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Nova vs. Empire, Saturday, July 25th, Galway

Toss: Nova won toss and elected to bat

Result: Empire won by 2 wickets

It was a textbook start for Nova with openers Jay and Ejaz who put on 71 runs (first 50 run opening partnership of the season) in 12.4 overs before Ejaz departed after scoring 19 from 33 balls with 2 fours. Amar and Jay took Nova to 100 after 18.2 overs (exactly the platform hoped for in the pre team huddle – 100 for 2 after 20 overs allowing us to accelerate to 250+ in 40 overs). Amar departed through the first of three dubious lbw decisions Nova suffered at the hands of the umpire, after scoring 14 from 22 balls with 3 fours, and this then was followed by the next 6 wickets falling with no partnership for more than 4 overs or more than 26 runs being scored per partnership. Jay (caught after a well-made 54 from 65 balls with 7 fours), Rajesh (second lbw), Naveed (out to a rash crossbat stroke), and Razi (to a tame catch to midwicket), Shehzaad (third lbw) and Azhar (bowled) left Nova at 188 for 8 after 34.1 overs. Mikki and Sameer salvaged some respectability with 31 run stand in the remaining overs, with Mikki scoring 22 from 20 balls with 2 fours and 1 six and Sameer 16 from 19 balls with 2 fours, to get Nova to 219 for 8 – a score that was subpar knowing Empire’s batting performance in previous games, but Nova was banking on the ability of its bowlers to be able to defend any score.

Empire batting started strong and never let up.They scored 79 in first 10 overs for loss of 2 wickets, and then 139 for the loss of 4 wickets after 20 overs and kept on scoring comfortably. With 50 to score after second drinks break at 26 overs with only 3 wickets left, Nova was still in the game. Nova held some good catches (Rajesh, Ejaz (2), Azhar, Jay) but also missed on some chances, some easy, other hard, including one caught at the boundary but fielder was judged to have overstepped. Two of the dropped catches came in the critical period at the end, with less than 30 runs left, when additional pressure of losing wickets could have tipped the balance in Nova’s favor.

Nova bowled 30.5 overs and only 7 overs (four of them bowled by Shehzaad) did not have at least one four or six that was surrendered. Six of the overs had multiple fours or sixes in them. There was at no time any pressure on the asking rate. Other than Shehzaad (8-0-44-4), all the other bowlers gave up 6+ to 8+ runs per over. Nova as a team gave up 18 fours and 11 sixes. Add to that 27 wides, Empire had only 55 runs to make by running between the wickets. While batting, Nova hit 19 fours and Empire bowled even more wides than Nova, but it was the big hitting (11 sixes) by Empire compared to just 1 six by Nova that put the game out of Nova’s reach each time Nova bowlers took a wicket to get back into the game.

Positives: Great knock by Jay; strong bowling from Shehzaad.

To improve: Need to bowl to a plan and focus on putting pressure from both ends. Middle order veterans have to demonstrate more poise in building partnerships to take advantage of good platforms. We win and lose these games as a team. Support and encourage each other when the going gets rough. The opponents are on the other team.

Next up: DCUnited on Saturday

 
 
 

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