THCC 112 (Henrik 23, Amar 4/11) beat SG Findorff 88 (Shafiqullah 26*, Safi 4/22)
They say that no score is too low to defend and this once again proved to be the moral of the story as the THCC Academicals fought it out with SG Findorff on a typical summer’s day in Hamburg.
Aswin, captain in Shane’s absence, won the toss and decided to bat first. The THCC innings got off to a less than ideal start with Milad getting bowled by a good first ball of the innings and Safi soon following, despite starting his innings positively with two classy boundaries. With the score at 9-2, Mohibullah and Imran managed to steady the ship, playing patiently and building a good partnership before Mohibullah was given out LBW (or was it caught?) with the score on 39. Khalil was also given out LBW before he was able to hit his stride and Silva played well for his 10 before Jalil somehow managed to bowl him around his legs.
And so, with the team threatening an all too familiar batting collapse, it was up to the wise Dane to show the young ones how it’s done. Henrik used all of his experience and patience to drag the score closer to triple digits, scoring 23 off 42 whilst being ably supported by Aswin and Jens. As Findorff grew increasingly frustrated by our middle-order’s resilience, more extras started to creep in, and Saied and Henrik brought the score to 98 before Henrik was out caught on a full toss thanks to a sharp catch at cover. The team was determined to get the score over 100 and this was achieved through a useful last wicket partnership between Saied and Kamal, which could have brought even more runs were it not for a classic THCC run out, thereby ending our innings with the score on 112. Amar Butt was definitely the pick of the Findorff bowlers, returning outstanding figures of 11-4 off 10 overs, followed by Jalil, who finished with 14-2 off his 6 overs.
Despite posting a relatively modest score, THCC were confident that their bowlers could defend the total and get the required wickets. These hopes were dented somewhat on the third ball of the innings which opener Jalil hit through mid-wicket, with the ball presumably landing somewhere between the polo club and the train station. His cameo was short-lived, however, as Kamal had him caught behind in the second over thanks to a great catch from wicketkeeper Mohibullah. Both Safiulllah and Kamal kept their bowling extremely tight, restricting Findorff to 13 off the first 6 overs. This excellent bowling was repaid in the seventh over when Safi twice shattered the stumps in three balls, leaving Findorff struggling on 13-3. The wickets kept on tumbling as Kamal had the danger man, Amar, caught for 3 through a very smart catch from Khalil at short midwicket (thanks also to some astute field placement by Aswin). Safi continued to bowl with speed and accuracy as twice more he sent the stumps flying in successive overs to bring the score to 33-6. Having bowled all of his allocated 10 overs in one spell, Safi finished on a very well-deserved 22-4 and was unlucky to miss out on his 5-fer. Yet the game was far from over as a middle-order Findorff fightback from Hamid and Farooq brought the score nearing 50 with plenty of overs still to play.
Khalil swung the momentum back in THCC’s favour with two quick wickets (one LBW and another good catch behind the stumps from Mohibullah). The pressure on Findorff was building with Silva keeping things tight at the other end and Khalil soon got his third wicket and the ninth of the innings, bowling Farooq to leave the score on 57-9 and victory in sight.
However, one lesson for our young THCC players to learn is that no game is over until the final wicket falls, and this almost proved to be our downfall as some sloppy fielding, and some big hitting by Findorff’s number 10, Shafiqullah, meant that the score crept into the 80s, giving Findorff hope and making THCC increasingly uneasy thanks to the team’s unfortunate habit this season of throwing away games from a winning position. However, an inspired bowling change by Aswin meant that he threw Saied the ball, and the young off-spinner once again showed his worth as the first ball of his spell trapped Findorff’s number 11 leg before wicket, with Shafiqullah stranded on 26* at the other end.
The jubilant celebrations from the THCC team highlighted just how good of a win it was, with an excellent bowling performance keeping the extras low and making our seemingly low target a difficult task for Findorff. If THCC can replicate the discipline and patience they showed today in the field in their next batting performance, then they can look forward to some more positive results in the weeks to come.
Thanks to SG Findorff for a close and exciting (albeit low scoring!) game, to Tanseef from SC Europa for umpiring, and to Frank for once again providing the food which was appreciated by all. Big thanks also to Tina for scoring.