3rd September, 2017 was the final frontier for VCC team two, which had fought hard to qualify for the next league. We were playing a team who had beaten us previously even though we were the favourites.
Ahsaan was tasked to lead team by winning toss and electing to bat. Our opening pair started steadily but both Harold (8) and Nick (17) got out in the first eight overs. Rashid (5) and Atif (4) looked promising but perished soon. Ashish (1) and Sonu (0) high on intent got out cheaply. The man who stood and watched all this carnage at the other end was Ahsan. He soon found an able partner in Welshman (Aled ) to steady the innings. Both put on a valuable partnership till Ashaan (35) got out. Aled went about his business smashing fours, running hard and screaming loud. He found able partners in Farooq (13), Atif (28) and Faisal (3). At some point, we all thought 150 was defendable but our number 9, 10 and 11 had more ambitious goals. We finished with a total of 213/ 9 and Aled got his first 50 for VCC. Bravo Aled !
The mood was fairy upbeat during the lunch break. One man (Ahsan) was busy plotting oppositions downfall with bowling changes.
Faisal’s first over showed the wicket had a good bounce and swing if one pitched the bowl in the right areas. Ashish bowled the second change from the baseball end. Lacking in confidence for not playing few games, accumulating extra weight due to holiday and pressure from the captain to open. He started nervously and managed get his first break in the third bowl with an out swinger and then breaking the furniture in the fourth bowl. Mr Dependable Faisal went about throwing his curved balls and getting the third wicket. This was all but shocking to our friends in Concordia. Speed Gun Sonu (1) and Atif (2) took over bowling with same aggression and got three wickets between them. Concordia were 120 / 7 and almost heading for a collapse.
The victory and a glass of pint looked at arms length.
History can be brutal and annoyingly true when it comes to cricket. A man wearing Obelix t-shirt (Patel) stood like a rock of Gibraltar and batted patiently to steady Concordia’s innings. We had few bowling changes to break the monotony with Farooq and Nick as third pair. The Obelix t-shirt man went about his business growing in confidence getting his fifty along with his partner in yellow helmet playing defensively (Sumedh).
Ahsan looked calm from outside but anxious from inside, made swift bowling changes to bring Faisal and Ashish. The Sun had been blazing and taken a toll on all. We needed one wicket to get our energy levels back. Harold did the magic by grabbing a tough catch in his calm demure. Bravo Harold! The Obelix T- shirt was looking tired but firmly batting on 80. It was a patience game, more like pack of wolves tiring the beast and chipping away his smaller partners. The chase ended with an out-swing bowl edging the bat of the beast and flying into the hands of Aled, his sixth catch of the day.
We all knew it was his day all the way with a spirited batting performance (52) and goal keeping skills behind the wicket (6 catches). Ashish mopped up five wickets which was his first fiver for VCC. Well done to Ahsan and the team which fought hard for a sweet victory and well deserved PINT.
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