Two games = two victories! The Geneva Cricket Club played brilliantly its first matches of the season in the Mr Pickwick T20 Cricket Cup. With its consistency in both batting and bowling, the old Genevan club is now undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the cricketing world of Helvetia.
1st match in Bout-du-Monde, 15 May 2016, Pickwick T20 Cup
Geneva Cricket Club, 170 all out in 20 overs (Massoud 33, Aftab 3-29), beat Cossonay Cricket Club, 129 for 6 in 15 overs (Yateendra 47*, Anser 3-20), by 41 runs
A difficult start of the day for the visiting team Cossonay CC as they thought the match was scheduled at 12:30… while it was supposed to start at 11:00 in the morning. Geneva CC thus won the toss automatically and decided to bat. Despite being more than an hour late and that the following match was supposed to commence at 15:00, both teams wanted to play and agreed to have an unusual 20/15 overs match.
The first innings started off very well for openers Ankit and Saad as many wides were conceded off the first over. The batting romance would not last long, with Ankit caught behind in the second over, Saad dropped luckily at backward point in 5.1 over and on the next ball Anser bowled out by a sharp inswinger. All these resulted from mighty bowling by Vikas, who took advantage of the good swinging conditions that day.
Saad and Massoud at two down carried the weight and had to create a run-scoring momentum, crucial at this early stage of the innings. Massoud scored three consecutive massive sixes towards mid-wicket but then Saad was finally caught by keeper-n-skipper Sathya for a mishit in the twelfth over. Score at that time: 105 for 3 in 11.1 overs. Power hitter and T20 Captain Saeed Raja stepped in the crease with the objective of killing the game but had to bow down two balls after blasting a great six towards mid-wicket. Spinner Aftab showed excellent bowling skills by taking the scalps of Saad, Saeed and Saqib, and managed to put a hold on many boundaries. With Massoud caught behind following a mishit in over 14.2 (126 for 5), the next batsmen just carried out the duty to finish the game off and added 44 runs to the tally in 39 balls. Geneva CC ended up all out in the very last ball of the innings when Aamir was caught at mid-off while trying to hit a nice boundary. Bowlers Vikas, Saurabh and Aftab displayed overall excellent bowling and kept their economy rates at pretty good levels. Total score: 170 all out in 20 overs.
With 15 overs to reach the target, Cossonay had to score at least at a rate of 9 runs per over but this proved to be particularly arduous due to the efficiency of opening bowlers Ankit and Afif. Right after conceding the first six of the innings in the third over, Ankit gave Khurram his first opportunity of the season to catch a ball while standing on the boundary at forward square leg, which he did with ease. With opener Rohit out, skipper Sathya came in and aimed straight away at scoring big numbers. He was bowled out by Tariq on a free hit at 4.1 over but no second lives were given when Saad caught him comfortably behind two overs later. The run rate was then increasing, although Anser worked hard and took 3 important wickets in 9 balls. The total at the end of the tenth over was 76 for 5 after Saurabh was run out by a straight hit from Massoud.
Aside from Bernard’s 21 runs performance (who was caught by Khurram in the same place than Rohit), Cossonay’s batsmen were not really able to compile runs significantly… until Yatee came to replace Bernard in defiance to Geneva’s bowlers. Although the required run rate was perhaps too high, he proved to very deadly by hitting boundaries after boundaries. He finished the innings with a beautiful six beyond mid-wicket, with a total score of 47 not out off 17 balls (3 fours and 5 sixes) at a gargantuan strike rate of 276.47! Unfortunately not enough for Cossonay CC, which ended up losing by 41 runs after 15 overs.
2nd match in Bout-du-Monde, 15 May 2016, Pickwick T20 Cup
Geneva Cricket Club, 208 for 6 in 20 overs (Ankit 91, Kashif 37*, Balaji 3-32), beat Geneva International Cricket Club (Balaji 25, Afif 3-29) 121 all out in 20 overs, by 87 runs
While Cossonay gave a hard time to Geneva and battled like lions, the second match was more one-sided, with Geneva CC reaching a comfortable 208 for 6 in 20 overs. The toss was won by GICC and they decided to bowl first. The final result proved this decision to be a mistake as batting conditions were rather good.
Captain Thomas opened powerfully the bowling with fast-paced deliveries. This however did not prevent openers Ankit and Saad to comfortably dispatch sixes towards both the off and leg side. One of Thomas’ balls was unfortunately dropped by Amar when Saad smacked it towards backward square leg. Saad was finally cleanly bowled by Thomas on the 12th ball he was facing and here came Anser with the objective of scoring hard just like Ankit. The latter seemed to be on another planet that day. Not only he left out intelligently a number of dangerous balls pitching on the off side, but he timely rotated the strike and scored boundaries whenever the opportunity arose. A very complete batsman on that day (and bowler as you will see later)! In the tenth over, Anser was caught behind by wicketkeeper Hemanth following a good ball by Sikander. The scoreboard at the end of this over: 87 for 2.
Ankit reached again a comfortable half-ton in 36 balls with a nice mid-on drive at 11.1 overs. Old school not-to-be-fooled-with Kamran came on the wicket to and played beautifully with leg glances and powerful drives until he was tricked by Balaji (caught by Hemanth again) at 16.1 overs. Big big problems ensued for GICC as Kashif – on his debut for Geneva CC – squeezed the game tightly into his own hands. Sixes after sixes, Kashif cruised till the end of the innings. “Fours are for kids, sixes are for Kashif”. He actually did not say that but that is what we thought!
Following Kamran’s dismissal, Ankit was prevented by Balaji from reaching his first century of the season when he tried to blast a fourth consecutive six. Amar made the catch of the day at the mid-wicket boundary by jumping high to grab the ball in the last millisecond. 91 runs for Ankit the Cricket Pirate. Thereafter, Khurram and Massoud just played a supporting role and faced only 6 balls together while Kashif took care of the rest. From 153 runs in the 17th over, Geneva CC’s total amounted to 208 for 6 in 20 overs, thanks to Kashif’s 37 runs not out… in only 14 balls.
GICC then came to the crease with immense pressure to perform dazzlingly. At a +10 required run rate, the target was difficult – but not impossible – to reach. The word impossible became possible when Ankit and Afif set the tone: only 22 runs conceded in the first 5 overs and 2 beautiful wickets taken between the two opening fellows. Afif bowled out Sanket at 1.6 overs followed directly by a nice gully catch by the former thanks to Ankit’s tremendous swing and fielding placement. Indeed, Ankit opted for offensive fielding with three slips and a gully, which resulted in a wicket maiden for Ankit.
With the run rate oscillating between 5 to 6 runs per over, GICC batsmen were not able to sustain the chase and lost their wickets at a regular pace. Captain Saeed Raja gave the chance to 9 players including him to bowl and nearly everyone took at least one wicket (say cheeeeese Kashif, Anser, Massoud and Tariq!). Special honours to Khurram for taking out Balaji – who showed patience and good batting skills – and off-breaking Sikander for a golden Daffy Duck as the man was slogging it hard. Vice-Captain Khurram finished with 2 for 2 in just 6 balls and also took a tremendous mid-wicket diving catch.
Afif bowled the 18th and last over with the objective of dismissing all batsmen. Indeed, scorer and spiritual coach Darius gave him commanding orders to which he complied with authoritatively: get ’em all out! Both tail-enders Vivian and Jibran were bowled out classically by Afif, with Jibran surviving until the very last ball of the match. Mission accomplished. Geneva CC won by 87 runs with GICC all out for 121 runs in 20 overs.