KCL South Outdoor 2024 – Match 12 Summary

Victorious Royals v Defenders of Peace

The Royals announced themselves last week having won comprehensively against the Radiant Stars, their opponents this time were the unbeaten Defenders who were still seething from their tied fixture in their previous fixture. In an attempt to defend that unbeaten record, Haseeb Ahmed, captain of the Defenders won the toss and elected to bat first.

There were problems straight away, as 3 of the top order wickets from the Defender’s side were back in the hut early. Young and upcoming pacer Aqib Mehmood was too hot to handle early on as all 3 wickets fell to him and left the Defenders in a very fragile position with the score at 22-3. A brief partnership of 37 runs between Labeeb and Hamza Iqbal restored some stability for the Defenders, but Sadeed Ahmed’s newfound ability to break partnerships was once again at display as his wicket of Labeeb with the score at 59-4 set off another disaster. Hamza (33 off 28) was looking in good touch, whereas all other batters to follow after him could not come to terms with the track. Soon, the Defenders were shot out for a paltry score of 108, with Aqib Mehmood completing a 4fer (4-17, at an economy of 4.64) with the final wicket of the first innings. A job well done by the Royals in the field, requiring the Defenders to do their level best to somehow defend this total.

The Defenders wanted to show that their batsmen couldn’t perform due to the tricky nature of the track and not because of any deficiencies as a batting unit. The did so by absolutely running riot with the ball themselves and really pinging back the Royals in pursuit of this total! Opening bowlers Hamza Iqbal and left arm spinner Fareed Ahmed were all over the Royals like a rash, as the pair picked up a couple of wickets a piece early and denting the Royals with the score at 24-4, with no batsman in the top 4 reaching double figures! Two of the 4 wickets were the crucial ones of Fazl and Abid, two senior statesmen upon whom the marshalling of this chase would have been dependent. Haseeb’s bowling changes proved to be as challenging to the Royals as the wicket, as regular wickets kept falling after breaks of hardly 10 runs a piece. Hafiz Zafar and Muhammad Waqas, alongside Haseeb were picking up on the good work by their opening bowlers, and soon the score was at 69-8 with Waqas taking the big wicket of Mohsaf Gondal!

The Royals were now really up against it requiring 40 runs to win with only 2 wickets in hand. Captain Babar who was still at the crease amidst the madness decided to unleash a madness of his own. Taking the game on, Babar backed himself with the opportunities presented to him and powered his way through to a vital 55* which included 5 fours and 5 sixes! In 10 scoring shots, the balance of the game tilted towards the Royals, and with one wicket remaining, it was Babar who hit the final runs ensuring 2 points for his side and serving another heartbreak for the Defenders, who once again came close but couldn’t finish on the winning side!

The game at Alexander Park proved to be a low scoring thriller, and the Defenders have now been involved in two extremely close contests. The Royals march on with another victory, with this one giving them a big shake up considering their batting had been forced to respond without Fazl and Nasir delivering this time. Overall, captain Babar should be pleased considering his heroics alongside the emergence of Aqib with the ball were beneficial to his team and campaign in this victory.