February 10, 2024
The ECS season started with a nice, easy start: two back-to-back games against reigning Spanish T10 champions Pakicare.
Perfect for a team with such a great T10 record last year!
New club captain Shriram Bhosale at least continued our best ECS skill, winning the toss. Much to the commentators’ bemusement, Shri elected to bowl. Our most successful bowler from last year’s tournament, Vishesh Gajjar, was thrown the ball and the responsibility of two powerplay overs. His two relatively tidy overs were sandwiched by Shriram, who picked up the first wicket of the tournament.
James Bentley got his almost traditional fourth over, and got a wicket first ball (that of Spanish international Mohammad Ihsan, no less), before receiving a bit of punishment. This left Pakicare on 55/2 off four. Imran Fareed came on next, with both of his overs only going for single figures. Anton relieved the pressure a bit but claimed a wicket with his last ball, and Shriram got another next over. Zeeshan restricted the final over to just 10 and Pakicare finished on just 117/5, way below the previous tournament average and indeed their own expectations. We sensed an upset!
Anton Kritzinger and returning club legend Ash Reynolds opened the batting, with Anton getting us off to a brilliant start in the first two overs. Sadly the third over went for just one run, as another Spanish international Muhammad Atif conceded just a wide, before picking up the wickets of Ash (LBW), Imran and Suraj Jha (both bowled) in consecutive balls. Four of the next five overs went for a pitiful two or three runs, with only the sixth over offering us an up-with-the-rate 12 runs.
With any chance of an unexpected victory long gone, we did at least manage to claw a bonus point (new to this tournament) as Shriram (38*), with some help from Umer Razi, hit 40 off the last two overs (including two sixes off the final two balls from the skipper), to just get us over the secondary target of 82. We finished on 86/8, disappointed to have thrown away a great chance but celebrating getting that all-important bonus point to get us on the board!
There was sadly less to write home about in the second game. Shriram did again win the toss and tried the same tactic of sticking them in to bat.
Having fallen cheaply in the first game, Ihsan was not in the mood to miss out again. While he didn’t reach the dizzying heights he did against us last year, his 95 off 38 was the mainstay of the innings. Only Kieran O’Donnell could stop him off the penultimate ball of the innings as he chased three figures.
Thankfully, none of the other batters came off to that extent which did at least keep the score down to a respectable, and indeed potentially chasable 150/7. James Bentley was through the middle overs, picking up 3/19 from his two overs, and an absolute worldie of a catch that was chosen as the “play of the day”.
Apart from a run-a-ball 15 from Ali Warriach, brought into the team for the second game, none of the other top order fired. James came in at 7, a promotion from the first game, and stamped his authority on the BICC player of the match with a great knock of 37 off 17 as the only batter to really offer proper resistance.
This time we fell well short of the bonus point, ending on a disappointing 83/8. Whilst the bonus point system didn’t exist last time, we wouldn’t have claimed one against Pakicare last time out. Between that and some individual performances there were certainly some positives to take from our performances against the arguable tournament favourites.
We move on to our two games against Magic on Wednesday.
Barcelona International Club President