KCL South Outdoor 2024 – Match 13 Summary

Mighty Strikers v Trustworthy Knights

The fixture at Alexandra Park was a crucial one between the Strikers and the Knights, with the Knights desperately needing to get their campaign up and running with a victory. Standing before them was a formidable Striker’s side, captain Shakir Ahmed of the Strikers won the toss and elected to bowl first.

The return of the top quality keeper+Batter Harawal Wassam was a massive boost to the Knights, as Harawal and Imran both gave the Knights an ideal start with aggressive intent and boundaries all around the park. A breakthrough with the score at 24-1, Harawal and Rana Faizan continued to apply the pressure with a 34 run partnership for the second wicket. However, back to back wickets of Harawal and Faizan especially with a needless run out of Faizan enabled the Strikers to have their opportunity to claw their way into the Knight’s middle order and possibly turn the tide towards their favour.

At 66-3, Captain Waseem Ahmed was joined with the left handed maestro Fawad Ahmed at the crease, as both players applied their league experience to navigate the situation. Fawad in particular broke the shackles against some good, hostile back of the length bowling by the Striker’s pacers, playing exquisite strokes square and fine of the leg side boundary. A 97 run partnership between Fawad and Waseem ensured that the Knights reached a decent total as Waseem fell for 30 (off 23 balls) with the score at 163-4. Fawad continued to add to the total and finished the innings with a wonderful 77* off 40 balls, which included 5 fours and 6 sixes of the highest quality. A total of 177 in the 20 was a respectable job, and would require the Strikers to bat smartly in order to chase the total.

Requiring close to 9 an over from the get go, the Strikers suffered a huge top order collapse having lost 3 wickets with the score at 14-3, one of which was that of the dangerous Muhayuddin who is more than capable of winning games from any position. The new ball pair of Waseem and Faizan was too hot to handle, as both bowlers were rewarded for sticking to their lengths regardless of the threat posed by the explosive nature of the batters ahead of them. The imposing figure of Ali Raza tried to wrestle the initiative back towards the Strikers, especially with some might hits down the ground requiring a delay in search of the ball from the farm behind the sight screens, but Faizan’s wicket of Ali (26 off 15) was another hammer blow to the chase of the Strikers who were now losing their way in the chase with the score at 48-4 within the powerplay.

Sensing the opportunity, Waseem employed his two most senior and experienced bowlers in the form of Shahid and Qadir, who locked down and gave nothing away to Muzamil and Ansar, both batters looking for the opportunity to free their arms and re-apply the pressure on the Knights. Although wicketless, both bowlers produced a combined spell of 8 overs for 41 runs between the two, and this proved to be absolutely critical as the Strikers were now leaving far too much for themselves in the final phase of the game with both senior spinners bowling out.

With the required rate touching above 12, naturally wickets would start to fall as the Strikers tried one last dash to the total, as the Strikers soon fell to 105-6 and requiring a lot of hard work going into the final 6 overs. To their surprise, the pair of Nauman (32 off 14) and the young Danial (27 off 13) made a strong push towards the finish line by taking a liking to Imran Qaiser and Sikandar Jajja’s bowling. A 48 run partnership between the lower order pair sent a feeling of panic amongst the Knights, who had this game dead and buried whilst also sending a sense of optimism within the Striker’s camp who might have been on the verge of pulling off a miracle here. Captain Waseem Ahmed took it upon himself to ensure nothing ridiculous takes place in the final over of the innings in which 18 runs were required, holding his nerve to only give away 9 runs and ensuring the first victory of the season for his side.

A game that may have looked one sided for most part of the match suddenly became highly intense in the final phase as the Strikers would feel that they may have mistimed their chase a bit here. Some excellent young, emerging cricketers were on display in the form of Faizan, Danial and the exciting seamer Usama Shahid. Overall, a good game of cricket played in excellent spirits, and the Knights finally registering their first victory of the season to get their campaign on the move.