After what appears to feel like an eternity, SJ cricket has returned with vigour, and the spectators were treated to a festive of cricket. The execution of this grand old sport did full justice to the banter on the social media channels in the week prior to the day.
At the pre match report on the wicket, Zaffar noted the pitch was a typical early season English wicket, with timing of the ball going to be a factor. His opinion on winning the Toss and electing to field was shared by Sumar, who puts Muljis Mavericks in.
The opening pair of the evergreen Uncle Noorali and the young Ammar Bandali encapsulated the spirit of the match, and the ethos behind SJ cricket. Young and old, combining together to drive cricket within our community to greater heights whilst resurrecting the memories of the legends of the past.
The match started in dramatic fashion. Sajjad Gulamhusein roared in with an in swinging wide ball that that was taken by Imran behind the wicket cleanly. However, sharp as a dentists’ drill in mind, he saw Uncle Noorali’s overbalance and threw down the stumps, giving first blood to Sumar.
Wasim Karim walked in and between him and Ammar played some truly classic strokes. Wasim showed that he plays regularly and Ammar was a pure delight executing cover drives only an elegant left hander can.
Once these two got out straight after drinks, Mulji’s maverick’s suffered a wobble, slipping to 90-5 at one point. One must note the wonderful fielding effort from Sumars scorpions, in particular Shiraz Jamal and Abbas Ismail, resulting in 4 runouts.
Zaffar and Shabbir used their vast experience to pull their total over 100, until an unfortunate injury run out ended Zaffars promising knock. Mulji was then beaten by the guile and flight, stumped by Imran, leaving them reeling at 120-7.
When Husein Yahya, joined Tauseef at the crease, par score of 180 seemed a long way. These two demonstrated braveries with the former belying his age, to show great maturity, running hard and blasting the ball to all parts propelling the score to a respectable 179 when Tauseef had to retire and Hussein selflessly sacrificed his wicket for his team.
Whilst Sumar would have been disappointed with the end, the overall effort from his team showed much to be admired, and in particular, Zahid Jamal and Salman Mukhtar who bowled superbly, both showing accuracy and discipline.
The chase was going to be tricky, and if we were looking for a measured response, Shabbir Khaki threw caution to the wind and dispatch the first ball for a glorious one bounce 4. The aggression was always risky, and Ammar responded well, having Shabbir caught by Wasim. This brought the much anticipated Salman to the crease, who by all standards has an extremely bright future in cricket. Unfortunately, after a regulation boundary from a short ball, he inside edged to leave Sumar Scorpions struggling.
Calm was restored, with Imran bringing a measured 35, and Sumar joining him and spraying the ball, highlighted by a six of the canny bowling of Mulji. The rate was in check but with 30 to get off 10 overs, both Sumar and Imran had to retire out for 35.
With wickets now falling, the game was on a knife edge.
The youthful, belligerent and talented Zahid Jamal walked out like a man possessed. He showed great temperament as he saw off Wasi with a superb pull for four.
Sheikh Ismail was an able support calmly waiting for the bad balls and rotating the strike.
Zahids’ timing and class eventually carried Sumar Scorpions past the total. His innings highlight was a massive 6 to the leg side.
A phenomenal days’ crickets, with many highlights. Whilst the Man of the match went to the youthful Zahid Jamal, in reality, any of the U16 could have claimed that accolade with outstanding performances in the field, and with the bat. The future of SJ cricket is indeed in great hands.
However, the real winner here was cricket. The return to the field after a long absence was very much welcomed, and we look forward to more cricket in the summer.