Played at Wandsworth Common
Report by Hassan Khan
The 2018 OF curtain raiser did not disappoint, containing more
drama than a Shakespearean tragedy.
The hurly burly began in
spectacular fashion, as a red mist landed on Wandsworth Common. It
was an Air Ambulance which forced the match to be reduced 35 overs
Having won the toss, I elected to bat in the hope
that star batsman Farhad Waqar could navigate through London
A powerful OF batting line up was
destroyed by Nomads' opening pacers Harry and Alex. Stylish opener
Ravi was pinned LBW by Alex's full length and a beautiful in-swinger
from Harry clean bowled Farhad.
At 19 for 3, yours truly
joined Azaz and after a few balls I wished the Air Ambulance had
never left! After I was run out, the OF nuclear missile Zubair
sauntered to the crease. A mystic sufi in appearance, his languid
demeanour and slender physique conceal lightening reflexes and the
eyes of a hawk. An explosive 6 was our first serious counter attack.
At 36-5, Bharat joined Zubair and his calm but technically
perfect stroke play complemented Zubair's rockets. Slowly our total
approached respectability, until unpredictable bounce did for
Zubair. It was now obvious that the Wandsworth wicket was more spicy
than a Bombay bazaar. Hereafter, our innings folded meekly, despite
Bharat valiantly carrying his bat.
The match was sadly a
foregone conclusion, with Nomads requiring 85 to win. In our
previous encounter, they had comfortably chased down 281. On that
occasion, only Farhad's legspin had tested them, so I opened our
bowling with Farhad and myself. It was all in vain, as the Nomads
scored easily to reach 20.
But the battle was not yet lost
and won and so the hurly burly was not yet done ... a loosener from
me that should have been carved to the boundary miraculously bowled
the batsman. Next ball, a regulation catch was spilled at gully and
when Farhad missed a tough caught & bowled chance, Old Fallopians
appeared to be returning to old habits.
Enter Shyam, a
mystery pacer specialising in full length accurate bowling. The man
was in a trance, completely unstoppable. He was brilliantly
supported by Yusuf, bowling left arm fast unplayable boomerangs.
Further to this, the Nomads, a talented young batting unit,
included three Australians ... cue mental disintegration, sandpaper
jokes and aggressive sledging from O.F.
Wickets tumbled and
the pressure of chasing a low total resulted in a spectacular
victory for OF. Among the rubble of 54 all out, Shyam was honoured
with the match ball - his dreamy 7-9 possibly the best bowling
figures ever for us? (Without a doubt! - TC).
Shaw agreed that this was one of the most thrilling cricket contests
he had ever played in - and that from a man who has played for over
60 years. This match was more Alice in Wonderland than Shakespeare's
Macbeth. (Hopefully, you didn't wake up and find it was all a
dream! - TC)
top of page