including a four creamed over covers off the bowling off Krish. Umer Chugtai dint get his hat-trick as the first ball of his next over was taken for a single. He struck again with the fifth ball of the over. Rohit lofted a shot over mid on and Ali Shah ran in from Long on to take a diving catch. The ABB innings was nearing its end and the score read 116/8. Krish, bowling his third over, got a ball to pitch on middle stump and cut in sharply hitting the base of leg stump and off the fourth ball of the over he claimed his second wicket getting the batsman to play uppishly and Umer Chugtai took a blinder diving to his left to end the ABB innings at 117 runs. The Wombats Yellow team won comprehensively by 75 runs.
A complete team effort with the batsmen putting up the runs on the board, the bowlers striking from the start backed up by excellent fielding. The victory was sweetened further with the news of the Wombats Green having won their match against Booz & Co. with more than 5 overs to spare.