Sporting Alfas Cricket Club Sporting Alfas 2nd X1 253 for 8 beat Madrid 2nd X1 251 for 5
Round 2 of the double header weekend and Alfas had a few new faces in their team for the second clash against Madrid. Madrid of course were unchanged, Rao playing despite needing 3 stitches in his hand the day before.
The day started differently straight away as Alfas won the toss this time and as is par for the course, decided to bowl first to see what sort of a target they could restrict Madrid to and see if they could chase it down.
With both openers from the day before not playing, K. Perman and Abdul took on the duties. Like the day before, scoring in the opening overs was slow going and Abdul, in his first over, got some incredible swing to totally deceive Bancroft who left the delivery only to see his off stump flying. However, that wicket brought the steadfast Stirton to the crease to join Healey and together they set about dominating the Alfas attack.
Both batsmen used their lives to good effect, Healey being put down just before drinks and Stirton picking out the same fielder twice in one over only to see both chances dropped and between them, the two batsmen mounted a 100 partnership. Waqer eventually managed to break the partnership and got Stirton held finally. Madrid however had taken a liking to the bowling now and with Healey continuing on at one end, K. Balu gave him ample support and another big partnership was formed of 94 before the introduction of Marriner saw Balu caught in the deep at cow corner by Chris Cooper , a great catch considering how low he actually took it and how high he starts out! A great result for the fans of alliteration (Ct @ C. C by C. C!)
The partnerships were not done there tough, as Alfas chief tormentor from the day before, Sangupta, came in and with Healey, put on another 52 before Healey finally fell 2 runs after his ton, picking out a very angry Shaz on the boundary who showed the fielders how to take a catch after so many were dropped off his own bowling. However, as that was the second last ball of the game, the damage had well and truly been done, even with Marriner getting Sangupta stumped off the very next and last ball of the game, Madrid had posted a daunting 251/5.
During the tea break, the exhausted and deflated Alfas leadership, the Brain trust if you will, had a think about how to approach the second innings. With the draw a fall back option and the elder players debating the use of Skysports WASP system, constantly asking about the WASP system, the decision was made to see how good a start we could get and Shaz was asked to open with Abdul moving up from number 3 to get the ball rolling.
The plan worked flawlessly for the first 9 overs, the Alfas openers bucking the trend of the last 3 innings between the two teams and setting the scoreboard alight during that time. However, Bancroft’s second over saw Abdul get a little too excited and for the second time this weekend was stumped. However, with K. Perman coming in off a great knock yesterday, the score kept ticking along, well not ticking but rampaging! Between Shaz and Perman, the Alfas added 115, the team’s highest partnership this year, for the 2nd wicket.
Shaz eventually fell in the 22nd over, bowled by the dangerous Babu. Mc, pushed down to 4, in what turned out to be an inspired decision, added a quick 14 with Perman, using all his expertise for quick singles but was eventually done by Babu again, just like the day before, this time bowled. 191/3 in the 24th over and Alfas felt the game was theirs.
However, as happens in Cricket, things were not so clear cut! Just 14 runs later, Perman, trying for yet another boundary, picked out Hossain in the deep and his entertaining and vital innings came to an end on 64. 205/4, Alfas still had the wickets and time to knock off the remaining 47 runs. Jack Perman went in and scored off his first 5 balls to keep the scoreboard ticking while Marriner played a more cautious innings at the other end, feeling his way back in after a few weeks without an innings. Jack Perman then fell for 7, Marriner fell for 6, Byrne for 10 and Waqer for 2, 4 quick wickets for Madrid and the game was well and truly in the balance, opening bowler Hossain coming back and being virtually unplayable, 5 runs, 2 wickets in his last 4 overs put the cat back among the pigeons. With Balu taking 2 of the wickets to fall as well, Madrid had danger bowlers at both ends
However, the Alfas had a final pair of aces up their sleeves in the timeless pairing of Nix and Cooper. When they came together, Alfas still needed 20 off the remaining 5 overs but with Cooper cutting a couple of 4’s, Nix hitting one of his own and then, taking one for the team, the two legends ran a 3, it was left to an exhausted Babu to bowl a no ball (Nix edging to the ‘keeper to keep the drama level intact) and then Nix and Cooper scampered through on a wide to win the game for the Alfas, albeit in a slightly disjointed anticlimactic fashion.
Great thanks extended to Madrid for two riveting and immensely diverse games of cricket, spoils were shared generally, Madrid just edging the weekend by 3 bonus points. However, the Alfas team took great encouragement in chasing down such a daunting target and look forward to the visit of Torrevieja next week.
Alfas MOM – Shazad Mohammad for a game changing 79 at the top of the order
Sporting Alfas Cricket Club