WL – 24.1.15 Action Sports Stadium (ASS)
By Kris Bayne
Reporting ‘almost live’ again at Action Sports Stadium for Game 4 – a second round match against Rising Stars. This is a Shark-fest. Looking around, all but a few players are not Shark-related (well, not yet, anyway). What a great club we are! Our first round game against saw us take out the Stars comfortably, but this is a team with both quality and pride so anything could happen tonight, Ritchie. Ritchie???
On deck for the Sharks this evening are Takady (captain), Asala, Scott, Mairaj, Awal and Ben. On the Stars side it good to see Sharks Sumon, Naz, Sayeed and Hasnat (once a Shark, always a Shark – give up Adore and come back, mate!!). A small and slightly confused crowd, supplied by Awal (his Japanese friends) and Asala (his family), are on hand this evening. The wicket looks glorious tonight. The light roller has been used, mainly the sticky one to remove lint. The stumps are gently and lovingly arranged. Scott comments on the tinge of the pitch – sort of ‘olive’ in contrast to the ‘parakeet’ green. It may take turn, or a batman may take a turn. Let’s hope both are heat-resistant because there is some serious firepower around with Takady, Awal and Hasnat!
Okay – the toss is has been taken and Rising Stars decide to bat first. Asala is delayed in traffic so Takady plays the sempai card to get an eager Senshu player in as sub.
Umpire Miyakawa announces, “Play!”.
Sumon and Nazrul for the Stars take their places. A tight Mairaj over which created a couple of opportunities is followed by Ben. As he commented later, a good warm up is vital. It was a bit wayward but ended happily as Ben calmly accepted a hard-struck drive to run-out the runner. Next up are our aces, Takady and Awal. Someone must have loosen their screws because the ball is whizzing down leg with disturbing pace and frequency. Even a change to spin is not helping Takady. In total we gave up 11×2 free runs to leave Rising Stars at 31 after 4 overs.
Sadly the new Stars pair similarly are not being overly pressured with a consistent off-side line. But a positive is that we are also not giving up more than 1s or 2s. But neither are we getting wickets. Scott is not giving much away, but wides are still plaguing all bowlers. We are sharp in the field which is keeping us there. Takady as ‘keeper flattens the bowler end stumps for no wicket. Awal makes a great stop to prevent runs and next ball he holds a sharp two-grab catch in close to get Ben a wicket. Tight fielding but another 8 extras hurts. Rising Stars 58.
Asala has arrived and Takady has held back himself and Awal. They are up against the hardhitting pair of Sayeed and Hasnat. THIS ought to be interesting!! We need to put the brakes on RIGHT NOW or these boys could put the game beyond us. A wide (oh dear) and the first 5 by Sayeed is not a great start, but Takady returns fire to rattle Sayeed’s stumps. Scott snaps up a fantastic stumping off Asala’s offies, but the batsman are hunting! But, FINALLY the wides have dried up (almost). Awal smashes one through Sayeed’s defence! This is what we can do! Runs are still ticking but the batsmen are living dangerously as a couple of chances don’t go to hand. Asala’s final over is tight. It ends, somewhat thematically with a wide but Rising Stars are happy to take their final total of 78.
Well, that was a bit frustrating. We only gave up one ‘boundary’. We might have had a few more than our 5 outs with luck. Most scores were 1 or 2. Wides…. Well, let’s not go there. But, hold Rising Stars to 78 is a great effort considering. We stayed tight in the last 4 overs and we can get this score.
At innings break Takady outlines our strategy: play straight or in the V, get wood on bat. We need good calling and no risks. We identified Hasnat as their main bowler and would need to take care.
Scott and Mairaj are our first pair. Sayeed catches our disease in his first over with several wides. Unfortunately it includes a bit of a suicidal runout… But that galvanizes the pair and they work us steadily to 31. Mairaj (18) slammed a couple of fine 5s and both he and Scott (12) took runs almost every ball. They keep out Hasnat who was bowling very swiftly and on line. Right on target with the score.
Awala and Ben up now. Awal creams a couple of 3s and Ben adds a few off Sumon. Good start but we need to go carefully. But with Awal at the crease, anything could occur. A massive dance down the pitch to Naz eludes Awal and Sumon behind the stumps, too, and we get a ‘life’. Next ball, a huge heave in celebration of that ‘life’ takes out middle and off. He wipes off 4 with a crunch through the fielders hands that goes to the wall. It’s all happening here!!! We need to settle but it’s a tight over by Shanchoy. Sumon makes up for his miss with a lightning stumping followed by a runout. Ahhh, that over hurt us with -7. We need to get some of that back and to their credit Awal (-1) gets a 3 and Ben (15), who has been tied down, follows up and a couple of wides help out. We get back up to 45.
34 to get with Takady and Asala in. If ever a pair was needed now it was these two. Takady plays the V with great power and in his short time as a Shark Asala has shown he rotates the strike anywhere. They start carefully against Sayeed to take care of 9 runs. Takady looks solid but inexplicitly one gentle spinner from Rajin sneaks through him!! Bowled. They get a few back. Sharks 54 at the end of Over 10.
We need 25 of 12 balls. This will be close! Nobody move! Over 11 and Sumon. Takady fires up! He takes Sumon for 5. Asala caresses to give Takady the strike. The ball repeats it’s journey for 5! Asala goes the other side for 1. Sumon loses his line. Takady welcome his line back with another 5!! What an over! We get back into it with 19 runs.
Over 12. We need 6 off 6. Takady on strike. Bowler is Hasnat. Two searing dot balls shave outside off. The Bangladeshi Boys have their tails up – they know every ball matters. Not much Takady could do about those. A single. A single. Takady on. We need 4 runs from 2 balls. The tension is palatable. Another Hasnat rocket and Takady HAS to have a go. A thick inside bottom edge and he has played on!!! Bowled! Rising Stars go ballistic! Takady throws his head back in anguish. Nine off the last is unlikely but we play the game out. Takady pushes it into the close side net. Ball, batsmen and Bangladeshis go in all directions at the same time. The boys whip through for 1. They take an overthrow for 2. Smartly Asala hold his ground as Takady (20) charges up the olive strip for another, then Asala (8) takes off once the stumps are flattened. 3 off that ball. Sharks go down swinging by 6 runs. Takady’s fireworks in Over 11 is matched by a hot, hot final over by Hasnat!
Any team can identify single balls as crtical but it balances out usually. However, it is probably fair to say this was our worst bowling effort indoor – and I have seen quite a number. We gave up 22 extras/wides (as opposed to the Stars 10 – most at the start of our innings). For us it was like the entire ASS was coquettishly tilted to leg side, as bowler after bowler, ball after ball drifted or was flung behind the legs for freebie runs. But this is to take nothing away from the Rising Stars. They stayed positive the whole time, played it hard throughout, and Hasnat’s final over was of extreme pace, line and quality. With three balls to go the game was there to be won or lost by either team. This time the Sharks came out on the wrong side. I suspect we will meet again and return the favour.
Fantastic game both teams. Next game is Feb 7.