Prévessin, 8 May 2016, Premier League
Geneva Cricket Club, 300 for 8 in 40 overs (Anser 84, Khurram 61, Ankit 51, Saud 2-45), beat CERN Cricket Club, 149-9 in 28.4 overs (Paul 35, Saeed 2-16, Ankit 2-39), by 151 runs
Geneva CC grabbed a second win in the Swiss Premier League – not by the tail but by the horns! Indeed, opponents from CERN CC were all out in just 28.4 overs (9 wickets down as Dmello retired hurt). The home loss amounted to 151 runs, just short of the half required to reach the tough target of 301 runs.
Geneva CC won the toss on a beautiful and sunny day to play cricket and logically decided to bat first. With the aim of respecting dutifully the wicket, openers Ankit and Saad played defensively and scored few runs in the first ten overs, while bowlers Dawood and Claston conceded many wides but few runs off the bat. Each opening batsmen got dropped once until Saad was finally caught at point by Dawood at 9.6 (42 runs at that moment). Saqib came in at no. 3 and continued to play with sensitive batting. In the meantime, Ankit started to score runs consistently. He again showed his class with cover drives for six until Saqib was bowled out in the last ball of the 17th over by Saud. Geneva CC was feeling the heat and needed to increase the run rate in order to avoid a somewhat easy chase. Things were about to change pretty quickly when spinner Partha Paul stepped in and took two wickets in one over: Ankit was caught-and-bowled after reaching a half-ton and two balls later, Massoud was dismissed thanks to a great catch by Francis at the cow corner. 97 for 4 in 18 overs.
The burden then laid on the shoulders of skipper Anser and middle order batsman Khurram. With six wickets in hand and 22 overs left, they were required to keep their composure and build up the innings. They did so with intelligence and patience by rotating the strike and scoring careful boundaries. Both batsmen scored a fifty, with a total partnership of 136 runs in 105 balls. Saud broke the strong partnership by taking Khurram’s middle stump at 34.3 over when the scoreboard showed 233 runs for Geneva CC. Perhaps too late for CERN? Anser left the crease when bowled out by Francis with 84 runs in his tally (37.3 overs, 268 for 7), but batsmen Kamran, Saeed and Afif made sure that the target would reach the symbolic mark of 300 runs. While Afif ran on the pitch as if it were coated with scorching lava, Saeed Raja packed a super powerful punch and dispatched three awesome sixes, including one behind fine leg on the very last ball of the innings. 300 runs sharp for 8 wickets.
After a delicious garam masala-flavoured break, CERN had the difficult – but not impossible – task to chase a big score. Openers Mathew and Daniel maintained the run per overs at a good rate while Afif and Ankit tried to swing the ball as hard as they could. The first wall fell at 4.2 when Saqib took a simple catch at backward point thanks to terrific bowling from Afif. Ankit, who struggled a bit in his first spells, did a great comeback in the fourth and fifth overs by bowling out Francis with an outswinger and lbw-ing Daniel by surprise. 50 for 3 in 10 overs.
In terms of over comparison, CERN players maintained the score level above Geneva’s, but wickets fell at a regular rhythm. With the objective of maintaining the chase viable, Partha at no. 4 aimed at the boundaries. Just when 100 runs were up on the scoreboard, the man got caught beautifully by Afif at deep forward point following a good bowling by Ronak. Three overs later, it was the turn of captain Imtiaz to bow down when he tried to score a six which landed safely into Ankit’s hands at long on. With 110 runs for 5 wickets in hand in the 19th over, CERN was in a quite inextricable situation. Batsman no. 7 Claston retired hurt two overs later because of a hamstring injury and then all hell broke loose. Saeed wreaked havoc by giving a nice ball to Massoud at long off (the latter returned the favour later when Saeed took a cool slip catch off Massoud’s third ball), followed directly by a ball which crashed the unguarded stumps of Vishal. The hat trick could not be concretised but the innings was closed at 28.4 overs when Dawood gave the wicket to Khurram. 149 runs for 9 wickets. Geneva CC won the match by 151 runs.
Anser was named man of the match for his awesome 84 runs off 66 balls and 1 wicket for 32 runs in 6 overs. The competition goes on and Geneva CC leads the ranking in the West Pool of the Premier League.