Levante took their first team to the Madrid capital for a weekend double header and it was the hosts that drew first blood with a 48 run victory.
Batting first the home side posted a total of 210 all out with opener Sonu Singh top scoring with 32. Iain Griffiths, Jon Woodward and Sunil also added scores in the twenties whilst Bruno Nunges took four for 29 and Jaggi Singh took two wickets for 30 runs for the visitors.
In response Levante battled hard but lost wickets at crucial times and were finally all out for 162 in the 40th over. Whilst opener Bhavin Khakkad was at the crease the visitors had a fighting chance of victory but when he was bowled for 96 the game was effectively over. Shahid Awan polished off the innings and ended with match figures of 4-57.
Madrid CC (18 points) beat Levante (7 points) by 48 runs.
Match Report from Madrid CC
All-Round Madrid overcome Valencia
Madrid 1st XI secured their first league win of the season and in history at the Haras Polo Club, as they beat a determined Levante side by 48 runs. Shahid Awan especially shone with the ball, taking 4-37 in a superbly disciplined bowling display.
The team news for Madrid at the start of the day was more than encouraging to say the least. Adam Langhans returned to the side from a severe back issue. The Australian “spinning all-rounder” had gone through a strict rehabilitation programme that had seen him visit the best chiropractor in Madrid, as well as local oxygen tanks to speed up his recovery.
The cause of the injury is as of yet unknown although, insiders can reveal that it was not due to Langhans “carrying the bowling attack”. Ian Griffiths was also in the side, before he heads off to Kazakhstan as part of his commercial agreement with a local tourist board. Abdul Hakeem was also available for his first game of the league season to bolster Madrid’s bowling forces.
Madrid had also elected a new captain in Richard Wilson. The main worry about the 24-year-old going on 35-year-old is his ever-receding hairline, but the club are sure that will disappear quickly.
With burgers ready for a post-match BBQ and appropriate BBQ weather, Levante skipper Graham Hunt won the toss and opted to field first.
Adam Langhans and Sonu Sagar Daniel opened up for the Madrid side as they faced up to Bruno and Murphy running in. The two gave Madrid a solid start if unspectacular start, before Langhans was bowled by Bruno for 11 with the score on 19. Early wickets had been a constant trend for Madrid so far this season, so the home side were conscious of taking their time and setting a platform.
Ian Griffiths joined Sonu Sagar Daniel at the crease and two set about building a base. The two put on a 54 run partnership, before Sonu Sagar Daniel was dismissed for 32 in the 20th over. He was particularly impressive hitting strong shots over both the off and leg-side. His time came to an end as he was caught in the deep as Jaggi took his first wicket of the day. Solanki quickly settled and looked in good touch, striking two shots through the offside to the boundary, but departed soon after for 11 off the bowling of Jaggi again, as Levante continued to keep Madrid in check.
Club president Jon Woodward was in at 5 and he continued his promising form smashing 29 in no time that included a huge six over the leg side. However, his innings too was cut short with the score on 121, as he departed following a mix-up with Griffiths, following sharp fielding from the away team. It would prove to be the story of the Madrid innings as batsmen continued to reach double figures, but failed to push on and make a defining score.
Despite this, contributions from Apul Kala (19), Wilson (17) and an incredibly handy 27* from Sunil Balani pushed Madrid up past the psychological 200 barrier and up to 210 to set Levante 211 to win. Balani’s runs were especially crucial as he found the boundary a few times and rotated the strike well with the last remaining batsmen to scramble Madrid up to the confidence-boosting target.
The pick of the bowlers for Levante was left arm seamer, Bruno. Bruno collected figures of 4 for 29 from 7.2 overs. Cutters and changing his angle helped him on his way to the 4 wickets, whilst building pressure. Jaggi chipped in with 2 wickets for the outfit from Valencia.
210 to date, represented the highest score Madrid 1st XI had posted on the ground and what they felt was a competitive if not par total. Levante would have felt confident too after chasing an astronomical 370 against Madrid last year on their home patch.
A tight start and intensity in the field were what Madrid required to win this game and that’s exactly what they got. Abdul Hakeem and Irshad Khan came off the long run first up, bowling immaculate lines and gave the opening Eaton and Kakkad a thorough test of their skills. To the openers credit, they survived these testing 10 overs, by leaving well and using good old-fashioned defence. However, with only 18 runs on the board, the home side felt as though the momentum was with them.
The momentum definitely was with them following Shahid Awan’s first spell of 3-22. In combination with Sunil Balani, Levante stumbled from 18-0 to 40-4. Awan accounted for the wickets accounting for Eaton, Hunt and Little as he started to shape the ball bringing Kala and Solanki into play behind the wicket, with a catch a piece respectively. Balani’s tight bowling turned the screw for Madrid, allowing Awan to attack, but not before he himself picked up a scalp. Despite, the pressure from Madrid’s bowlers early in the innings, Kakkad was still at the crease, leaving the ball well, pouncing quickly on anything short square of the wicket and picking the gaps well for ones and twos, edging Levante step by step into a position to launch an attack.
Madrid though had other plans as they continued to take wickets. Griffiths with figures of 2-49 and Hakeem with a wicket and match bowling of 1-30 accounted for Burchell, Murphy and Tivey. Partnerships of 44, 19 and 26 had kept Levante in the game and with Kakkad batting the way he was, Levante still had hope they could salvage something from the game such was the depth of their batting line up. Irshad Khan got the wicket he fully deserved such was his display with the ball and a run out almost put the game out of sight for Levante, but still Kakkad remained as he moved into the 90s. His wicket was illusive until he finally perished for 96, deserving a hundred as Awan finished the game off.
So 1 nil to Madrid, with a second match to come on the Sunday, could Levante gain a share of the spoils or could Madrid make it a clean sweep?