[door Gregor Timms] The match began in warm and sunny conditions, with ACC batting first. Mark and Rehan opened the batting, but disaster soon struck as Mark was caught behind in the second over. Jim was next in, and was bowled by an in-swinging yorker, the first legal delivery he faced. Shreyas was the new batsman. The Quick Haag bowlers found impressive swing, rather too much at times as they racked up multiple wides, though they were near-unplayable when they landed the ball in the vicinity of the stumps. Shreyas was bowled by a fantastic yorker in the fourth over with the score of 18 consisting of nearly entirely extras. Stephan then joined Rehan at the crease.
Both appeared to be settling in, with a handful of boundaries, before Rehan's attempted pull shot found the hands of deep fine leg, giving the Quick Haag opener his fourth wicket. Nagesh was the new batsman and he hung around for a handful of deliveries before edging to slip. At the other end, Stephan started a recovery for ACC, with a counter-attacking 30 including six boundaries. With the ball still nipping around considerably, an unplayable delivery was inevitable and eventually he nicked a ball that bounced unexpectedly high to the keeper.
The score was now 61-6 and Jan and Beau were at the crease. The two found a way to survive some testing swing bowling, before starting to attack as the shine came off the ball. It came as something of a surprise when Beau caught for a hard-fought 15, with the score now 101-7. Areeb was next in, and provided perfect foil to Jan who began to grow in confidence, with some majestic hitting, aided by some wayward bowling from Quick Haag. By the time Areeb was caught at mid-off for 6, the two had added a 43 run partnership, at least giving ACC a target to bowl at. Greg was next in and was shortly next out, LBW for 1, giving the Quick Haag's opening bowler a well-deserved five wicket haul. Mees was the final batsman and, just as Areeb had done, found a way to survive, allowing Jan to continue his ruthless onslaught against the Quick Haag bowlers. When they pitched short, he pulled viciously, and when they over-pitched he hit 3 wonderful straight drives for six. Mees managed to survive at the other end until the final over, when he was out caught for two runs that in the context of the game meant so much more, with the partnership leading ACC to a very respectable 172. Jan had played an outstanding, swashbuckling innings of 66 not out, displaying a great ability to see out the good deliveries, while dispatching the multiple loose balls that were served up. Stephan, Jan and an extraordinary 44 wides (47 extras) from Quick Haag had led to a total ACC definitely had the bowling attack to defend.
Mees and Greg opened the bowling and induced a number of play-and-misses. Mees was especially penetrative and soon had the first wicket, with the Haag opener mistiming a drive to cover. ACC's fielding was sloppy, with a catch dropped off both bowlers. A wayward over from Greg saw him removed from the attack and replaced by the batting hero Jan. Jan and Mees gave nothing away, and the frustration soon showed as Mees picked up his second wicket with another mistimed drive finding a fielder. It was then Jan's time to shine, for the second time in the day. as successive Haag batsmen hit him straight to Greg at mid-off. Mees, displaying phenomenal control and accuracy, then took his third and ACC were suddenly on-top.
Sadly, all too soon, Mees had bowled his overs out and with the shine coming off the ball, Haag's number 3 started to find his feet, with a fantastic counter-attacking innings, combined with some loose bowling and sloppy fielding from ACC steering the momentum back towards Haag. It took a magical piece of fielding from Rehan at short cover to remove him, with a great quick throw running him out for 88. The Haag batsmen battled on, facing some tight bowling from Rehan. Unfortunately, the fielding from ACC continued to be poor, with multiple dropped catches, before Rehan accepted a caught-and-bowled on second attempt, leaving the score at 136-7.
Suddenly, it was game on, with Haag needing 37 runs to win with three wickets in hand. Some poor bowling, combined with some unfortunate luck, allowed a recovery from Haag, as the score progressed. Beau was brought into the attack and was unfortunate not to take a wicket, as he and Rehan ensured that the scoring rate dried up. Sadly for ACC, a wicket was not forthcoming as the Haag batsmen were resolute in defence, stealing a single or extra whenever possible. Three consecutive boundaries by Haag off Rehan suddenly changed the momentum, and an imminent Haag win appeared inevitable as the score reached 167. Beau did not give up though, and was rewarded for his efforts with a wicket, the Haag batsman LBW to a great yorker. Rehan and Beau continued to keep things tight and the ACC fielding came to life. Haag batted out three overs without a run, and scoring appeared near impossible. A boundary and a single off Beau finally brought the scores level. Jan was brought back into the attack, with ACC hopeful he could cap off a magical all-round display.
With the tension extraordinarily high, Jan delivered four dot balls, before a push into the offside saw the batsmen set off for an extremely high-risk single. A slight fumble saw the run-out opportunity missed and the batsmen got home. Quick Haag had shown admirable resolve to get over the line in what had been an awesome game of cricket, filled with twists and turns. What a fantastic day!
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