SACC welcomed Madid to the Woodbridge Oval in the return match just a month after SACC's win in the capital. Madrid came looking for parity and SACC looking to get their league challenge back on track after losing a close one last week.
Things did not go to plan with the toss which was lost and SACC were inserted to set a total. Brown and J. Perman started things off and after a maiden 1st over, looked to start the task against Awan, being much more expensive than his opening partner Hossain. And Hossain it was who got the initial breakthrough, last ball of the 5th over when Brown missed a straight one and was bowled for 14.
Returning Legend Laundon joined Perman at the crease and together they upped the ante, putting on 46 for the second wicket, including a beautiful 6 from Perman that had the scorers running for cover! However, the partnership was broken when Madrid's skipper Perumalsamy had Perman (33) caught by Reddy, a great catch running in and diving forward low down.
Laundon (36) was next to go when Bancroft, in his 1st over, got his trick to come off and Babu took the catch right on the boundary and Alfas were 104/3 off 21. Harvey joined Abdul at the crease but carrying a few injuries, he was not able to stamp his mark on the match and was bowled by Babu for 4. 9 runs later and Abdul (21) was gone, Bancroft getting another, Stirton taking the catch this time and 2 runs later, Waqar was gone, bowled by Perumalsamy for 4. From 104/3 to 121/6.
Byrne and Evans steadied the ship a little, both batsmen pushing and prodding the ball to rotate the strike as best they could and keep the scoreboard turning over. However, looking for a 2nd, Evans was not able to make his ground as Sharma got the ball into the 'keeper well and another wicket fell. Ahmad joined Byrne at the crease for an over, 4 runs and another catch, leaving Alfas in danger of not seeing out their overs and looking short of at least 175 for another bonus point.
Byrne was next to go, chasing a wider one from Hossain and edging to Sangupta behind the sticks. Perman and Roper did manage to get the total over the 175 at the end, before Roper, getting hungry, did not wait to see where the last ball of the innings went off Perman´s bat and set off running for sandwiches, Hossain taking the bails off to give Madrid all 10 wickets.
After tea, Alfas knew they had to be on their game with the big hitting Madrid batsmen taking the field. A steady but slow start from Madrid's openers saw them 33/0 off 10 overs, well behind the run rate but no wickets down.
Then, in the 12th over, Alfas struck. Stirton gave Ahmad his first wicket picking out Harvey, who did not judge the ball at all and in the end, used all his height to fall over and take the catch low. Then, in the same over, Abdul took a stunning 1 handed catch as Sharma looked to blast the ball flat through the duck pond, how he took the catch nobody knew but Alfas had broken through.
Sengupta joined Awan at the crease until Brown's second over which saw the end of Awan. Swinging hard at one, he edged it high behind which Byrne was only able to palm up at full stretch above his head. The ball fell right into the waiting hands of Laundon at slip and Awan was on his way for 16. Madrid 47/3
Sengupta and Bancroft then put on 15 before Harvey got his trademark legside nick and Byrne was able to take the catch diving away down to his left to see the end of Sengupta for 14. Reddy came in and went on the offensive straight away getting a huge 6 to get off the mark, one that bounced out of the ground and into a neighbouring apartment.
Reddy added 30 to the score before the next wicket fell, Bancoft edging Brown behind for a regulation caught behind for 1. That brought Hossain to the crease and Alfas had cause to stop and think with Reddy going so well at one end and Hossain coming in at the other, anything could now happen. However, as it did in the match in Madrid, the introduction of J. Perman got a vital breakthrough and, as in Madrid, it was Hossain who was the victim, plumb LBW for 7 and Alfas sensed victory coming. Nelson striking, 111/6 off 26.
8 Runs later and Reddy's swashbuckling innings finally came to an end. Ashraf bowing that ever elusive straight ball and castling Reddy, 119/7.
Babu and Sarjil Hossain put on another 20 runs to make matters interesting but, sensing their nerves running between the wicket, Waqar and Byrne combined to get one of their textbook run outs, Byrne letting the ball through his legs off Perman's bowling only for Waqar to be on it in a flash and throw back to Byrne to see off Sarjil Hossain for 9. That was the end of the scoring for Madrid as Babu picked out Ahmad in the next over and then in the 32nd, Roper needed only 1 ball to wrap up the innings, Mzlik picking out hobbling Harvey who, again, only just managed to take the simplest of catches!
An entertaining game of cricket, ebbing and flowing from start to finish and in the end, 18 points for Alfas to get them back on track and 7 for Madrid.