Bout-du-Monde, 19 June 2016, Geneva T20 Cup
Geneva XI Stars, 111 for 8 in 20 overs (Lalit 41, Afif 2-22), beat Geneva Cricket Club, 109 for 6 in 20 overs (Anser 33, Ali Saleem 2-14), by 2 runs
Geneva CC had the chance to redeem itself after losing its first Geneva T20 Cup against GESLCC, but did not manage to overcome the not-so-high score of 111 set by XI Stars. Both teams displayed excellent bowling and decent fielding and the match ended in a nail-biting finish with Ali Saleem defending brilliantly at the death.
Geneva started strong with Afif eliminating Vipin off his second ball with an edge for keeper Saad. The second wicket fell when XI Stars Captain missed a ball from Idrees that crashed into the stumps. At that moment, the run rate was quite good and getting closer to 7 runs per over. The tenth over bowled by Ronak was a turning point. Massoud was indeed lurking at third man, very close to the boundary, when a ball was dispatched a few metres from him. He then moved like he had boulders in shoes to the ball, so as to entice batsmen to go for a second run. Straight hit by Massoud and Kuldeep was run out! Two balls later a thick top edge went flying towards him for the cool catch. The score after 10 overs was at 65 for 4.
The next over was expensive but crucial as Idrees bowled and caught Lalit who was starting to aim at boundaries and getting close to a half-century. Momentum was broken and XI Stars batsmen were contained very well. Total score for XI Stars to defend: 111 runs with 8 strikers dismissed.
The deceptively “low” score proved to be in the end too hot for Geneva CC. As the latter excelled in bowling, the XI Stars’ players had the intricate task of performing better, which they did so. In just 5 overs, 4 wickets were down for 27 runs. In just two consecutive overs, opening bowler Asad and the young and super economical Ali got rid of Idrees, Saad, Ankit and then Ronak, leaving only skipper Anser in the top order. Score after 10 overs: 54 for 4.
Until the three-four last overs, the run rate was good enough for Geneva to be in chase, but too many dots proved to take a serious toll on the team. Khurram wasted his wicket for a run out at 81 for 5 at 15.1 overs and then Massoud, THE fielder of the first innings, came with the objective of sending the ball to Mars. He nonetheless had to face smart spin bowling by Arjun and also great ball placement by Jasbir and Aman.
Geneva CC thought then the victory might have been theirs but Anser got cleanly bowled out by Jasbir in the penultimate over. With only 2 runs in that over, Geneva required 8 runs to win with 6 balls remaining. Ali Saleem was preserved out for the very last over at the death and bowled superbly (mostly tricky balls outside the off side) to Massoud and Saeed. Massoud was just able to score 5 runs, including a four off the second ball of the over and a single in the penultimate ball. Geneva XI Stars won by the slim margin of 2 runs for a deserved win and will now fight in the final to defend their title. A great match by the two rivals, which both showed the best that cricket can offer.