Madrid Cricket Club – 08/03/2008 – Match Report
Zubin’s Zephyrs 105-5 (14.5 overs) bt Rashid’s Rumblers 103-5 (15 overs) by 1 wicket.
The weekend’s game between Zubin’s Zephyrs and Rashid’s Rumbler’s was a nail-biting thriller. Rashid’s Rumblers batted first with openers Ashraf and Kala facing pace bowler Alvi and left-spinner Akmal. After some early solid batting, Kala started to show some nerves and after a few tentative strokes was beaten by Alvi, losing his middle stump in the process.
Captain Masih joined Ashraf at the crease and the two progressed with ease for a couple of overs until some poor calling resulted in Ashraf taking a very tight single and being harshly called out at the bowler’s end.
Ul Haq then joined Masih at the crease and together they shared a 30 run partnership, picking off the tight bowling of Woodward and Stirton at about a run a ball. The partnership ended when Masih (16) was again involved in another run out, but this time with himself as the victim.
Ul Haq then retired and Lunn and Healey picked up the pace, adding 25 runs to the total against the bowling attack of Woodward and Cooper, before Healey retired having unluckily pulled his hamstring running a quick single, and Lunn followed soon after, playing on to his wicket with an inside edge against the bowling of Akmal.
Bancroft then added a couple of runs before being bowled by Alvi at the start of his second spell. Ul Haq returned to the crease and batted out the innings with Spanish local Herrero, adding 10 runs to the total off the final over. Herrero finished not out on 6 runs, Ul Haq top scoring for the Rumblers on 26 not out. Pick of the bowlers for the Zephyrs were Alvi (2-21) and Akmal (1-14).
In reply, Zephyr’s captain Cooper showed great vision in mixing up the batting order. Openers Stirton and Doust impressed early on against some wayward bowling from opening bowlers Lunn and Bancroft before a mix up led to Doust being run out. Woodward came on and showed some impressive stroke play and threatening to open the floodgates but departed making little impact to a spectacular caught and bowled by Bancroft.
Stirton and Alvi batted steadily through the middle part of the match without being troubled until Stirton lost some of his earlier confidence facing second string bowler Kala, who varied pace and length very effectively and eventually removed Stirton leg before, with a well delivered leg break. Akmal then joined Alvi and together they increased the run rate, with Akmal retaining the majority of the strike throughout the partnership, until a breakdown in communication resulted in the run out of Alvi and brought captain Cooper into the game.
Cooper and Akmal enjoyed a tempestuous relationship at the crease, with tempers flaring on occasion as Cooper tried to keep Akmal’s run calling under control. Masih tried mixing up the bowling to try to take the vital wicket, bringing on Ashraf and Ul Haq, but Cooper and Akmal hit them around the ground at a rate of nine runs per over bringing the Zephyrs back within sight of the Rumblers’ total.
Herrero and Masah stemmed the tide slightly with very economical bowling, but the damage was done and Cooper and Akmal (36 not out) batted through magnificently to the end, albeit with some amount of fortune as Akmal was almost caught out by Bancroft just behind square and was very nearly run out late on.
The final runs were hit with one ball to spare marking a fantastic and nail biting victory for club vice-captain Zubin Cooper.
Man of the match award goes to Joss Bancroft for his fantastic bowling and fielding efforts, with a close runners-up mention for Muhammad Akmal, whose batting and bowling were top quality but whose running and calling caused some problems for the Zephyrs.