Washington Cricket League
Again the competition was at the highest level with a lot at stake during week 8 of the Washington Cricket League (WCL) Premier Division matchups. The Washington Tigers were dealing with a loss of few important players to the Atlantic Region Inter-League play and still dominated Kensington Cricket Club.
Boyds won a must win game against defending Champions Virginia Cricket Club to give their season a much needed oxygen. UMBC lost a heart breaking game to Cosmos after having them down 60 for 5 chasing 200 runs. Titans had a very good showing against a very talented and young Dulles team. Nitro has been on a very tough losing streak and needed a must win against struggling Zolon but came up short.
Vikings are out of sorts and struggling in 2014. Their matchup against AFCA was that not that close without their talented opening batsman Waleed Aslam who was absent from the lineup due to Inter-League play.
Titans vs Dulles:
Another weekend of cricket in the WCL as Titans Cricket Club took on Dulles Cricket Club. Titans were coming in to this weekend with a high after winning their game last weekend against Kensington comfortably. Dulles won their last weekend’s game against UMBC as well. Both teams were fighting to get a better spot on the rankings. It was another overcast weekend with the sun peeking through the clouds early in the afternoon. Titans won the toss and chose to bat. Naumanullah and Saqib opened the batting for Titans on a beautiful batting track. The opening partnership didn’t last long as Saqib played across the line and leg before early in the innings. Zaid Ilyas took the first wicket and set the tone for Dulles perfectly.
Rizwan Hassan, Titans captain went in at one down and kept the score moving along with Naumanullah. The pair added thirty when Rizwan fell caught behind to the keeper. The next batsman was Ahsan Siddique. Naumanullah fell shortly playing across the line and bowled by Karthik. Ahsan and Zaheer Abbasi built a partnership and were easily scoring runs all around the ground. Zaheer was pulling the spinners on the back foot with ease and completely looked content to get a ton. He fell on 68 and Titans were 123 for 4. The next batsman was Waleed Karimullah. Ahsan was building another partnership with Waleed as the pair added another 50 runs to the Titans total. Titans were looking to score more than 200. Ahsan reached his half-century and continued to help the scoreboard move along nicely.
Waleed was looking solid at the other end picking up ones, twos, and the odd boundary. Titans ended up scoring 223 for the loss of 5 wickets in 40 overs. Dulles got off to a good start but Titans opening bowlers, Abdul Waheed and Mohammad Noor pulled things back well. Noor got the Titans the breakthrough they needed to make inroads to the heavy Dulles batting lineup. Noor picked up two wickets in his opening spell and Waheed picked up one. Dulles was finding it hard to score runs against Titans bowling. Dulles middle order batsman, Nihant and Haris Ilyas were building up a partnership with quick running between the wickets.
Waleed came on to bowl, got rid of Nihant who was caught brilliantly by Zaheer Abbasi in the gully region. He broke the partnership before it could go any further. Waleed was working up good pace and kept asking the batsmen questions with his line and length. The next batsman was Fezan Butt and Waleed got rid of him first ball bowling a short ball. Fezan top edged the ball straight in the air for the catch to be taken by Naumanullah. Titans looked to be in good position having half of the batsman back in the hut. Bilal Javed came on to bowl, picked up 3 wickets with his fast-medium bowling. Zaheer Abbasi kept things tight from the other end and was economical with his spin bowling. Osama Javed picked up the last wicket of Dulles. Dulles ended up scoring 143 all out. Titans won the game comfortably by 80 runs. It was another great win for Titans Cricket Club as they continue to search for the best place to be on the rankings for the playoffs.
Boyds vs Virginia:
Boyds won the toss and Basheer Aslam Khan elected to bat. Virginia is a star studded team with its players among the best in the league. Ram Kishan started the proceedings with the ball for Virginia, while Danish Asghar and Basheer represented Boyds on the pitch. Ram Kishan is an experienced bowler and in his younger days has played grade cricket at a reasonably high competitive level in India. He moves the ball both ways and one such ball got Basheer early, which brought Adil Bhatti to the crease. Adil is among the best all-rounders in WCL, arguably the best, and yet again he showed why. He batted with confidence, elegance, and style to put runs on the board for Boyds. His strokes were clean and powerful and he cleared the boundaries with ease.
Danish was unlucky to get out, owing to a reflex catch at gully, but Adil motored on. Ankit Sehgal batted well and unleashed some great shots through the cover region. Rest of the guys too batted around Adil who eventually fell on his personal score of 92, 8 short of a well deserved hundred trying to up the ante, to take Boyds to 182. Naseer Islam and Ali Rizwi supported Ram Kishan well in the bowling department for Virginia. It was a decent score on the ground, but would require a very disciplined bowling performance from Boyds.
