The ‘Loc ran out 69-run winners in today’s final Saturday League match of the season. Batting first at “Marress”, the side posted a healthy 234 for 9, with meaningful contributions from Sufian (69), Balawal Fahim (49), and Murtaza Syed (37*). But it didn’t always look like being the case that a decent score would be posted, particularly after three quick wickets left the side reeling on 30 for 3. Osama Baig (6), Mohammad Chaudhry (15), and Hunnain Sohail (2), were the batters who were all back in the shed, with Ali and Fahim the two batters together in the middle. These two carefully rebuilt, and took their partnership, first, to 50, then past three figures, before eventually being separated with the scoreboard showing 157. They’d put on 127 together, and – as a result – set up the possibility of getting to 200. And after both Ali and Fahim were dismissed, the mantle was picked up by skipper Murtaza Syed, who, in making 37, chaperoned the lower order to see his side not just to 200, but up to 234. Nine wickets would fall, all-in, with Robert Cathcart (7*) and Ahmed-Raza Hanif (4*) the two not out batters. 235 for the home side to win then.
Without one of their South African players – Avontour – the home side were, arguably, a batter lite, however in “Overseas Amateur” Lubbe they have a batter who can almost win any game on his own. And so it very nearly turned out, Irvine would be bowled out for 165 eventually, a total that saw just two home batters, aside Lubbe, get in to double figures, six batters fail to score, and two others not get past 3. Lubbe, though, made up for the carnage around him, smoking 121 from just 103 deliveries, a knock that included a plethora of boundaries, and added to his already legendary status as a very, very, big hitter of a cricket ball. But in the end – Lubbe was last out – it proved even beyond the big South African, Irvine finishing 70 runs short of their target, and the ‘Loc therefore winning by 69 runs. A good way to finish the Saturday League season. [Scorecard]