Breathtaking contest between two great rivals ended up in unexpected victory

Bout-du-Monde, Genève, 11 June 2017, Premier League match Geneva CC vs Geneva XI Stars

(Click on the results below to see the full digital scorecard!)

Geneva Cricket Club, 257 for 9 in 40 overs (Leo 78, Kashif 64, Asghar 3-57), beat Geneva XI Stars Cricket Club, 233 all out in 36.4 overs (Arjun 80, Ali 3-29, Afif 3-39), by 24 runs

Matches between Geneva CC and XI Stars are always a treat to watch. This one was no exception as the hosts snatched a victory from nowhere! Indeed, Geneva CC went from a desperate 70 for 6 in only 18 overs to an inspiring 257 for 9 at the end of their innings. After 18 overs, the visitors had scored 83 runs and had lost 3 wickets. Geneva CC went on to bowl them out with 20 balls remaining and won by 24 runs!

XI Stars started on the good foot by dismissing hard hitter Ali for a duck in the first over of the match. Opening bowlers Jasbir and Asad put immense pressure from the very beginning, a pressure that Geneva’s top and middle order could not withhold. Bowling contributions from Asghar and Raja were outstanding too, thanks also to a super effective performance from wicketkeeper Pappu (great catches by the little power-stacked man!). Wickets fell repeatedly and the only tough man to stand was Viki (14 off 48 balls), witnessing his comrades falling one after another. It is only when Kashif came after Khurram was dismissed at 70 for 6 that the innings started to change for Geneva. Clean hits and powerful hits on the leg side propelled the team with 70-odd additional runs. The outlook somehow looked bleak as Kashif (64 off 35 balls) was lbw’ed by Arjun in the 29th over (152 for 8). But Leo, the man of the day with 78 runs from 41 balls, was there to show that the tail could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. With Dalvinder on the other end, the 9th wicket partnership accumulated an astounding 90 runs. Leo was dropped by Jasbir but continued to show pure ruthlessness on the pitch. Dalvinder finished the innings on a high by blasting 3 sixes and 1 four off his last seven balls.

XI Stars came to bat with confidence, despite that they lost the opportunity to trash their adversaries in one fell swoop. The target of 258 was reachable with patience and smart technique. Opener Raja was dropped straight away by Leo in the first over, although he redeemed himself by catching him on the next over… only to be ruled out by the umpire as the ball seemingly touched the ground. Next ball, Ali caught-and-bowled a dolly given by the President of XI Stars. Afif and Ali continued their dominating streak and did not give much leeway to Waleed and Aman. The breakthrough came when Afif took the second and third scalp in the fourth over of his first spell. Aman was caught one-handed by Kashif at mid-off (hard straight hit!) and Kuldeep went out for a bronze duck thanks to an awesome tight line and superb catch by wicketkeeper Habib. With the scoreboard displaying a grim 25 for 3, Arjun (80 off 60 balls) stepped in and showed class by taking his time to watch the ball and put away the bad ones. The change of pace did good to the bowling side. Skipper Anser came to pitch a few offbreaks and combined with fast-paced deliveries from Dalvinder. Waleed retiring hurt for cramps at 15.4 overs came at an opportune time as his strike rate was not good enough to keep up with the required rate of +8 (Waleed had 12 off 44 balls when he retired).

Lalit was then dismissed by Khurram’s second valid delivery thanks to an outstanding diving catch from Ali. Arjun’s dismissal in the 27th over was crucial. Dalvinder thanked gracefully Afif for finally concretising his awesome bowling with a tight catch. The game was slowly and steadily slipping away from the visitors, but the batting depth of XI Stars was not to be taken lightly. 93 runs were required off 13 overs (78 balls), a mission not-impossible for big hitters such as Pappu and Houmayun. The die was cast when Kashif took out the dangerous Pappu (35 off 20 balls). 212 for 7 in 32.3 overs. Divine judgement ultimately struck in the 36th over. Ali took two consecutive wickets, including the precious one of Houmayun. 24 runs were required to win in 20 balls. Waleed came back on the field but could not help much. He faced two balls and left the strike to number 10 Asad, who got expelled lawfully from the ground by Afif’s slick bowling.

Geneva players let out a big roar and celebrated a deserved victory coming from the brink of a catastrophe. XI stars definitely had the upper hand, but lost their cool and gave it away to a fighting side. We are all looking forward to seeing other matches like this in the Premier League this year!

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