The Royals who are currently on a roll with impressive back to back wins were up against the professional outfit of Radiant Stars

The match at Cheam CC was going to be an exciting clash between the two sides. The Royals won the toss and elected to bat first.

Nauman Rafique’s ability to consistently hit a length is now starting to send out warning signs to the rest of the teams, as the Royals were the latest victims of his brilliant opening spells. With the centurion of the previous game (Farhan Ahmed) removed early for 14 runs by the left arm seam of Rizwan, Nauman once again ran riot with 3 wickets for 20 runs in his 4 overs from the second over, leaving the Royals reeling at 32-4 in 5 overs!

Fawad Bajwa was required to use all of his class and experience to help the Royals get out of the predicament they found themselves in, but he too was removed by Afaq Malik for 24 runs, and the Royals had lost half of their wickets for 67 runs in 10.4 overs. Captain Usman Tahir and Atta Babar tried to rescue their side with some application at the crease, but both of them fell to a ‘possessed and relentless’ Ehsan ul Haye spell of 2 overs for 2 runs and 2 wickets!

At 82-7 in 14 overs, the Royals were in danger for being bowled out for a very poor total having elected to bat first. Rizwan Baloch has been in reasonably good form with the bat, and he did well remain at the crease and push the Royals to something to defend. Rizwan added a valiant 32 off 28 balls and with the help of a last ball boundary by Shahid Ahmed, the Royals ended their first innings with 129 on the board. They (the victorious royals) had something to bowl at, but deep down they would be highly disappointed with this total.

The chase began with Rehan opening the proceedings, and it wouldn’t be right if Rehan didn’t pick up a wicket in his first over, would it? Rehan once again provided an opening over wicket for his side, his latest victim being the upcoming late innings destructor Talha Qamar, who couldn’t do his magic having been promoted into the powerplay! An ideal start for the Royals, the Stars were later in more trouble with Muhammad Talha also returning to the pavilion, with the score now at 16-2 in 4 over.

The question of whether there was to be a twist could only be posed once the Royals could get through the powerhouse middle order of Harawal and Khurram Goraya, as the Stars would always feel assured as long as these two were at the crease. In the 8th over however, a major event in the game took place as the star’s captain Harawal Wassam was sent packing through a run out by Ali Raza and the score now at 41-3! Khurram who loves to bat and bat long took control of the situation for the Stars adding a strong 32 off 30 balls, but he was removed by the veteran leg spinner Shahid Ahmed in the 15th over of the match and the score at 86-4.

The Stars were going to need to score 44 runs in the last 5 overs, they had wickets in hand but the Royals had the momentum with the wicket of Khurram. Shahid Ahmed continued to beat the bat providing two economical overs of 4 runs in the 15th and 17th over, with Usman Tahir also keeping the pressure on in between. Rizwan and Naveed were to close it out for the Royals, and two good overs between the two meant that the Stars may have left themselves with too much to do in the final over requiring 17 runs to win!

The final over was to be bowled by Rizwan Baloch, and he had Nazeef and Ehsan ul Haye from the stars to contest with. 17 runs off 6 balls can quickly be reduced if extras are provided to the opposition, as Rizwan couldn’t quite get his radar correct in the first 3 balls costing his side 13 runs off 3 legitimate balls. The pressure of the situation was definitely getting to him, whilst Nazeef and Ehsan were bravely knocking down the runs needed. With 4 runs needed off the last 3 balls, the Stars looked like the side who should have got across the finish line with momentum right in their favour! However, with 2 runs needed off the last two, the run out of Ehsan ul Haye added more drama as 2 runs were still needed off the last ball. Nauman Rafique was to face, and he couldn’t quite end the day with a win as the Stars could only manage one more run off the final ball of the match and tie the match. A thrilling end to an enthralling match!

It is hard to say who would be more disappointed out of the two sides for not being able to get the full points? Realistically, the Stars should have put to bed the total that was offered to them, but then again the Royals had the game in the bag with their premier seamer left to defend 17 runs in the final over against the lower order of the Stars! Nevertheless, the KCL witnessed another tense encounter, as the season continues to produce such gems in contests. Nauman Rafique’s MOTM trophy cabinet is filling up as he picked up another one today for his excellent spell. The efforts of Ehsan ul Haye and Shahid Ahmed with such economical overs in a batsman’s game should also be commended.

Scorecard summary is as follows;

Man of the match: