By Norbert Abbi
Aziz Damani CC 102/10 all out in 31.2/50 overs (Saud Islam 35 off 77, Sai Manoj 20 off 42) beat Kutchi Tigers CC 93/10 all out in 19.5/50 overs (Hitendra Jadeja 30 off 39, Dinesh Nakrani 24 not out) by 9 runs.
Man of Match: Emmanuel Isaneez 17/3 in 4 overs
The match between the top league heads was every bit as entertaining as it was predicted to be, albeit the very low scores on match day.
Aziz Damani CC managed to extend their unbeaten run and kept the streak going with a narrow 9 run win against Kutchi Tigers. Expectations were high when they won the toss and elected to bat, with many looking at a long days’ worth of cricket. Fans and players alike were shocked when the free scoring Damani only managed a paltry 102 runs in under 32 overs.
Fred Achelam and Emmanuel Hasahya were sent in to open the batting but the pair barely troubled the scoreboard as they were sent for early baths by the third over. The paid of Sai Manoj and Saud Islam came on and steadied the ship a little but it was not long as Sai fell to the bowling of Dinish Nakrani to bring Damani to 57 for 3.
Saud Islam then tried to stick it on the wicket but his perseverance was later tested and found wanting when he gave out a catch to the waiting and delightful of Dinesh. The wickets galore did not end as for the first time in the league, Damani were all out! Things had never looked better for the Tigers!
To the detriment of Damani, the Tigers got off to a dream start notching 81 runs in 16 overs for the loss of 4 wickets. With victory literally in sight, there seemed nothing that could keep them from frustrating Damani's win streak! But like a telling story with a plot twist, and a sense of humor to boot, a much needed hat trick from Emmanuel Isaneez left the Tigers in a state of worry with only 4 wickets left.
Ronak Patel fell for naught off a beautiful Isaneez delivery that was a near perfect replica of a Jamie Anderson delivery, one of his heroes. The onslaught did not stop there as wickets continued to fall with the target seeming far-fetched.
With a sudden spell of energy that renewed hope brings, Aziz Damani refused to give up even with the Tigers just 17 runs away and with 3 more wickets left. The Tigers miserably fell short when bowling machine Bilal Hassan took the challenge and had them all out in the next two overs. Tempers flared a little on the sidelines that involved Damani pioneer Siva Koti and some Tigers players but he had the last laugh as his team emerged victorious.
The Kutchi Tigers loss was one that was one that was unfortunate because everything seemed to go their way, but the unpredictability of cricket was at play here. The Damani team strived until the very last minute and turned things around to keep their toughest contenders at bay. They won by the skin of their teeth.