CATALAN DOUBLE AS ALI AND CATALUYNA WIN
Cataluyna edged a nailbiter with La Manga and Ali had a free ride as Cordoba failed to appear to ensure a great day for the two Catalan teams. The two Catalan teams will find their fate tommorrow after Valencia Green have played Madrid. The two teams with the most points will go forward to the final, and the next best two teams will participate in the 3rd-4th play off final. Currently, Ali and Cataluyna are tied on 17 points, next come La manga with 6, and Cordoba are bottom with -10 points.
Many thanks to Ron Graham for the report on the La Manga v Cataluyna game below …
La Manga won toss and elected to bat – possibly because the 5 players from Costa Almeria had not yet arrived! It was damp underfoot and overhead and Catalunyas opening bowlers Aftab and Armghan Khan took full advantage of conditions and together with Asif and Zain restricted La Manga to 25 for 1 after the 13 over powerplay. Sajid, Farhat and Munib (20) lifted the scoring rate after Tom Vine, batting out of his comfort zone at 3, was dismissed. Neil Brook soon followed having weathered the early storm with the new ball. Overs 21 to 32 produced only 30 runs and with 10 overs to go of the 45 La Manga were 105 for 7. Sensible batting from Graham Parker (17) and Farhat was mainly responsible for the La Manga total of 143 all out in the 45th over. Extras was the highest scorer with 37.
Catalunya’s opening pair, Armghan Khan and Shafique Ali started cautiously against the formidable new ball attack of Tanweer and Talat. Conditions were still cold and damp and a light drizzle began to fall.. Shafique was first to go playing across a straight ball from Talat with the score at 35 off 8 overs. Talat trapped Armghan Khan LBW in the very next over. Tanweer struck in the final over of his first spell leaving Catalunya 50 for 3 after the powerplay. Scoring was difficult against accurate La Manga bowling. Wickets fell in the 16th, 17th 24th and 26th overs and, after 26 overs, Catalunya were 86 for 5 – exactly the same situation as La Manga had been in earlier.
The next 8 overs produced 30 runs for the loss of only one wicket. With 10 overs remaining Catalunya were 118 for 7 needing 26 runs to win with the redoubtable Nisar still at the crease and marshalling the lower order. Another wicket fell on 118, Catalunya 118 for 8 with La Manga looking favourites to win. The 37th over produced 13 vital runs as Nisar punished Munib. Tanweer was brought back into the attack in the 38th over and with his 3rd ball he bowled the dangerous NisarCatalunya 132 for 9 with 10 and Jack, Raj and Imran, at the wicket still needing 12 runs to win. This pair rode their luck and scrambled singles and survived Tanweer’s last over of his allotted 9.
After 41 overs with 5 runs still required and the one wicket remaining Tanweer (2wkts), Talat (2 wkts), Sajid (3 wkts), and Farhat (2 wkts) had all bowled out leaving captain George Wambeek with the dilemma of who to bowl. He shouldered the responsibility himself and served up a juicy full toss to Raj who dispatched to the cover boundary for 4 – scores tied. Two balls later Raj lofted the ball over mid on for the winning single amongst much jubilation at the boundary edge.
What a game; what an unexpected win for Catalunya who looked down and out at 118 for 8. This game was played in a competitive spirit which threatened to boil over on occasions but never did. The two captains played an exemplary role in maintaining the Spirit of Cricket and, in a way, it was a pity that one side had to lose.
CATALUNYA 17 points LA MANGA 6 points
In the other planned semi final playoff Cordoba failed to turn up. Ali CC, who had travelled down from Barcelona to play, pick up 17 points.
ALI CC 17 points CORDOBA -10 points