Masters South VS Masters West- April 10 2021

This was the first game of the 2nd day of the Masters featuring the two winners from the previous day on the main Moosa stadium ground.  This was billed as the championship game of the tournament featuring a very strong batting lineup from the West against possibly the best bowling attack in the tournament.

West won the toss and again did what worked for them the previous day – inserted the opposition into bat.  And South fresh off a win by 8 wickets the previous day was brimming with confidence with their openers Amer Sheikh and Faisal Akhtar, literally sprinting into bat.  West starts with their opening bowlers, Raj Padhi and Dashrath and they give nothing away bowling wicket to wicket with the odd ball keeping low.  In the 6th over a bowling change works in West;’s favor when Balbir with his subtle swing bowling cleans up Amer Sheikh for 3 off 16.  SP fresh off 45* the previous day, walks in to find that this is another day and another pitch win run making a difficult proposition.  Faisal is looking good and trying to take the quick singles to keep the scoreboard moving when he commits harakiri by sprinting half way down the pitch for a non-existent single to be run out for 15.  Score: 2-48.  SP looking to attack the spinner Dharmesh, tries to hit downtown only to find the safe hands of Chetan at long-on for 13 in the 14th over.  Score: 3-48.  Mohnsin at #4 is tied down by Raju Badadare and Dharmesh’s twin spin and tries to take the aerial route only to find Balbir at long-on in the 18th over.  Score 4-60.  If one had just seen the scoreboard, it would have seemed that this game was not being played in Houston, instead at the new Modi stadium in Ahmedabad and that too with a Pink ball.  The procession in the middle order with batsmen looking to to take the aggressive route instead of trusting their defense that soon South was 8-87.  Ramesh and Amir Syed took the score to 114 with some sensible batting before Amir poked at a wide ball from Chetan and South was all out.  Extras top scored with 36 and Ramesh remained unbeaten second with 15 for the South.  Raju was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 8 from 6 overs for the West. It did seem that this was short of 50-60 runs even with South’s strong bowling at the lunch break.

In response West opened with Parak and Balbir.  They got off the blocks so quickly with 2 front pulls by Parak for 4 in the ver first over oozing intent that after 4 overs they 27 for no loss in 4 overs.  In the 5th over Amir bent one back into Balbir and bowled him for 12 off 15.   With Sanjeewa the new batsman content to defend, Parak was motoring along at more than a run a ball and determinde to finish the match early, West was at 1-75 when against the run of play, Sakhi was introduced in the 14th over and in his very first ball he struck with Sanjeewa being adjudged lbw.  West 2-75. Vikram bowled the next over, his first to Parak who was now looking unstoppable on 53 and in trying to go down the wicket and drive him over long off, Parak got beaten by a beauty which turned and Noman did the rest.  West 3-79. The South now had a sniff and soon they were being vocal in the field and cheering every dot ball and trying to pile the pressure on the West.

In the 18th over Shahanawaz introduced Amir Syed from the far end and he struck with his 4th ball trapping Ozair lbw for 2 off 12.  In the 19th bowled by Vikram he bagged the wickets of Hamza and Raj Padhi caught by Mohsin and lbw and the West was suddenly reeling at 6-88.  115 seemed to be a long way away now.  Cricket has twists and turns that no one can predict and this was a bunch of 50+ year old who had played the game for a long time and no one saw this coming.  In the 21st over Vikram strikes again getting rid of Raj Badadare stumped by Noman and he had incredible figures of 4-1-8-4.  West 7-96.  Amir Syed not to be outdone bowled Sohail Khan off the first ball of the 22nd over for a nought.  Dashrath strikes a boundary to inch West closer to the target though.  At the end of 22 overs West are 8-100 needing 15 runs to win.  The 23rd from Vikram brings 5 runs and in the 24th Amir gives away 5 runs and with the target just 5 bowls Dharmesh Shah for 10 off 9 balls.  West 9-110.   In the 25th over bowled by Vikram West hold their nerves and Darshath strikes a boundary over long off to seal the win.  This was a low scoring epic which lived up to the billing – “Match of the tournament”.   Amir Syed 4-38 and Vikram Raman 4-21 brought South very close, but in the end the West prevailed.  Parak was the Man of the match for his 53 off 48 balls.

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