Alicante Stars, unbeaten so far this year, arrived bright and early for their match against current league leaders Alfas in the latest match of Division 2, so early in fact, they had a 2 hour wait before play commenced as they believed the game to be an 11:00 start, despite numerous mails being sent to confirm it was 13:00!
The toss was undertaken and the co-captains of Alicante Stars won the toss and elected to bat first and Usman and Lali got us underway.
A great start for Alfas was achieved when, in the 4th over, Lali tried to hook one for 4 off Perman, but only found Redhead at squareleg and had to depart. His opening partner did not fare much better, chasing a leg wide from Perman in his next over and nicking through to the keeper. Perman with 2 in 3 overs.
2 became 3 in the next over as Ismail dabbed one to squareleg and Hassain was off like a rocket from the non-striker's end, ignoring the fact that Ismail was not moving and Redhead returned the ball to the bowler Abdul who calmly dismissed the returning Hassian.
Alfas having the early advantage but Naveed came in with intent and smashed, edged, survived and walloped his way to 50 to wrestle some control back for the Stars. It all could have been so different when on 4 he hit one back to the bolwer who misjudged the speed it was coming at and put the chance down. Another giant shot was just missed by Muddy who lost it in the swirling air. All the while, Ismail was standing firm at the other end, happy to play the foil to Naveed's cannon bat.
Drinks arrived with both batsmen still in and allowed the Alfas Brain Trust to have a calm look at the situation and come up with a plan. Switching Walker and Ahmed to the opposite ends worked a treat as Walker was finally able to pick up the dangerous Naveed whose innings ended on 73 when he sent another up into the clear blue sky but this time, straight to Muddy who can take them when he does not have to move for them!
With the fall of the dangerman, Alfas had an added spring in their step and in the same over, Walker was able to get rid of Ismail as well, Redhead with another catch to bring two fresh batsmen to the crease.
To greet the new men, Alfas made another change and brough on debutant Redhead for a bowl and his 1st delivery did not disappoint, clean bowling the Alicante Stars co-captain 1st ball. The over got even better with the last delivery as Sukha gave a sharp edge, Byrne parried the ball into the waiting elbow joint of 1st Slip and Evans held on!
Ahsan and Mohsin showed some intelligent running between the wickets and managed to get Alicante Stars over the 150 mark for another batting point before, after another slice of inspiration, Abdul was moved back to cow corner and Ahsan picked him out perfectly.
Last man Raza joined Mohsin but the innings came to an end as Mohsin, trying to keep the runs flowing, skied one straight to Alfas' skipper and the innings closed on 159.
In reply, M. Perman was joined by Abdul to start the chase and both went along fine for the 1st 9 overs, scoring at just over 3 an over, not needing to push as there was plenty of time.
Abdul however was first to go, the change of bowling from Alicante, bringing on a slower bowler got the breakthrough as Abdul slapped one straight to point. 39/1
Muddy joined the skipper and together they put on another 39 before another wicket fell with another change of bowling! As Qamar came in to be bowler 7, his first delivery confounded the skipper and Perman could only pop one up for the keeper to take with ease. 78/2.
However, that was as good as it got for Alicante Stars as Waqer joined Muddy at the crease and the batsmen were able to see Alfas over the line at the end of the 30th over, Muddy sailing through to his 50 in that time, including two big 6's and Waqar remaining on a serene 31.
20 points for Alfas and 4 for Alicante Stars who will be back at the Woodbrige Oval in just under a month for the rematch