Vénissieux (Lyon), France, 3 July 2016, 35-over friendly match
Geneva Cricket Cub, 350 for 3 in 35 overs (Anser 223*, Saqib 34), beat Rhône Cricket Club, 129 all out in 25.3 overs (John 34, Idrees 4-23), by 221 runs
What was that? Excuse me? 223 runs not out? Who is the beast? The ultimate score of the season was brought to you graciously by skipper Anser, who just decided that this day had to be his day. Supported by Saqib for a jaw-dropping 250 runs partnership, Geneva CC’s captain showed what class is and merely tore off all possibilities for awesome host Rhône CC to chase the score.
There is today a guy who likes breaking records and sending balls flying in all directions. The spirituality and power of fasting brought a man to new heights. Despite a growling empty stomach, Anser at no. 2 scored an unparalleled 223 runs, not out please! Enjoying a delectable weather in the suburbs of Lyon, Geneva CC started slowly but surely. In fact, at the drinks break in 17 overs, the scoreboard displayed a not-so-impressive 108 runs with Idrees and Afif caught behind (score of 12 for 14 balls and 15 for 23 balls, respectively). The too large amount of wides conceded also gave a convenient push to Geneva CC. But then the innings transformed into a different kind of monster after the drinks break…
While Saqib played elegantly and assertively through proper strike rotation and defensive blocks, an extraterrestrial creature of the name of Anser landed from Mars at his side. The rumors are that the ball looked as big as a watermelon to the captain. 20 fours and 16 sixes just demonstrated that the man was on another planet that day. Just to illustrate how he masterfully played his innings, Anser reached his first fifty in 60 balls. It then took him 29 balls to score his first century of the season. The 200 threshold was thereafter overtaken in just 13o balls, that is, only 41 balls after his first century! Balls were dispatched beyond boundaries towards all sides of the ground, in particular on the off side, and in the mean time, Saqib just watched, stroked nicely the ball too and simply appreciated to share the huge partnership of 250 with the Man of the Match.
In the end, sloppy fielding and average bowling by Rhône CC certainly gave a strong advantage to a powerfully packed visitors’ side. In any case, the mammoth form of Anser was unbearable. It gave the Frenchies the inextricable target of 351 runs to win. Total for Anser: 223 runs not out in 137 balls with a strike rate of 162.7; and total for Saqib: 34 runs in 33 balls.
Rhône CC provided then excellent lunch and started with immense pressure on their back. Opener John managed to stay on his wicket until the 15th over, while witnessing the downfall of three of his mates, dismissed by Aamir (no. 2 and 3) and Idrees (no. 4). Massoud was responsible for cleanly bowling out John, out for 34, and took before two superb catches at point given by Aamir and Idrees. Vice-captain Khurram also assisted Aamir with a tricky gully catch from Aamir’s bowling. Five wickets were taken away at the drinks break for 81 runs, right after Massoud gave a classical wicketkeeping catch to Afif.
It subsequently went from bad to worse for Rhône CC when another wicket (Shiva’s) was put down in the over following the break by another inswinger from Idrees. Next thing you know, Afif runs out Remo with a direct hit and Robert is out for a duck thanks to one of those other inswinging balls from Idrees. The latter finished with 4 wickets for 23 runs conceded, including two ducks. The final blow was struck by legspinner Darius at his real bowling debut: a googly killed Philippe (caught by Khurram), who was finally stopped after scoring boundaries after boundaries, and then a ball pitched well outside the off stump gave an edge to Massoud for the final touch. Rhône CC were all out in the 26th over with 129 runs in their tally. Certainly a bad day to be forgotten for the excellent hosts, but a mind-blowing performance for Geneva CC.
The Geneva team ended up winning with a staggering margin of 221 runs. Something that is rarely seen in just 35 overs. Next match on 10 July is a crucial League match where Geneva CC have their chance to secure a spot in the quarter-finals. So stay tuned for the next episode!