On a lazy day Sunday while everyone sort of rested themselves from the hassle of getting themselves enrolled, the IBA Boys Cricket team registered their first victory in as many matches in the ongoing 1st IBA Multinational Cricket Tournament 2015.
The tournament is being held at the IBA cricket ground and has some top tier teams participating for the gold. That meant the boys in maroon had themselves a lot to do and a home advantage to cash in on. IBA faced Inbox in their first of three group matches. The match began 30 minutes later than scheduled with Inbox winning the toss and choosing to bat first.
A much needed pep talk by IBA Skipper Ahmed Qaiser and the boys quickly dispersed into their fielding positions. The pitch seemed treacherous and the IBA wicketkeeper remarked that he may have his work cut out for him. The unpredictable pace and bounce was evident in the first two overs by IBA pacers Daniyal Muhammed and Hammad Iqbal. Inbox lost their first wicket at the score of 19 when Daniyal got the batsman to knick one to a rising in-swinger. The keeper Hassan Bukhari, who looked rather rusty with the gloves, made no mess of the simple catch. Asad Shah stroked some beautiful boundaries for Inbox and made good use of the few looseners the IBA pacers offered.
Hammad Iqbal recovered well after an initially unimpressive start and a slower ball cleaned up Zaid to give IBA their second wicket. A quick bowling change followed and Aman Jaffri’s part time off spinners were introduced from the scorecard end. A lofted slog sweep by Asad Shah that beat the fielder just behind deep square leg hinted at an expensive over. But the IBA cricket veteran looped another one and enticed the batman into a similar shot but this time it spun into the leg stump and disturbed the bails. Inbox were 68-3.
Moiz Hasan Khan and Jaiweshal Keswani took on the duty to bowl the middle overs. Moiz proved to be the pick of the bowlers as he took 3 wickets where in all three of them the batsman lost their leg stumps. Moiz bowled with great rhythm throughout his spell and gave away only 18 runs off his 4 overs.
Jaiweshal bowled some bat-breaking yorkers including one where he cleaned up a batsman for his first wicket. Yet the complacent and poor fielding efforts from IBA gave away unnecessary runs. A total of 4 drop catches didn’t please the captain as one of them was also dropped off his bowling at midwicket. Inbox finished at 129/8 in the allotted 20 overs and set up an easy target for IBA.
IBA opened with the explosive pair of Noman Arfeen and Zubair Arif. Noman got down to business as usual and started to belter the balls to the boundary. Most notably a cut shot for six over cover point.
Unfortunately Noman failed to pick up a slower one and was cleaned up while trying to hit the ball over the mid-wicket region. Ever reliable Haseeb Gandhi walked in at the score of 30/1.
Zubair Arif played some ferocious cover drives, pull shots and leg glances and picked up 4 boundaries in one particular overs. The pair put on 33 runs for the 2nd wicket before Zubair Arif fell to the unpredictable pace of the pitch and top edged one to silly mid-off. He scored 32 off just 20 balls. Ahmed Qaiser walked into bat at number 4 for IBA.
In the same over Haseeb sat back and pulled the medium pacer for a six over midwicket. Ahmed Qaiser also played some delightful drives to the boundary. Some sensible cricket and running between the wickets helped the pair put on 41 for the third wicket. Haseeb tried to finish off the target with a flurry but top edged one to short third man. He made 25 runs. Aman Ashraf Jaffri walked in to bat at number 5 for IBA.
Ahmed Qaiser took on the leading role from then and smoked some beautiful boundaries and ran beautifully between the wickets as well. On one occasion both he and Aman managed to steal a double. He played a rash slog to lose his stumps and walked back for a well compiled 32. Salman Ameer walked in but had to do no scoring as Aman finished off the proceedings with his trademark six over long on. IBA chased off the target in 15.2 overs and won by 6 wickets.
All in all IBA outplayed Inbox in every department except the fielding. If IBA needs to win more silverware this season, they seriously need to cling on to those simple chances. A win in the next match ensures them qualification to the next round of the tournament.