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Quarter-final WGCC vs HPCC at Hobson cricket ground, October 2nd 2016

posted Oct 5, 2016, 1:10 PM by Mayur Choudhary

After a roller coaster season which had winning streaks, losing streaks and a tied game, WGCC was gearing up to take on HPCC at Hobson Cricket ground for their first playoff game since 2011. Amar was leading the team then and he was leading the team now. If last two encounters against HPCC were to suggest anything, this game was going to be a close one. After the warmups everyone was itching to go. Amar won the toss and decided field first due a very wet and slow outfield. His decision paid dividence as soon as the third over when Biv drew the first blood getting Bilal out, caught at point by Amit. The over had one more surprise when the new batsman Nasir edged a wide delivery high into air towards Faraz stationed at third man. He was a bit late to react but flung himself to his right and plucked a sharp catch.  Faraz has made it a habit to hold on to sharp and tough chances against HPCC and he did not disappoint. So two wickets in the same over at the score of 12, a perfect start, so far, so good. Manzoor walked in next to rescue his team. He started to build a partnership with Mushtaq who was chipping away at runs from the other end. Arpit and Biv were bowling very well in tandem, keeping things tight and creating chances every now and then. Mayur and Amar were brought in next to choke HPCC even more and they did just that. Amar picked up Mushi’s wicket in the process. Uzair was the next batsman in the lineup and he and Manzoor were cautious in their approach but they were running quick singles to keep the scoreboard ticking. HPCC went into the first break at 83/3, match evenly poised.

Manzoor started with some urgency after the drinks break. Prady and Damu kept things relatively tight with occasional boundary. Prady picked up Uzair with score at 92 and that brought Ghias and Manzoor together and they framed the most important partnership of the match. Manzoor was playing aggressively from the other end, scoring some boundaries in the process. He was riding his luck as WGCC fielders were not able to capitalize on a few chances that were created by their bowlers. Manzoor and Ghias hit some lust blows toward the end before Manzoor holed out to Amar. The scoreboard read 208 at the end of 31 overs. HPCC finally ended up scoring 240 runs after 25 overs. This was certainly an above par total considering their bowling attack and ground conditions.

WGCC players knew that it was an uphill task but they were up for the challenge. WGCC had their best batting lineup in the playing 11, which instilled a feeling of self-belief. Amar and Faraz started the innings scoring quick singles and occasional boundary against some serious pace from both the Arifs. They were consistently scoring at 6 an over without taking any risks. WGCC lost their first wicket in the form of Faraz when he gloved a delivery from Arif Choudhary to the keeper. Dipen walked in next and after a few deliveries, he started rotating strike with Amar. WGCC batsmen were very efficient in keeping the scoreboard ticking and that kept them at par with the required run-rate. Amar was batting responsibly and with Dipen, took WGCC to first drinks break at 107/1, 20 runs ahead of HPCC at the same stage.

Disaster struck right after the drinks break as Amar misread the length of one of the deliveries from Manzoor and got bowled. That brought Mayur and Dipen together at the crease, and they continued to bat sensibly without taking any risks. In the 25th over, with score at 149, Dipen got run out against the run of play. It was an important event considering how easy they made the batting look against a strong HPCC attack. Mayur was still playing positively with the new batsman Amit. Arif was brought into the attack to inflict some more damage but he got hammered for 15 runs in his over. The scoreboard read 172/3 at the end of 26 overs. Sunny came back into the attack and got Mayur’s wicket with a rising delivery. Amit continued scoring runs at good pace as he has done all the season, courtesy two huge sixes. The centurian from PACC game, Dharma was unable to contribute much and he got out to a short delivery from Arif. Amit also got out soon and suddenly the score was 197/5 at the end of 30 overs. 44 runs off 5 overs, still looked very gettable. Damu and Biv started their partnership and our last stand towards the target. They slowly got us close to the target, with Damu playing some really cheeky shots and Biv hitting a huge six straight down the ground. The equation was brought down to 9 needed of last over and it was Arif who was assigned this responsibility. He started with a screaming yorker and kept on bowling those at some serious pace, conceding only 5 singles from first 5 balls. So, 4 need off the last ball and he pulled off another quick yorker to crush WGCC’s dream and taking HPCC to semi-finals.

Overall, it was a game worthy of the playoff encounter. HPCC was very generous in praising our effort as they know that it could very well have been us celebrating at the end of 35 overs. This was a great turnaround for WGCC compared to the previous season. Credit goes to the captain for all his hard work and also to all the members who constantly practice to improve their game. I would also like to thank Sagar, Sinu, Tarun, Anup, Ashish, Rohit, Tina and Casper for supporting and cheering for us. Finally I will sign-off by thanking the WAGs and families of WGCC who have stood by us through thick and thin. Looking forward to the Season 2017.