Buchholz, 4 September 2016, Pickwick T20 Cup Semi-Final
Nomads Cricket Club, 115 all out in 19.2 overs (Waqas 21, Massoud 3-13), beat Geneva Cricket Club, 83 all out in 17.3 overs (Anser 24, Faheem 3-2), by 32 runs
High stakes for Geneva CC as they could have gotten into their first major final since 2014! It was overall a great season for the Genevan club. Too bad that it ended with a bitter loss which could have been avoided. Again and again, Geneva’s batting lineup did not hold up and did not manage to chase successfully a rather easy total. Nonetheless, this does not take away the hosts’ impeccable performance in terms of bowling. As expected, Nomads were outstanding with the ball and excellent on the field too. For spectators and players, it was a thrilling semi-final!
A sky leaden with overcast and mild temperatures provided decent conditions for cricket. Nomads won the toss and decided to bat, confident that their renowned bowling attack would wipe out the opponent in due time. It then all started very bad for the visitors: in just 5 overs, 57 runs were conceded by the opening pair of Afif and Idrees, as well as Ronak in the fifth over. Two wickets were put down though. Ball-magnet Saad caught Faheem’s hit at long off and Ronak bowled a killing full length inswinger to dismiss Waqas.
The next 15 overs proved to be a totally different innings though. Indeed, the run rate for the first five overs was at 11.40, while it was at 4.05 in the last 15 spells! To put it into a different perspective, just 58 runs were scored after 5 overs… Nomads were all out at 115 with 4 balls remaining, thanks to an amazing comeback from Ronak and Afif, as well as some precise bowling by Anser and Khurram (and a pretty cool direct hit from short third man by Idrees to run out Noman for a diamond duck, the second of the season!). The bowling medal should go to Massoud who took 3 wickets in 5 consecutive balls (all nicks caught behind by keeper Ahmad). He basically destroyed Nomads’ middle order and finished with a great figure of 3 for 13. What an amazing turnaround for Geneva CC!
Geneva’s hopes to win the match and qualify for the final were pretty high then. All were conscious that Nomads’s bowling attack is perhaps the best in Switzerland and that it could damage us pretty hardly. Nevertheless, none expected that our main run scorer this season, Idrees, would go out off the second ball for a strange duck (after hitting the pad, the ball rolled to hit the stumps). While sustaining a back injury, Khurram followed suit in in the fourth over after a tremendous one-handed catch by Sudath. Although few runs were grabbed after ten overs (42 for 3), Geneva CC “only” required to score 74 runs off 60 balls to win. Easy peasy in a T20 right? But one hast o take into account the fierce bowling quartet of Sudath, Shafqat, Faheem and Farid.
Anser and Ronak, at no 2 and 5 respectively, started to build up a partnership that could have been the winning one, but Ronak got run out for a non-existent run at 10.5 overs and Anser was lbw’ed by offspinner Sudath at 12.1. The five remaining wickets then fell nearly every over. Visitors clung to a glimmer of hope when Massoud started to time his hitting and scored 15 runs in the 17th over. Too litttle and too late as Faheem concluded the bowling dance with two successive wickets in the 18th over. He finished the match with figures of 3 for 2, so more wickets taken than runs conceded. Just wow! Geneva CC were thus all out in 17.3 overs with 83 runs.
Geneva CC would like to warmly thank Nomads CC for the fantastic hosting and delicious lunch provided after the match (that syrupy baklava was finger-licking!). It was overall a great semi-final and Geneva CC is looking forward to new challenges for the next season. Cheers!