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Nova vs. Frederick, Saturday, June 25, Frederick
Toss: Nova won toss and elected to bat 
Result: Nova won by 36 runs

Electing to bat on the perennially slow Frederick wicket, Nova lost two quick wickets of Jay (victim to an amazing one-handed shoelaces grab at midoff) and Rajesh R. (dubious lbw decision) with only 10 runs on the board. Asif and Sandeep put on the biggest partnership of the Nova innings of 54 runs before Asif was caught at mid off for 22 runs (28 balls, 1 four, 1 six). Sandeep departed soon thereafter to another questionable lbw decision (27 runs, 32 balls 2 four, 1 six) and Razi misfired for the first time this season offering another catch to mid-off leaving Nova teetering at 77 for 4 after 16 overs. Jalal and Amar tried to right the ship for the next 10 overs, patiently defending while scoring 33 runs via singles and doubles before Jalal was out to the third of the umpire’s dubious lbw decisions after scoring 7 runs from 30 balls faced. Rajesh K. was uncharacteristic yorked first ball exposing Nova’s tail to navigate 15 remaining overs. Mohan was out attempting a rash shot and Rasesh B. was castled by one that moved off the pitch and 10 overs still remained with only one wicket left. Amar and Imtiaz managing to navigate 6 more overs to score 21 more precious runs, before Amar was bowled trying to move the scoring along (29 runs, 80 balls, 2 fours), leaving Nova all out for 149 runs from 36.2 overs, not an easily defendable total under most circumstances. 

Jay struck in his first over with Sandeep pouching a catch at midwicket, and Razi struck in his first over from the other end with a sharp low catch taken by Asif at first slip, thereby dismissing both Frederick openers before they opened their accounts and the Frederick scorecard reading 1 run for 2 wickets. The third wicket proved quite elusive as Nova bowlers strayed in line with wides and the scoreboard kept ticketing over. Asif finally broke through via a stumping in the 16th over, leaving Frederick needing 101 runs from 24 overs with 7 wickets in hand. The fourth wicket partnership threatened to take the game away from Nova as they scored a brisk 26 runs in 5 overs before Asif struck to take two wickets in two balls (bowled and lbw), and then took his fourth wicket (sharp low catch by Razi at short covert) in his final over, to finish with stellar figures of 8-0-26-4. Frederick was at 86 for 6 needing 64 runs from 16 overs, still well within reach for one or two good batsmen. The Nova faster bowlers had little luck with Sandeep, Mohan, and Rasesh B. not being able to get wickets, although Sandeep bowled well in his first two overs with no wides conceded, and Rasesh created a couple of catching opportunities that went begging. Jalal replaced Asif at the other end and the slow bowling did the trick again with the last four wickets tumbling with just 21 runs scored, leaving Jalal with amazing final bowling figures of 4-0-11-4. Razi took two more catches at short cover, while Amar and Mohan held on to a catch each. 

Positives: Asif and Jalal were rewarded for accurate line and length bowling on the slow pitch against a weak batting team. Amar demonstrated great patience in batting through 24+ overs (facing nearly 13+ of them). We held most of the catches offered. 

To improve: Most of the batsmen did not bat to their potential, risking giving away this game.The wayward wides by our quicks continue to be problematic. 

Standings status: Washington remains the only undefeated team in the division and we are tied with Chargers and Pakistan at 3-1, creating a clear separation in our conference between the top 4 and the bottom 4, whereas there are 6 teams all tied up at 2-2 in the other conference. 

Next up: A week off (don’t forget to work on fitness) and then a home game against the dangerous Baltimore at Galway, who are nursing a 1-3 record, having lost to Chargers, Washington, and Metro and their sole win coming against the lowly Lions. Chargers play Pakistan that weekend, and we are Chargers fans for that game since Chargers beating Pakistan works in our favor, since we beat Chargers.


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