KCL South 2024 – Match 1 – Report

Truthful Warriors v Trustworthy Knights

The 2024 season of the KCL finally kicked off amidst the wet summer of 2024 with the clash between Hammad Butt’s Warriors taking on Waseem Ahmed’s Knights at Alexandra Park. The rain once again threatened to claim another victim with 7 prior fixtures already falling to it, however an 18 over a side match was played with the utmost intensity as expected in the KCL. The Warriors won the toss and elected to bat first in their season opener.

In tough conditions, the openers Mohsin Basharat and Aamir Syed were watchful and punishing anything loose, with the first wicket stand worth 48 runs between the two in 5 overs. With the game slightly running away from the Knights, Waseem called upon his experienced and wily campaigner in the form of Abdul Qadir who provided a key breakthrough in the final over of the powerplay with the wicket of Mohsin. The Warriors then faced a sustained spell of good bowling and pressure being built. Qadir was giving nothing away and was supported well by the stand in bowling effort of Irfan Sindu who was called upon to bowl in the absence of the injured Sarfaraz. At the stroke of the 15th over, the Warriors felt strangled with the score at 94-4 having just lost the dangerous Khurram Goraya.

Sensing the need to get a move on, Zeeshan Naseer looked in great touch scoring a brisk 41 off 28 balls, whilst captain Hammad Butt also added a late flurry of runs scoring 22 off 12 (183 strike rate) to push the Warrior’s total to a respectable 147-5 by the end of their 18 overs.

The Knights began their pursuit of the total with the pair of Rana Faizan and Imran Qaiser. An early reprieve was handed to Imran in the first over by the keeper not taking his chance, but then Imran made sure that the Warriors pay for this mistake by playing a scintillating knock. Supported with the hard hitting intent of Faizan, both openers were adamant to make the most of the powerplay, in particular Imran who played some exquisitely well timed shots straight and square of the wicket scoring 54 off 29 balls, which included 3 fours and 5 sixes of the highest quality. The Warriors were looking absolutely flat and dented in the field with the score racing to 80 by the end of the powerplay, and were given a huge relief as Naveed Khan finally made the breakthrough by removing Rana Faizan with the score at 80-1 in 6.4 overs.

The danger man Imran was then removed by the evergreen Zeeshan Naseer in the following over, and the Warriors now felt encouraged to regain control of this match. With the openers having done a fantastic job for the knights, captain Waseem Ahmed with the support of the young Labeeb could afford some time at the crease with the required run rate being not too challenging at 6 runs per over.

Amidst a respectable 49 run partnership between Waseem and Labeeb, the Warriors ensured that they still remained true to their line and length with the bowling and continued to deliver as many dot balls as they could. In particular, Zeeshan Naseer and skipper Hammad Butt delivered a few important economical overs. This excellent work was then followed by a calm and composed bowling effort by Naveed Khan, who bowled a few dots and was then rewarded with a vital breakthrough on the stroke of the 16th over of the well set and confident Waseem (32 off 26).

Requiring 20 to win off 14 and with 7 wickets remaining, Labeeb had been at the crease long enough to ensure the Knights should really cruise to the total with the support of Fawad. This wasn’t to be as the Warrior’s skipper Hammad delivered a high class penultimate over by first removing Labeeb, and then bowling 4 crucial dots (all worth their weight in Gold), with 1 run being scored on his final ball of the over. Now needing 10 to win in the final over, captain Hammad entrusted Naveed Khan to bowl and defend this total for the Warriors, as Naveed had up to this point played a significant role in getting the Warriors out of a hole with his excellent work earlier on with the ball. Naveed repaid that trust bestowed upon him by once again remaining calm and composed, looking to hit the keeper’s gloves instead of the stumps and delivering 3 more dots under immense pressure! The dangerous Fawad finally regained the strike in the 5th ball of the over, needing a six and a 4 to salvage the game on the last two balls for his side. This wasn’t to be, as Fawad holed out to deep midwicket, and the Warriors had completed a monumental victory from out of nowhere with 8 runs to spare!

The opening game in essence of the KCL 24 proved to be an absolute cracker of a contest filled with extreme drama and emotion. The Warriors, who were down and out following a barrage of initial assault held their nerve and fought to the very last ball, and were rewarded with a famous victory. Naveed Khan’s effort of 3-10 (15 dot balls in 3 overs) will also go down as one of the greatest spells of bowling under immense pressure to defend a total, and with the situation completely against the odds with 7-8 wickets still in hand for the Knights whilst pulling off this immense feat.