Report by Prafull Shikare
WCC 175ao in 30.4 overs (Fahad 49, Shijo 30 and Prafull 26; Safi 7.0-0-36-4) beat Zug 150ao in 33.4 overs (Peter 33, Gayan 25, Imran 22; Adam 7-0-26-4, Sahan
7.0-0-35-3) by 25 runs
Deutweg, Sunday 24th June 2018
After having lost the last league game against Olten after a mediocre batting display, captain Mohamed had a tough ask of reviewing the team combination and strengthen a few areas to plug the
gaps before the crucial game against Zug.
Mohamed responded to that challenge very well by making some smart changes to the overall combination.
On the game day, team WCC appeared relaxed and showed a great team spirit by presenting a small gift to the birthday boy, Sahan. Entire team joined Sahan for the cake cutting and sang songs for his birthday (some even asked if he is really that young - more to come later how all that helped Sahan in the match!).
After losing the toss, WCC were put in to bat by Zug in a shortened (35 overs) game due to delayed start for logistical reasons. WCC opened this time with Sohaib (06) and Tom (12) with an intention to go after the bowling at the beginning. WCC got off to a flying start with Tom peppering square leg and deep extra cover boundaries with a beautifully timed shots. While Sohaib looked solid at the other end with his defense and a text book cover drive for four.
After a couple of quiet overs, Sohaib edged one behind off a steep bouncer which got Sohaib's gloves on the way to the keeper.
Prafull (26) joined Tom in the middle and the game plan was to build a partnership from there on while taking attack when opportunity comes. Tom got out immediately caught at the slip (almost short third man). At this stage WCC found themselves in a spot of bother and in need to consolidate the innings. Kasun and Prafull continued ticking the score and occupied the crease in a confident fashion with boundaries flowing in between sharp running between.
Rush of blood got Kasun when he wanted to deposit one over bowler's head for six and he got out bowled. So after a good partnership which looked to take momentum back, WCC lost a key wicket at the wrong time. Fahad (49) joining Prafull looked determined to make the most of the opportunity he got and promised himself to play on the merit of the ball. He looked in great touch and took the pressure off by hitting some sweetly timed (big) boundaries. Both of them looked comfortable while steadily increasing the score close to 100 run mark. Close to the drinks break, another setback for WCC when Prafull decided to pull a length ball and was given LBW. At this point game was poised where in a few more wickets in quick succession would've resulted in WCC's batting collapse. But thanks to Mohamed (9) and his grit to take his team till the end with Fahad, WCC saw another good partnership and inched close to 150. A score of 200 looked a possibility at the time but WCC lost a few quick wickets including both Mohamed and Fahad. Fahad was very unlucky to miss his 50 by a run but played an excellent innings nevertheless.
This meant, the stage was set for all-rounder Shijo to show his batting skills. And he delivered some meaty blows much to the joy of his teammates on the boundary line (Birthday boy, Sahan was
dancing in celebration as one could imagine his happiness for his partner in crime in bowling. A true delight to watch for a team which has lacked that friendship spirit in the past).
In the end WCC ended up with just about par score of 175 all out in 30.4 overs.
During the lunch break both teams enjoyed (asian version of Pasta) which was very tasty. So on popular demand Mohamed would order Pasta for lunch break going forward.
Back to the game, WCC with a formidable bowling attack warmed themselves up with few catches from (close to retirement) veteran Lucky who was kind to give some catching to his mates. Although he
did avoid tennis forehands due to his tennis elbow.
Sahan opened the bowling attack straightaway generating a speed and hitting accurate areas leaving opening batsman from Zug, Nazib with many questions. That was the kind of start WCC outfit wanted and it was evident everyone was on the top from there on. Shijo (the partner in crime) carried on with pace and unplayable lengths to create pressure from both ends. In a matter of short period WCC opened the account and got the first wicket on board. Sahan was on fire and pumped up to blow away the Zug top order. One follows two follows three, and Zug was in deep trouble with 3 wickets down in three consecutive overs from Sahan. Packed field on the off side contributed to the pressure by taking some neat catches especially a diving effort from Sohaib at point.
After a lengthy first spell by both Sahan and Shijo, captain Mohamed decided to bring in change in bowling with Jagath and Elyas (under 19). Both the new bowlers bowled superbly beating the bat numerous times. Jagath is truly a bowling machine and Elyas is a pocket size dynamite in that he can generate such a speed.
Zug tried to recover while run rate steadily creeping up and especially that WCC had shown no lack of intensity in the middle overs. Adam came in to bowl and pretty much cleaned bowled any hopes of Zug recovery with an excellent spell of bowling his full quota on the trot. Although the game provided some last minute drama, WCC never looked out of control and the win was obvious.
In the end a comprehensive victory over a good chasing side. One which should give WCC men immense satisfaction and encourage positive support from everyone around the team.