Virginia’s batting lineup consists of proven performers in clutch match situations. Sarav, Hector, Ameeq, and Naseer are all very good batsmen, each capable of taking away the game away from you very quickly. Virginia opened their innings with Gurucharan Chitna and skipper Shahzad Haider.
It was important for Boyds to not let Shahzad not settle in, because once set he hits the cricket ball hard and far. Shabir’s accuracy and Adil’s pace with movement helped Boyds to contain the runs in the opening overs, before Shabir trapped Guru LBW. Feeling the shackles, Shahzad departed too trying to force the pace. That brought Saravanan Annamalai and Donwell Hector to the crease. Hector came with a lot of reputation and we saw why that was. He used Adil’s pace beautifully to score boundaries with powerful flicks and pulls. His off side play was assured as well and he found the gaps quite comfortably. Basheer then brought on Zubair Awan, the tall and strong fast bowler who can get a good bounce from any wicket. Zubair bowled well and one such rising delivery took the inner edge of the bat and dislodged the bail. That was a big wicket for Boyds. Ankit Sehgal and Akash Pathak bowled superbly. Both picked wickets and contained runs that kept up the pressure on Virginia.
Ameeq came in to bat and unfurled some good shots before losing his cool and his wicket. Naseer Islam did not stay at the wicket too long either. The main danger remaining for Boyds was Sarav, who kept one end secure while the wickets were falling at the other end. Boyds did offer him a couple of difficult chances, but as good batsmen do, he capitalized on them and scored a good half century. Adil and Shabir took some excellent catches in the deep. While Ali Rizwi provided some support to Sarav, other Virginia batsmen did not contribute that much. Sarav was the last man to get out with his personal score at 65 giving Boyds a win by 22 runs.
It was a great win for Boyds and should give them confidence in their remaining matches.
Vikings VS AFCA:
Viking CC won the toss and they elected to field first. AFCA openers provided an excellent start without losing any wicket. First wicket fell at 52 in 15th over when Hamid tried to play a big short on the long off and he almost succeeded but one of the best Viking fielder Ammar who snatched that ball by jumping in the air with one hand and stunned everyone. That was an exceptional fielding which lifted VCC, Jawad was next man in. Nadeem who was playing glorious drives to get valuable boundaries for AFCA got out when he played a short over the long off and Nasir covered some distance to catch that ball.
In the next over Jawad tried playing a straight drive and missed Raza’s off break which shattered the off stump. AFCA lost three quick wickets, Anees came in to replace Jawad and with Ahsan both played sensibly and took score to 106 in 28 overs and then Ahsan pulled a short ball and got caught at long on. Shahid was next to replace Ahsan and this pair added 60 plus runs quickly. In 34th over Shahid got out after hitting a monster 6 at mid wicket. Next Bakhtiar came in and started off with a boundary but next over Anees got LBW, he made 44 valuable runs. Waqas came in and supported Bakhtiar who scored quick 41 runs of 22 balls and brought the total to 202/7 in 40 overs.
William Wirt ground has an excellent outfield and 202 is below average score in this field. Gagan and Nail opened the inning, they looked confident to chase this low total on a very good batting track. But credit goes to Hamid Munir who ripped through the Viking top order in his opening 4 overs and got top 4 wickets (Gagan, Raza, Nail, Ammar). VCC was in serious trouble, Hamid and Dilawar were bowling an excellent line and length. Then new comers Nasir and Kartik tried to build a partnership and took the score to 54/4 in 12 overs. Nasir played some good strokes but fell to Shahid’s short pitch delivery and pulled straight to short midwicket in Bakhtiar’s hands who took and excellent sharp catch. Imran replaced Nair and played a very smart inning overall.
Next batsman Kartik who got out on excellent delivery from Waqas and at this stage score was 87/6 in 24 overs but Tariq who replaced Kartick played an excellent inning with Imarn and both put 50 plus runs partnership. Very tight spell was bowled by Waqas and Anees which forced both batsmen to take risks to generate runs. Imarn played a cover drive and rushed into a single and fielder Dilwar from cover rushed into the ball and fielded superbly and hit a direct throw on the striker’s end to get Imran out.
Danish came in and supported Tariq who scored 33 and got bowled while playing a big shot across the line to Anees. AFCA bowlers were right on the target and got VCC all out for 129 in 33.1 overs. Viking is a good team and except Imarn, Tariq and Nasir everyone rushed during the batting and didn’t give themselves enough time to settle down and chase this below par total.