Back from the dead!

At 48 for 7 today, batting first against Renfrew, the ‘Loc looked like returning back to earth with more of a thud than a bump, after Thursday’s heroics in defeating West of Scotland in the Rowan Cup quarter-final.  And even though Saad Salim (10) added 26 with Balawal Fahim for the eighth wicket, things still looked pretty bleak when Robert Cathcart arrived in the middle to join the latter.  But then something happened.  Or, actually, more accurately things stopped happening.  Wickets stopped falling.  Fahim and Cathcart dug in, and batted time.  Their partnership surpassed the 26 between Salim and Fahim, went through 50, and was just 1 run shy of three figures before it ended.  Fahim was the batter to eventually depart, but his 61 (133) – an watchful innings that included just four boundaries – was absolutely essential in helping his side to, firstly, respectability, and then near something that could be defendable.  Cathcart (33*) would bat through, with the side being bowled out on the last ball of the 50th over.  As watchful as Fahim had been, Cathcart had been measured, his knock seeing him face 69 deliveries.  The ‘Loc  – somehow – had managed to post 173 all out.  #GameOn

The home side’s reply then started like a mirror image of the first innings, Renfrew slipping to 42 for 4, then 72 for 5, as the top order was eaten in to.  In-and-out by this stage, importantly, was home Professional, Khan, caught by Mohammad Chaudhry off Cathcart’s bowling.  The Enforcer had lived up to his moniker!  [Ed’: go Google it!]  But then, and again as in the ‘Loc‘s innings, a middle order partnership started to form.  Shuja and Sharma put on 51 for the sixth wicket, before being separated by Fahim’s grab off the bowling of Ahmed-Raza Hanif that saw Shuja depart for 35.  Sharma dug in though, and with the tailenders not chucking in the towel the ‘Loc were going to have to work hard for the win.  Hunnain Sohail claimed the wickets of Sharma and Patel, a run out neatly executed between Andrew Mallichan and Cathcart saw to Majeed, before Ahmad hit Waseem Ahmed to Hanif, who held on to the chance, to see the ‘Loc secure the “W” (the winning moment captured below).  160 all out, and a win by 13 runs.

Ahmed had finished with 3 for 33, with Hanif’s 10-2-25-2, and Sohail’s 10-0-28-2 being hugely important contributions with the ball too.  Hanif’s two scalps takes him to twenty wickets in competitive 1st XI matches already this season, with still a round of matches to go in the first half of the league campaign.  #Toffee  [Scorecard]